Greetings! Welcome to part 5 of my fall checklist series for homeowners! This week’s focus will be on weatherizing your windows, doors and living areas.  Air leaks are the largest source of home energy loss. Replacing your windows and doors with new energy efficient models can be costly. If you’re not ready to take that step, take comfort in the fact that there are plenty of methods to weatherize your existing doors & windows to reduce air leaks in your home. Reducing these air leaks will save you on heating expenses in the winter as well as cooling expenses in the summer!

Caulking and Weather Stripping
Begin by doing a careful inspection of your windows and doors for any cracks while checking for drafts. Replace broken glass and if you find any loose panes, simply reputty them. Before applying any caulk or weatherstripping, clean the molding and framing around your windows and doors. Remove all soil, dust and debris from the area. Also remove any old caulking that may have cracked or become loose. Once the area is clean and dry, you can apply new caulk. When applying caulk, move slowly and create an even bead between the trim and exterior walls of your house. Repeat this action again where the molding meets the exterior house wall.
Weather stripping can be applied to the top and bottom of all windows. A great tip is to never measure weatherstripping. The strips can stretch as you install it creating havoc with your measurements. The best way to install is to start at one end and then cut off the excess with a scissors once you’ve reached the opposite corner. Weather stripping can also be placed around the doorframe where the door and doorstop trim meet. Again, begin installing at one end and then trim with a scissors when you reach the opposite corner for a perfect fit. Door sweeps are another easy to install project. You can find them at most local hardware stores. Keep in mind though that most of them need to be screwed into your door.

Plastic
You can cover all the interior windows of your home with plastic. This is very effective even if you currently have storm windows. An extra layer of insulation certainly won’t hurt when trying to stop energy loss. Clear window insulation kits are readily available and inexpensive. One of the most popular methods are kits that include double sided tape and plastic. The plastic will “shrink to fit” when installed with a hairdryer and become virtually invisible when completed. Be sure to test the double sided tape on a small area before installing to make sure it will not peel any wood or paint away from the window frame.

 

In living areas
Purchase foam-rubber gaskets that install behind switch plates on exterior walls from your local home improvement store. Many times, you can actually feel air entering if you place your hand near outlets that face the exterior of your home. Caulk around kitchen and bath cabinets that are mounted on exterior walls as well.
When taking a bath or shower, close the bathroom door to conserve the heat. You can also close the doors in unused rooms to avoid heating those “dead” spaces.

Around the exterior
Caulk is a homeowner’s best friend when it comes to weatherizing the exterior of your home. Caulk around all penetrations where electrical, telephone, cable, gas, dryer vents, and water lines enter the house. Check your dryer exhaust vent hood. If it’s missing the flapper, or it doesn’t close by itself, replace it with a tight-fitting model. Remove window air conditioners in winter; or at least cover them tightly, and make rigid insulation covers for the flimsy side panels.

I welcome your feedback each week.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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