Holes and spaces around doors and windows let warm or cool air escape your home, making your furnace or air conditioner work harder. Applying weather stripping is a quick and easy do-it-yourself project that significantly reduces energy bills.
The best way to test for drafts is on a cold day. Run your hand over your doors and windows (as well as mail slots, dryer vents, the chimney, and corners).
Many homes have small gaps around doors and windows that let in cold or hot air from outside. By filling these gaps with caulking or weather stripping, you can save on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Most people know to check for drafts around doors and windows, but you can also look at places like mail slots, dryer vents, external water faucets, corners, and areas where phone and cable lines enter your house. Run your hand along these areas to feel for a cool breeze, where a draft is likely originating.
Door weatherstripping can be easily installed on exterior doors and will seal up the space between your home and the door frame. It can be made of vinyl, foam rubber, or felt and has an adhesive backing that makes it easy to install. Other types of weather stripping include door sweeps, v strips, and foam tape. They are all effective but vary in price, appearance, and durability.
Increased Home Value
Weatherstripping is a simple, affordable,, do-it-yourself project that can save your home energy and money. You can choose from several products, from felt and open- or closed-cell foam to vinyl, rubber, and metals. The most common types are felt, which comes in a wide range of widths, thicknesses, and qualities; vinyl, which resists moisture; and metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum), which last longer and look attractive.
For doors, door sweeps and gaskets are usually made of plastic, vinyl, or rubber and screwed to the bottom of the inside of a door frame. Tubular rubber and vinyl door gaskets are hollow tubes large enough to plug big gaps but soft enough to compress nearly flat. Foam tape, a roll of open or closed-cell foam or EPDM rubber with a sticky back, is ideal for irregular-sized cracks. You can find these at general hardware stores.
It’s important to note that by sealing gaps and eliminating drafts, you can reduce the energy used in your home. This will reduce heating costs and make your home feel more comfortable.
The best way to check for air leaks around windows and doors is to perform a walk-around inspection at night with a flashlight. Then place your hand against the door frame and look for cold air or feel for a draft. Other areas to check include:
- The mail slot.
- Dryer vents.
- External water faucets.
- Corners where phones and cable lines enter.
If you’re looking for a low-cost option, foam tape is available at most hardware stores. It’s easy to use and works well on most types of doors. However, it doesn’t seal as well as other materials. For a more durable choice, consider spring metal. These are available in various depths and sizes and can be cut to size for window sashes and doorjambs.
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Many homes have leaks that allow cold and hot outside air to enter the home, even with closed doors and windows. These leaks can lead to energy waste and increased heating or cooling bills. Weather stripping can help prevent these leaks and reduce the time furnaces run to keep a home warm.
This can also lower carbon dioxide emissions that are produced in the production of electricity and heating fuels. Other ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include using programmable thermostats, changing incandescent light bulbs to fluorescents or LEDs, and recycling or composting.
Adding caulking and weather stripping to movable parts of your home, such as your door or operable window, will seal off the leaks that can occur in these areas. For the best results, choose weather stripping made from durable materials that can withstand temperature changes and general wear and tear. For example, foam tape is inexpensive but can break down easily. Vinyl or rubber strips are better choices and may last longer. If you have jalousie louvers, you can use clear vinyl tracks that snap over the edges of your louvers to form a tight seal.