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Hot houses



While we still have a week of summer left, and a couple of months to go until ski season it’s getting colder at night. I live in an older house that is shifting and settling, and my roommates and I have started to notice drafts.

Cold air is sneaking in through gaps in the window frames, through the sliding door, under the front door, and even through light fixtures. Our home and water is also electrically heated, and last winter we were running up bills in excess of $400 every two months.

For a bunch of ski bums, that’s a lot of money to cough up. Our saving grace is an excellent woodstove and our connection to an urban logger in Vancouver.

But unless we can cut down on the drafts and keep the heat indoors, it’s still going to cost us an arm and a leg to stay warm this winter.

In addition to our heating problems, we have a mouse and squirrel problem, some plumbing issues to fix, and a new floor to install in the bathroom. By the time it snows it will be too late to fix a lot of these problems, so the next couple of weeks are set aside for winterizing and all around home improvement.

We have the tools and some knowledge of how to use them, but we’re likely going to be hampered by men’s intuition – an ingrained belief that we know exactly what we’re doing and where we’re going. I’ve winged a few home improvement projects before, and let’s just say it’s generally a waste of time, money, and blood. It’s better to start with a plan.

Like last week’s sites these came from On Magazine (www.onmagazine.com), formerly Time Digital.


Do It Yourself is huge. There are honestly thousands of detailed project descriptions on this site, from installing a bathroom to wiring a fuse box. After maybe 10 minutes of surfing I had the answers to pretty much all of my problems plus some new ideas. I just wish I had a backyard to put the gazebo in.

The Interface is cluttered, but by being a little patient and using the Search option you should be able to find the plan you want.


Like Do It Yourself, this site has dozens of step by step home improvement tips. The approach is slightly different in that it assumes from the very beginning that you know nothing – not a bad way to go if you can be honest with yourself.