Small air leaks around windows and doors can cost you more than you realize as well as waste up to 30% of heating and cooling energy. Sealing these small leaks will save energy and money. Here’s how:
First, check for the leaks. With the window or door that you are checking, make sure it is closed and hold up a lit candle or stick of incense near the frames where drafts might be hiding. Watch for smoke and mark the areas leaking air.
For windows, especially older ones, caulking and new weather stripping will be very beneficial. Here are a few options:
Bronze weather stripping for around $12 for 17 feet lasts for decades but is more time consuming to install. Self-sticking plastic types are easier for installation, but don’t last as long. A good compromise between the two is an adhesive-backed EPDM rubber ($8 for 10 feet) that should last at least 10 years. You can also invest around $9 it an item called a pulley seal to block air from moving through the holes where cords disappear into the frames.
For doors check for air leaks and replace old weather stripping. You can try:
Foam-type tape that has an adhesive backing, which is inexpensive and easy to install. If it comes loose, just reinforce with staples.
Adhesive backed or metal reinforced felt is also an option and must be tacked or glued into place. It is cheap and easy, but lacking in durability.
The best sealing option is a tubular rubber, vinyl or silicone weather strip, however it is somewhat expensive and difficult to install. Some types do come pre-cut and designed to fit into jambs of newer doors.
Make sure to also check exterior trim for any gaps. Caulking with a latex caulk for around $5 is an easy solution.
A common place for air leaks is at the bottom of doors, so make sure to check the condition of your threshold gasket. Replace as needed and if you can see daylight under the door, you may need to install a taller gasket for around $25. You can also install a weather-resistant door sweep designed for exterior doors, which is easy and around $9.
If you need help, contact Nothnagle’s Home Services Department!