By weatherproofing your home, you can save big bucks on your energy bill. Weatherproofing is the process of sealing cracks and air leaks to keep cold air out during the winter and hot air during the summer. In addition, the hot or cold air generated by heaters and air conditioners won’t leak out of the house either. Real Estate Agent Angie Noeth provides us here with five steps you can take to weatherproof your home and reduce your heating costs by up to 40%.
1. Caulk Your Windows
Caulking will create a tight seal around your window frame. You’ll find a variety of different types of caulk at the hardware store. The labels will tell you whether it’s for interior or exterior use and whether it can be painted over. Some caulk comes in aerosol cans, and other types need to be applied with a caulk gun.
It’s best to apply caulk on a warm, dry day. First, scrape away paint and dirt from the area. Make sure the surface is dry before you begin caulking. Once you’re ready, spread the caulk between the window frame and the siding. When you’re finished one section of the window, use a caulking tool to smooth it out.
2. Apply Weather Stripping
Weather stripping can be used in addition to caulking, and it’s is one of the easiest ways to seal your windows from drafts. It’s also extremely affordable as a roll only costs around $5-10. Weather stripping can be made from vinyl, foam, or felt. Vinyl is the most durable of the materials and will last the longest, but foam and felt are cheaper. All three types come as self-adhesive rolls.
Before purchasing weather stripping, measure around the window frame and sash. Add your measurements together to figure out what size roll you’ll need. When you’re ready to install it, clean off the surfaces of the window with a damp cloth. Let it dry and cut the weather stripping to the appropriate length. Then apply it to both sides of the frame. You can also use weather stripping around your door.
3. Put on a Door Sweep
Installing a door sweep is simple, and it will block drafts from entering through the crevice at the bottom of your door. First, measure along the bottom of your door. You may need to saw off the edges of a door sweep so it will fit, so make sure you measure carefully. Some door sweeps will slide into place while others need to be screwed into the bottom of the door. For doors that swing inward, make sure the screws face inside. Doors that swing outward, meanwhile, should have the screws facing outside. Door sweeps usually cost around $25 at the hardware store.
4. Install Outlet Insulation
Although many newer homes have insulation already installed around the electrical outlets, most older home do not. Gaps around electrical outlets may seem small, but the hot or cold air escaping through them can really add up. These foam insulators are a cheap and easy to install solution. Just unscrew the wall plate from an electrical outlet or light switch, insert the foam insulator, and put the plate back on. Remember to always be careful when working around electrical wire.
5. Get a Storm Door
Storm doors provide and extra layer of insulation between your regular door and the elements. They are especially helpful in colder climates. Heavy-duty aluminum will prevent cold winter winds from entering your house. If you already have a storm door, make sure it’s still positioned properly in your door frame and that the hinges are attached tightly.
Storm doors are one of the more expensive methods of weatherproofing your home. They can range between $100-500. However, you can get EnergyStar tax breaks if you buy a door that qualifies for the government program. In addition, you’ll recoup whatever money you spend because your heating bills will be lower.