One of the best ways to save money on heating costs is to weatherstrip doors and windows. Weatherstripping saves money and increases energy efficiency by keeping cold winds outside and warm air inside; your furnace won’t have to work so hard to heat your home because heat is not escaping through cracks around doors and windows. When choosing weatherstripping for the home, think about your home’s insulation needs as well as the amount of money you want to spend on the project. No matter the type, most weatherstripping is very easy to install. And even if you only do a little bit every year, you’ll feel the difference in comfort and see the difference in the savings on your energy bills.
Which Material Should I Use to Weatherize?
- Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes—up and down, sideways, or out. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed while allowing it to open freely.
- 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.
- You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space. Also take durability into account when comparing costs. Click here for information about the most common types of weatherstripping, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.
- To determine how much weatherstripping you will need, add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weatherstripped, then add 5%–10% to accommodate any waste. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths.
How Should I Install Weather-stripping?
Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical. Don’t rush through this–read the instructions on the weatherstripping package. Here are a few basic guidelines:
- Weatherstripping should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F.
- Measure the area to be weatherstripped twice before you cut anything. (The saying “measure twice, cut once” is good practice for just about anything that involves scissors, a knife, a saw—there’s nothing worse than figuring out that you’ve made something too small and have to start over!)
- Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
When weatherstripping doors:
- Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors.
- Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.
- Apply one continuous strip along each side.
- Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.
- Use a thickness that causes the weatherstripping to tightly press between the door and the door jamb when the door closes, without making it difficult to shut.
- Apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. The weatherstripping shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window.