How to fix drafty doors and other energy efficient DIYs.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Because nearly half of the average family’s energy bill goes toward heating and cooling, Schlage offers you two key temperature-control DIYs to improve your home.
How do I fix drafty doors and windows?
As doors and windows age, or as the weather changes, you might find gaps that let cold air in or out. Check two places for leaks. First, look between the wall and the window frame or door frame. One way to do this is by lighting a candle or a stick of incense near the window. Watch the flame or blow it out and watch the smoke. If the flame flickers or the smoke blows away, you’ve found your leak. To fix the leak, use caulking around the sash or frame on both the interior and exterior. Only calk areas that don’t need to move.
Second, examine those areas that do need to move, like around a window’s rail and sash. With windows, give them a little shake. If you hear it rattling around, the seal is not doing its job and keeping out the draft. To test a door, take a dollar bill or piece of paper and close the door with it underneath. If you can pull the paper out easily, the seal is weak or insufficient. Repeat the test above the door and near the hinges as well.
When it comes to doors, you may be able to stop the leak by fixing the door alignment. This is a great way to also improve your security. Once your door is properly aligned, apply weather stripping to block the remaining draft. On the sides and above the door, use foam tape. Underneath the door, you may need to install a door sweep.
A door sweep is usually a metal strip attached to the bottom of the door with a rubber or bristled strip below that. This second piece is what blocks air, dirt and moisture. Lowe’s offers a handy tutorial and more tips on which kind of weather stripping you might need for your door.
For windows, there are also window insulation kits and insulation film. This film also comes in a kit and can be installed on the window’s interior or exterior. Some people claim bubble wrap is just as effective and costs less, but we like that the film doesn’t obstruct your views. Apartment Therapy’s guide to installing window insulation film shows how simple this DIY task can be.
Be sure to inspect all entryways, including side or garage entry doors, and basement entrances. Once you have the windows in the main living area covered, check those in the basement and attic as well. You’re now ready to check your home’s insulation for better warmth and cooling throughout the year.
What should I insulate to keep my home warm?
You can lose a lot of heat in the winter if your home has insulation that’s too thin or of the wrong variety. And it’s not just about insulating the walls. Heat rises, so your attic should be well-insulated to keep the warmth down where you are. Basements and crawl spaces that attract the dank and cold should also be inspected for improvement opportunities. You can add insulation to existing walls and spaces with a spray foam, so don’t be fooled into thinking you need to rip out all the drywall just for some extra warmth.
Home Depot has a helpful guide on the types of insulation used in different areas of your home and the recommended rating for your climate.
Some of your appliances and fixtures might also need an extra layer – just like when you put on an extra sweater. Not only will it help them work more efficiently, but it could also keep them from breaking completely. Water pipes especially can freeze and burst, creating more headaches than just a high energy bill. Pipes on an exterior wall are particularly susceptible to freezing or, at the very least, losing heat and giving you icy showers due to contact with colder surrounding air. Your water heater faces the same challenges when exposed to cold environments.
To insulate water pipes, you can use traditional foam insulation, which looks a bit like a pool noodle and slides easily onto existing pipes. BobVila.com also recommends spray foam insulation or fiberglass pipe covers, depending on how hot you need the pipes to be and the climate where you live. Insulate your water heater with a water heater blanket or pipe insulation to reduce heat loss by around 25 percent.
Paying attention to these key areas for insulation will help to keep the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer without you having to pay the big bucks. Find more smart ways to save you and your home energy in our blog. There’s also plenty of other DIY and home improvement tips at Schlage.com/blog.