It’s that time of year again–the cold weather is moving in, and with it comes the unwanted spike in heating bills. Drafty windows and doors can wreak havoc on wallets by allowing cold air to blow in, and conditioned air to seep out.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, one simple draft can waste between 5 to 30% of a home’s energy usage per year; multiply this by however many leaky windows and doors there may be in the average home, and this can add up to hundreds or even thousands of hard-earned dollars being wasted every year. The best way to address this is to winterize both windows and doors in order to keep that cold air where it’s supposed to be–outside of the home.
Winterizing Drafty Windows
Wouldn’t it be nice if the only thing a window would let in during the winter is the sunshine? It’s entirely possible to make this happen if you take a few simple steps in order to winterize leaky or drafty windows. Try the “candle test” to find where any leaks may be present: Light a long candle, and then hold it in front of all the different windows and doors in the home. If you see the candle’s flame consistently moving in one direction, you’ve found the culprit.
Caulking is one of the most reliable means to create a wind-blocking seal around drafty windows. After scraping off any old, dry or cracked caulking around the perimeter of the window, apply a fresh bead of exterior-grade caulk where the frame meets the siding. It is also recommended for you to apply weatherstripping to seal around the sashes of the window(s) from the inside.
There are several different types of weatherstripping available (e.g., adhesive-backed foam, spring V-seal, tubular rubber-gasket, etc.) that will enable you to accomplish this task. For older houses that contain single-pane windows, it’s definitely worth it to discuss window replacement as an option, as double-pane insulated windows can improve the energy efficiency of a home by leaps and bounds.
Winterizing Drafty Doors
You can seal drafty doors using caulk or wood fill to add a layer of protection that will block cold air from entering through small openings. Adding weatherstripping all around the door will definitely help towards this purpose as well. If the threshold is worn out, you might want to consider replacing it, as it will not only provide better protection from the elements, but it will also add aesthetic appeal.
One important factor that often goes overlooked when winterizing doors is the alignment of the door itself. Check to see whether the door is actually hanging straight, and if not, you can adjust the strike plate and/or hinges to get everything back in proper working order. It’s also worth it to add a sweep to the bottom of the door; just make sure to install a sweep that won’t drag or get stuck when the door swings out.
When it comes to winterizing a home, every little bit helps. Keeping the above ideas in mind will help you earn the satisfaction of a job well done.