Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Door snakes

As a part of my 2013 energy diet I simply had to do something about the gap under the outside doors.

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I have a steel doors and none of the “attach to the door” type sweeps helped keep out the cold air.  Everything kept falling off or simply didn’t work.  I knew a door snake filled with sand or rice would help but it’s such a hassle to pick it up then put it back everytime the door is opened.  Also, when I left the house I couldn’t put the snake back in place so heated air escaped the whole time I was gone.

Last year I made door snakes for my inside doors.  I made them to work like the ones I saw on tv.  You can see those snakes and how to make them yourself in this post on my other blog.  Even if you can’t sew you can make these door snakes.  Use glue instead of sewing.  Glue works just fine.

For a long time I’ve had an idea to make door snakes that would move with the door in the same way a door sweep does. The idea for these are from the ones I saw on tv except different.  This year I finally got around to actually making these.  Here is how I did mine.  I had some pipe insulation, magnetic strip, and fabric.  Magnets hold to a steel door better than glue or screws. I’ve had these supplies for well over a year and that’s what bugged me the most.  I had the supplies but couldn’t find the time to make these.  Geeze, where does the time go?

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Anyway, the next step was to measure the door.  Mine is 36 wide and 2 inches thick.  The pipe insulation is 5 1/4 around.

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So I cut a couple pieces of fabric 37″ X 12″. This is allowing 6 inches for the insulation, 2 inches for the thickness of the door, 2″ on the outside of the door and seam allowances.

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Fold up the ends to form a hem.  Either glue it or sew it.  A fabric glue would make these washable just like the sewn ones.

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Next you will fold a hem on one side to hold the pipe insulation.  I measured it 3 inches for the fold.  Accuracy really isn’t extremely important except you don’t want the hem to be too small to hold the pipe insulation.

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Then you make a very small hem on the other side.

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Next step is to put the magnets along the side with the small hem.

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The idea is that the magnet will stick to the fabric and the door.  My magnet strip has a glue side.  At first I stuck it to the wrong side of the fabric and had to change it.  Finally done.  See?  Nice and snug against the door.

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The best part is on the other side of the door.  The outside part.  It looks like a simple brown strip along the bottom of the door. No one really notices it.  It looks like a part of a colorful door.

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Why have the fabric go under the door instead of simply adding magnets to the pipe insulation or gluing it to the door? Because the fabric and magnets pull the insulation snug against the door when closed but lets it relax when the door is opened.  My floors are not even.  That’s why the “attach to the door” type sweeps didn’t work in the first place.  Fabric is flexible enough to work.

Well, this door snake wasn’t enough.  See the gap between the door and the jam?  That’s a lot of heat escape area. Yes, the door does have weather stripping already.  It simply doesn’t cover the whole gap.


So I made another door snake.   It needs some tweeking because it’s very loose when the door is open.  I’ll work on it before actual cold weather comes to our area.

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So?  What do you think?  You going to make some for yourself?  It’s easy enough to make.  No sewing skill required.  It could save a lot of heat energy  if you have gaps around your doors like I do.  The pipe insulation cost about a dollar for four strips.  Or if you have some swim noodles you can use those instead.  The fabric can be just about anything you have. An old pillow case.  An old t-shirt.  A bath towel.  Anything that can be cut and either sewn or glued.

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