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Sunday, March 15, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Home Clinic

Low-Cost Ways To Insulate Glass Doors

HOME CLINIC: I am renting an apartment that has a big sliding glass door in the living room. It's very cold on the side of the room by the door. What can I do to keep the heat in? - S.G., Seattle

DEAR S.G.: You can keep the heat in and improve the comfort in the room by sealing up the air leaks and temporarily insulating the door with clear plastic or a blanket.

Most sliding glass doors do not seal effectively when closed and leak air around the outside edges and at the center joint. Rope caulk can be pressed into cracks to reduce air leakage. This material is easy to use and can be removed in the spring to allow use of the door.

Insulating the door with clear plastic or a blanket is a good temporary solution for cold areas. If you want to keep the daylight coming through, tape a sheet of clear plastic over the doors on the inside. Seal the plastic to the door-trim around all the edges. This will help reduce air leakage as well as create an insulating air space between the plastic and door. Storm-window kits for sliding glass doors are available at most hardware stores for $10 to $15.

For a more effective way of insulating glass doors, hang a blanket from a wooden rod held up by the curtain or brackets, or tack it to the top of the door frame. You can tape the blanket on all four sides or leave it hanging free if you want to roll it up to let in daylight.

Perhaps the best option is to tape plastic over the door, then hang a blanket over the plastic. This allows you to maintain some insulation when the blanket is removed to let in light.

These low-cost methods of sealing and insulating sliding glass doors will greatly improve comfort as well as save energy. For free tips on patio glass doors, call our Energy Hotline toll free at 1-800-962-9731.

HOME CLINIC: Recently, my wife and I have had more bouts with colds and flu than usual. I've read about indoor air pollution in homes. Could this be our problem? Our house is 10 years old. How do I find out about indoor pollutants, and how do I get my house tested for them? - H.H., Kent

DEAR H.H.: Yes, it is possible that some of your problems are due to indoor pollutants. First of all, consult your health-care provider if you haven't already.

If you still feel you have an indoor pollution problem, you should consider reviewing the literature available free from state and regional agencies. By becoming more informed you may solve the problem yourself, or at least become a more knowledgeable consumer when hiring a private testing firm.

Use your Yellow Pages or Directory Assistance to help locate private testing laboratories that specialize in indoor air testing. These should be listed under Air Pollution Measuring Services or Laboratories-Testing. There are several laboratories that offer this service in Washington state.

For more information on pollutants, their health effects, and corrective action, the following agencies can provide literature and some assistance:

-- Washington State Department of Health Indoor Air Quality - 206-586-6179, Radon Hotline - 1-800-323-9727.

-- Department of Ecology Hazardous Substances - 1-800-633-7585.

-- Washington State Energy Office - Energy Extension Service Energy Efficient Housing - 1-800-962-9731.

-- United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region 10 Indoor Air Quality - 206-553-4303.

Home Clinic answers questions about home maintenance, repair and energy conservation. It is prepared by the Energy Extension Service, a division of the Washington State Energy Office.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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