Why You Need Weatherstripping in Your Home

Did you know having a drafty homes can increase your electricity bill by as much as 20 percent?!  All it takes is a couple of hours and a few bucks and you can eliminate the extra costs associated with air leaks in your house.  And this helpful guide will show you how to do it with weatherstripping: when to use weatherstripping instead of caulking, which type of weatherstripping to use, and how to apply it.

Weatherstripping is optimal for sealing the openings around windows and doors.  Caulking, on the other hand, is the optimal solution for sealing immovable components of your home.  Weatherstripping allows for windows and doors to open easily, but should provide a solid seal when they are closed.

A common weatherstripping material is a tension seal, also known as a V strip due to its shape.  V strips are durable and can’t be seen when the window or door are closed. You’ll want to install V strip inside the track of a double-hung or sliding window and on the top and side edge of a door.

Vinyl is a cheaper, less durable weatherstripping that can be placed around a door or window.  If you use vinyl, be sure to staple the strips into the door or window so that the staples run parallel to the length of the strip.  Vinyl doesn’t prevent airflow nearly as well as V strips and it should not be placed anywhere that might be exposed to moisture.

Door sweeps are a type of weatherstripping used exclusively at the bottom of doors.  You’ll want to install these on the side of your door that swings open. You’ll screw these into the bottom of your door and they will be visible at all times.  Be aware of the type of floor material that will be under the door sweeps while opening and closing. Carpet can wear out quickly if exposed to a door sweep. Automatically retracting door sweeps are now available and work very well at saving your carpet from the friction and degradation caused by normal door sweeps.

Thresholds are installed on the floor underneath your door and cause a seal when your door is closed.  Bulb thresholds are common and somewhat effective. A frost brake threshold is very effective at keeping the cold out of your home.  These thresholds are placed under your door and usually have an aluminum or wood exterior, a wood interior, and a door-bottom seam and vinyl threshold replacement.

The Department of Energy has even more details about the different types of weatherstripping available to you, so be sure to visit their website for more details: https://energy.gov/energysaver/air-sealing-your-home/weatherstripping

When weatherstripping doors, be sure to do the following:

  • Use door sweeps and/or thresholds at the bottom of the door
  • Weatherstrip the entire door jamb (the upright parts of the door frame)
  • Be sure that the weatherstripping meets tightly and securely at all corners
  • Use a thickness that causes the weatherstripping to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door is closed, but not so thick that it makes it difficult to open the door

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