Weatherstripping is a tool that is very useful to stop air leaks around your doors and windows. When you feel that there is air moving, this indicates that there is a gap in your door or windows and you're losing your warm (or cooled) air to the outdoors. To reduce the loss of conditioned air, add weatherstripping to your doors and window sashes as this can save you money and keep your living areas more comfortable.
The important thing is for you to understand the concept of weatherstripping, as there are many different types and different names for it. Weatherstripping is flexible as it needs to expand and contract as the gaps between parts of your home move. For example, when you open a door the rubber weatherstripping expands and then when the door is closed, it contracts to fill the open space between the door and the door jambs.
Where to Install Weather Stripping
First, you need to identify which parts of your home have conditioned air, i.e. heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. The unconditioned areas of your home may include:
• Attic - you might want to add weatherstripping and insulation) to the door into the attic
• Unfinished Basement - fill the gaps around the door
• Garage - needs lots of weatherstripping around the garage door(s), the exterior door going into the garage and the door from the
garage into the house.
• Sun rooms - you might want to reduce air leaks in your unconditioned space that is attached to the house
• Doors and windows - are caulked on the outside of your house where they meet the siding. The weatherstripping, i.e. foam you place
at the bottom of your window sash (the part that moves) expand and contract when you open and close them, to fill the gaps when the doors and windows are closed. Don't forget your patio doors and bulk head doors into the basement.
• Air conditioners - and other fixtures that stick out through your home's exterior walls may need weatherstripping. There are gaps that you may want to fill in a window or wall air conditioner.
Weatherstripping is often installed on new windows and doors and you should inspect this over time, as the materials used will become less effective. When this occurs, you should replace the weatherstripping. You should check your house as the seasons change to make sure you have adequate weatherstripping, if the existing weatherstripping requires replacing or if additional protection is required. Note: Weatherstripping is not only needed by the people who live in cold weather, it is also necessary for the people in warm climates to keep from losing cooled air to the outside.
Windows may be equipped with the same type of rubber strip. Often, this is the type of weatherstripping that is used when new homes are built. For older homes, it is possible to purchase rolls of foam weatherstripping with an adhesive back. Homeowners can install this type of sealing agent with ease, while still allowing the windows to be opened and closed at will. Weatherstripping windows in this manner is usually an inexpensive way to deal with drafts, and will save a great deal of money on heating and cooling costs.
Tips for Buying Your Weatherstripping
Here's a quick checklist to help you buy the right weatherstripping for your home. For more information, visit The US Dept of Energy's,
A Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency.
• Identify which doors and windows have gaps leaking air.
• Estimate the linear feet required to cover all 4 sides of each door/window you want to cover.
• Check the weather, temperature changes and wear (friction) that rubber strips will be exposed to, i.e. the bottom of a door will have
more wear than a window. You also need to choose a material that allows the door/window to open freely once closed.
• Decide which type of weatherstripping you want to use. Here are the most common ones:
1. Inexpensive - felt and open-cell foam are easy to apply but won't hold up to weather.
2. Flexible vinyl rubber strips - slightly more expensive but holds up well and resists moisture.
3. Metal rubber strips - lasts for years and you can match to existing door hardware. Door sweeps go at the bottom of a door and
have either rubber or bristles to reduce the amount of air which can flow under the door when closed.
• Clean and dry surface before applying weatherstripping.
• Always double check the measure, cut once when doing any type of home maintenance.
• Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces (temperature should be above 20°F (-7° C). The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
Tina Gleisner, founder of the Association of Women Home Owners connects homeowners with concepts, terminology and advice to build homes that support today's lifestyles. Through the library and directory at www.HomeTips4Women.com, you can LEARN more about how to maintain and repair your home and more.