Cut your energy bill by 10% with an old sock

Sticking a sock in it could save you some serious cash. Don’t believe me? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, teeny tiny air leaks around your windows and doors can account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill. In western Canuckland, BC Hydro says that 20% of all heat loss is through leaks and poor ventilation. That’s a lot of moolah getting booted from your wallet for little benefit. Darn it.

air leaks draft stopper
Cut the chill: A critter draft dodger can stop costly air leaks.

Want to kick this costly (and sneaky) money leak? Then it’s time to hop to it by recycling an old pair of pantyhose or tights. That’s right people, you can sock it to your energy bill by stuffing an old pair of stockings, and sticking them in your windowsills, doorways, and anywhere else you feel a draft. Cool, eh?

funny dog
Cold Shoulder: Dog is thrilled to help dodge some drafts.

Now, I didn’t invent these energy-saving draft dodgers, leak stoppers, and chill excluders. Nope. I first spied these ‘crazy critters that keep the cold out’ during a recent visit to Germany. Turns out Germans have a bizarre sense of humour when it comes to home decor, and the local Berlin newspaper, appropriately named Berliner Zeitung, did a huge feature on the best stocking stuffers in town. You know the Germans always make good stuff.

German Newspaper
Animals in the draft: The Berlin Newspaper headline.

I would have totally missed the money-saving magic if it weren’t for Inge Pickerodt, Carl’s awesome aunt. Luckily, Inge didn’t need to translate the sensible savings (and wacky fun) possible with an old pair of socks since Berliner Zeitung printed dozens of pictures for my English-speaking benefit.

So for Inge, and anyone else who’s interested in socking away some savings, it’s time to pull your socks up, channel your inner Pippi Longstocking, and beat the stuffing outta your energy bill, ’cause I’m gonna blow your socks off with a simple draft stopping snake. (And yes, NO ONE should ever let me near a keyboard again after writing that stinker of a sentence, seriously.)

How to make a snake draft stopper

Making a sock snake shouldn’t cost you a cent. I crafted mine by reusing the stuff lying around my house, and I bet you can too. The idea behind this simple project is to recycle your old socks and get creative with any leftover buttons, ribbon, and fabric looking for a draft to dodge. This is a fun weekend project for those with kids too.

sock craft
Recycle: Reuse old socks and fabric pieces to build a free chill-stopping critter.

What you need:

  • Drafty window or door
  • 1 pair striped women’s tights, or socks
  • Leftover ribbon, buttons, fabric
  • Stuffing: more old socks, fabric fill, beans, rice, or gravel
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Googly eyes

Step One: Stuff your socks.

Choose a sock or pair of tights long enough to fit the length of your windowsill or doorstop. Don’t be afraid to use remanent fabric scraps, old clothing, or more socks to stuff your snake. Proper fabric fill costs around $10 and can result in a smoother appearance. Buy in bulk to make your own stuffed animals, or even a softie tree.

I used a mix of fabric fill and old expired beans to form my snake. Heavy materials like rice, beans, or gravel are great for weighing down your draft dodger and keeping it lodged in tight spaces.

sock snake craft
Stocking stuffer: Use a bottomless plastic cup to funnel fill into a stocking.

Note: If your windows or doors are damp, I’d stick to inorganic fill — moisture may cause rice to rot, or old beans to grow. Jack and the Beanstalk, anyone?

Step Two: Decorate your draft dodger.

sock snake

Use ribbon, buttons, leftover fabric, and whatever else you like to create a sensational serpent face, boa constrictor body, or rattlesnake tail. Fabric glue and basic sewing skills are all you need to seam the sock top closed when everything is in place.

Step Three: Lodge your dodger.

Heads or tails? Doesn’t matter, both snakey ends neatly cut out the cold from my drafty deck doors.

snake draft dodger
Butt: Even the snake’s tail can help slash chillin’ energy costs.

snake draft stopper
Heads Up: This serpent has a taste for savings.

dog snake

Heck, use your snake as a fashionable ear muff for your big-eared mutt.

Who knew that saving money with an old pair of socks could be so much fun.

More Energy Savings: Cut the draft from your attic to save even more money. Check out DIY: 3 Attic Insulation Methods to Seal in Savings for the easy-to-follow instructions.

Love,
Kerry

Your two cents:

  1. BrokeElizabeth February 29th, 2012

    Cute idea. My ex room mate did this… not to save money, but because she was deathly afraid of drafts.

  2. Pippa February 29th, 2012

    I first saw this being done in Italy in 1982. Have done it here too by rolling up old blankets and securing with masking tape…in a pinch!…but your version is very cute!

  3. Marianne February 29th, 2012

    :) This makes me think of David Suzuki.
    Anyhow- I just roll up old towels and stick them in front of my drafty doors (and we’ve got two very drafty doors!). Prior to this winter the weatherstripping on our front door also peeled off and before my husband was able to replace it I stuck newspaper into the opening (we have very old doors and there is a fairly good sized gap). At first I tried to just bunch it up and shove it in there but it worked better to fold up pieces of newspaper thinly and slide them into the door. This worked surprisingly well!!!

  4. Young Professional Finances February 29th, 2012

    That’s so cute! Love the snake.

  5. MarieK March 1st, 2012

    Very creative and useful money-saving tip! We replaced the weather stripping on our doors this past fall and notice a significant difference.

    Your poor, cute doggy! lol By “poor”, I mean adorable, funny, and undoubtedly loved greatly and spoiled rotten. lol

  6. Terri March 3rd, 2012

    Terrific idea! And so cute! I hate to ask a silly question but here goes: do you think this would help in the summer time, when running the air conditioner? We live in the tropics so don’t drafts aren’t so much a problem, but I know the seal on our doors and windows isn’t great. Thoughts?

  7. Julie @ Freedom 48 March 3rd, 2012

    Cute idea! I’ve been using a rolled up towel at our drafty door… but this is far cuter =)
    The joys of living in an old house…

  8. Jen March 3rd, 2012

    This might be a silly question — but when putting it on a window, does it just go on the windowsill bottom or does it also go all the way around the window? I’ve got some huge windows to deal with.

  9. Kerry March 3rd, 2012

    Hi Terri, Great question! Yes, a draft dodger will keep your home cool in the summer too.

  10. Kerry March 3rd, 2012

    Hi Jen, Do you have drafts all around your windows? If so, go ahead and lodge a dodger anywhere you feel a chill. Some windows are very leaky, so you may need to stick a few dodgers in the coldest spaces.

  11. Aja March 5th, 2012

    Yes, these draft stoppers work but isn’t it actually better use the proper tools that were designed with the purpose of draft stopping in mind? There are all kinds of weatherstripping gizmos and they are not expensive at all.
    I noticed there was a bit of draft coming from under my back door, so I used the aluminum strip with a band of heavy rubber attached to it that I cut to size and nailed to the door so that the rubber strip covers the tiny gap under the door.
    My main problem with the cutsy snakes etc. is that they collect too much dust and dog hair (a plentiful commodity in my house).
    Also, in my previous (very old) house, each fall, I applied clear caulking around the outside of the window frames (i.e. those that previous owners had painted shut long before I got the house).

  12. Joe March 6th, 2012

    I’m going to second Aja’s comment. This is a cute stop gap measure but doesn’t make up for proper home care. If you’ve got gaps between the bottoms of your doors big enough to save 10% on your energy bill by simply blocking them, spend $30 and get good quality weather stripping. Notably, if you’ve got a huge gap problem, you should probably check along the door jamb and the rest of the door because you’ve probably got inefficiencies elsewhere. Please don’t try to fix those with cutesy hipster sock crafts that coordinate with an old timey country kitsch fetish; just talk to somebody at Home Depot and take care of it properly for the next 5 – 10 years.

  13. Maricris @ SittingAround March 10th, 2012

    I have a window draft stopper that I purchased from the internet, but that one is so cute! I love it! I will try to make one. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Brian S March 15th, 2012

    This is a GREAT idea! I do have one question: how did you get your dog to not treat these like a chew toy?! My puppy would tear this apart!

    I really do like this idea and know exactly what window I’ll use this for!

  15. Coupons Canada May 4th, 2012

    This is such a CUTE idea:) and also saves on Bills !! I’ve pinned this:)

  16. Maggie February 14th, 2013

    I used the stuffing from an old pillow that had long ago gone flat. This is such a great idea!

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