Autumn is here and the cold weather is on the way for readers that live in cooler climates. it's time to start thinking about ways to keep the heat in your home this winter. We have some great posts on insulating your home but this may not be in your budget this year. If not, adding or replacing weather stripping is a great way to keep your home warmer and keep your energy bills lower.
Here are three steps to doing your own weather-stripping update project:
1. Assessment - Before adding or replacing weatherstripping, you need to determine the current condition of air sealing in your home. Look for air leaks around windows and doors and fix those first. This will give you the best return on your sealing investment. Finding air leaks can be done either by a professional energy auditor or savvy DIY homeowners can find information on finding air leaks themselves. In order to determine how much weatherstripping you need to purchase, measure the perimeter of the applicable doors and windows and add about 5-10% to that number. This will allow you to price and purchase the new materials for the weatherstripping project. Tip: don't forget to check the weatherstripping on your garage door. Even if your garage is not conditioned, this can affect your energy bills if you have a space above your garage that is connected to your home.
2. Selection - Spend some time selecting the best weatherstripping materials for your project. Choose a product for each specific location. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Vinyl, which is slightly more expensive, holds up well and resists moisture. Metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) last for years and are affordable. Metal weatherstripping can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place.
3. Application - There is a right and a wrong way to install each type of weatherstripping. Make sure to read the instructions and go to your local home improvement store and ask the experts. Get someone familiar with this kind of project to talk you through installation of each type of weatherstripping for doors and windows. Some larger home improvement stores offer free classes on weatherstripping and insulating your home. Take advantage of these free resources! Here are some general guidelines for installation:
- Weatherstripping should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C).
- Measure the area to be weatherstripped twice before you cut anything.
- Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you would like to read more on the types of weatherstripping, here is some more content from US Department of Energy.