How Much Heat is Your Home Losing?

Did you know that as much as 7-12 percent of your home’s heating and cooling loss occurs around windows and doors? In fact, in some homes, tiny gaps in these areas can collectively equate to a one-foot square hole punched in the wall. Outside air can leak into or out of your home through these voids, causing your energy bill to rise as your furnace or air conditioner works overtime to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Given these facts, even if your home is well insulated, weatherstripping should be an important part of your energy-saving curriculum.Weatherstripping Weatherstripping is the material that is placed around doors and windows to seal them against the loss of heat and air conditioning and prevent the infiltration of outdoor air. When choosing the type of weatherstripping that is best for your project, it’s important to look at several factors, including durability, exposure to outdoor elements, and method of installation. Different products are suited for use in different locations, so you will likely need to choose more than one type of weatherstripping for your various applications. For example, just as weatherstripping that is not waterproof wouldn’t be the best choice for your exterior windows and doors, weatherstripping that is susceptible to wear and tear won’t be the best choice for placement underneath frequently used doors. The method of installation is another important consideration, as some weatherstripping is nailed, while others use an adhesive or magnetic strip to stay put. Weatherstripping that needs to be nailed into place, for example, may not be the most practical choice at the bottom of a door, as the door would need to be removed prior to the application. Though the installation of weatherstripping will vary depending on the brand and type, there are some general guidelines to follow: Apply to a clean, dry surface; weatherstrip the entire door jamb or window sash to prevent any leaks; and apply one continuous strip along each side, making sure it fits tightly in the corners. For product-specific directions, be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. To help determine the type of weatherstripping best suited to your particular application, the list below contains the most popular weatherstripping choices, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Tension Seal: self-stick vinyl or springy bronze strip shaped to bridge a gap

  • Application: Best used inside the track of a window, top or sides of doors
  • Advantages: Durable, effective, and invisible when in place
  • Disadvantages: Can be difficult to install

Reinforced Foam: closed-cell foam attached to wood or metal strips

  • Application: Best used in door or window stops, top or bottom of window sash
  • Advantages: An effective sealer, holds up well in high winds
  • Disadvantages: Must be sawed, nailed, and painted; very visible

Rolled or Reinforced Vinyl: pliable or rigid strip gaskets

  • Application: Best used in door or window stops, rigid strips on bottom of doors
  • Advantages: Low cost and easy to install
  • Disadvantages: Very visible

Door Sweep: aluminum or stainless steel with brush of plastic or felt

  • Application: Best used on the bottom of doors
  • Advantages: Easy to install, and many types are adjustable for an uneven threshold
  • Disadvantages: Visible and can drag on carpeted floors

Magnetic: works like a refrigerator gasket

  • Application: Best used on the top and side of doors, and double-hung and sliding windows
  • Advantages: Very effective air sealer

Reinforced Silicone: tubular gasket attached to metal strip

  • Application: Best used on a doorjamb or window stop
  • Advantages: Great, long-lasting seal
  • Disadvantages: Installing can be tricky, must be sawed or cut to size

Interlocking Metal Channels: two sections align to form a tight seal when closed

  • Application: Best used around door perimeters
  • Advantages: Exceptional seal against wetness
  • Disadvantages: Difficult to install, usually requires a professional installation