4. Stop the Draft, Close the Door

Light a match and the rising hot air will draw nearby cooler air into the match flame. Heat a building, and the rising hot air will pull cold air from outside into the house. It's a physical principle called "stack effect." To defeat it, cut down on spaces cold air can enter your house, like under a door to the outside. Seal this gap with a "door snake," a long thin cloth sack, like a bean bag. Fill it with dried peas or rice, something to make it heavy enough to stay in place. You can sew one using scrap fabrics. You can also keep the heat where it's needed by making sure some interior doors, such as those leading to hallways or near stairways, are kept shut. This closes off natural air passageways so they can't act as chimneys, allowing warm air to escape up through the house.

Cost: Under $5

5. Install a Door Sweep

If you feel cold air seeping beneath a door leading outside and find that using a door snake is inconvenient (see item #6), install a draft-defeating nylon door sweep. This long, thin broomlike vinyl-and-pile attachment gets installed along the inside bottom edge of the door. Cut the sweep to fit with a hacksaw and keep it in place with four or five wood screws.

If you heat the garage, check to see if cold air is infiltrating along the bottom edge of the door. Rubber garage-door gaskets, nailed in place with 1 in. galvanized roofing nails, can stop that cold air cold.

Cost: $8 each for a door-bottom sweep and a garage-door gasket

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