Browse   Newsletters   Contests   Ask   Share   Account   About

Weatherizing Your Home

Weatherizing Your Home, Man Weather Stripping His Windows

Keeping your home warm and dry during the winter months can be a challenge. Weatherizing your home will help you stay comfortable when it is cold out and will save on your heating bill the process. This is a guide about weatherizing your home.

     

Solutions

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Insulation Saves Money

If you have an older home, consider having it insulated. There are several programs available to help with this, but if you do not qualify for them, it is still something that can be done for a reasonable price and it is an excellent way to save energy.

By Robin

Tip: Do It Yourself Weatherstripping

You can weatherstrip your doors even if you're not an experienced handyman. There are several types of weatherstripping for doors, each with its own level of effectiveness, durability and degree of installation difficulty. Select among the options given the one you feel is best for you. The installations are the same for the two sides and top of a door, with a different, more durable one for the threshold.

1. Adhesive backed foam:

Tools: Knife or Shears, Tape measure

Evaluation: extremely easy to install, invisible when installed, not very durable, more effective on doors than windows.

Installation: stick foam to inside face of jamb.

2. Rolled vinyl with aluminum channel backing:

Tools: Hammer, nails, Tin snips, Tape measure

Evaluation: easy to install, visible when installed, durable.

3. Foam rubber with wood backing:Tools-Hammer, nails, Hand saw, Tape measure

Evaluation: easy to install, visible when installed, not very durable.

Installation: nail strip snugly against the closed door. Space nails 8 to 12 inches apart.

4. Spring metal:

Tools: Tin snips, Hammer, nails, Tape measure

Evaluation: easy to install, invisible when installed, extremely durable.

Installation: cut to length and tack in place. Lift outer edge of strip with screwdriver after tacking, for better seal.

Note: These methods are harder than 1 through 4

5. Interlocking metal channels:

Tools: Hack saw, Hammer, nails, Tape measure

Evaluation: difficult to install (alignment is critical), visible when installed, durable but subject to damage, because they're exposed, excellent seal.

Installation: cut and fit strips to head of door first: male strip on door, female on head; then hinge side of door: male strip on jamb, female on door; finally lock side on door, female on jamb.

6. Fitted interlocking metal channels (J-strips)

Evaluation: very difficult to install, exceptionally good weather seal, invisible when installed, not exposed to possible damage.

Installation: should be installed by a carpenter. Not appropriate for do-it-yourself installation unless done by an accomplished handyman.

7. Sweeps:

Tools: Screwdriver, Hack saw, Tape measure

Evaluation: useful for flat thresholds, may drag on carpet or rug.

Installation: cut sweep to fit 1/16 inch in from the edges of the door. Some sweeps are installed on the inside and some outside. Check instructions for your particular type.

8. Door Shoes:

Tools: Screwdriver,Hack saw,Plane,Tape measure

Evaluation: useful with wooden threshold that is not worn very durable, difficult to install (must remove door).

Installation: remove door and trim required amount off bottom. Cut to door width. Install by sliding vinyl out and fasten with screws.

9. Vinyl bulb threshold:

Tools: Screwdriver, Hack saw, Plane, Tape measure

Evaluation: useful where there is no threshold or wooden one is worn out, difficult to install, vinyl will wear but replacements are available.

Installation: remove door and trim required amount off bottom. Bottom should have about 1/8" bevel to seal against vinyl. Be sure bevel is cut in right direction for opening.

10. Interlocking threshold:

Evaluation: very difficult to install, exceptionally good weather seal.

Installation: should be installed by a skilled carpenter. Install by moving sash to the open position and sliding strip in between the sash and the channel. Tack in place into the casing. Do not cover the pulleys in the upper channels.

A sliding window can be treated as a double-hung window turned on its side. Casement and tilting windows should be weatherstripped with the vinyl nailed to the window casing so that, as the window shuts, it compresses the roll.

Install adhesive backed foam, on all types of windows, only where there is no friction. On double-hung windows, this is only on the bottom (as shown) and top rails. Other types of windows can use foam strips in many more places. Before applying caulking compound, clean area of paint build-up, dirt, or deteriorated caulk with solvent and putty knife or large screwdriver. Drawing a good bead of caulk will take a little practice. First attempts may be a bit messy. Make sure the bead overlaps both sides for a tight seal. A wide bead may be necessary to make sure caulk adheres to both sides.

Fill extra wide cracks like those at the sills (where the house meets the foundation) with oakum, glass fiber insulation strips, etc.) In places where you can't quite fill the gaps finish the job with caulk.

Caulking compound also comes in rope form. Unwind it and force it into cracks with your fingers. You can fill extra long cracks easily this way.

Triple track, combination (windows and screen) storm windows are designed for installation over double hung windows. They are permanently installed and can be opened any time with a screen slid into place for ventilation. Double-track combination units are also available and they cost less. Both kinds are sold almost everywhere, and can be bought with or without the cost of installation. You can save a few dollars (10% to 15% of the purchase price) by installing the windows yourself. But you'll need some tools: caulking gun, drill, and screw driver. In most cases it will be easier to have the supplier install your windows for you, although it will cost more.

The supplier will first measure all the windows where you want storm windows installed. It will take anywhere from several days to a few weeks to make up your order before the supplier returns to install them. Installation should take less than one day, depending on how many windows are involved. Two very important items should be checked to make sure the installation is properly done.

Make sure that both the window sashes and screen sash move smoothly and seal tightly when closed after installation. Poor installation can cause misalignment. Be sure there is a tightly caulked seal around the edge of the storm windows. Leaks can hurt the performance of storm windows a lot.

Frame finish: A mill finish (plain aluminum) will oxidize, reducing ease of operation and degrading appearance. An anodized or baked enamel finish is better.

Corner joints: Quality of construction affects the strength and performance of storm windows. Corners are a good place to check construction. They should be strong and air tight. Normally overlapped corner joints are better than mitered. If you can see through the joints, they will leak air.

Sash tracks and weatherstripping: Storm windows are supposed to reduce air leakage around windows. The depth of the metal grooves (sash tracks) at the sides of the window and the weatherstripping quality makes a big difference in how well storm windows can do this. Compare several types before deciding.

Hardware quality: The quality of locks and catches has a direct effect on durability and is a good indicator of overall construction quality.

Combination (windows and screen) storm doors are designed for installation over exterior doors. They are sold almost everywhere, with or without the cost of installation.

You can save a few dollars (10% to 15% of the purchase price) by installing doors yourself. But you'll need some tools: hammer, drill, screw driver, and weatherstripping. In most cases, it will be easier to have the supplier install your doors himself.

The supplier will first measure all the doors where you want storm doors installed. It will take anywhere from several days to a few weeks to make up your order before the supplier returns to install them. Installation should take less than one-half day.

Before the installer leaves, be sure the doors operate smoothly and close tightly. Check for cracks around the jamb and make sure the seal is as air-tight as possible. Also, remove and replace the exchangeable panels (window and screen) to make sure they fit properly and with a weather tight seal.

Selection:

Door finish: A mill finish (plain aluminum) will oxidize, reducing ease of operation and degrading appearance. An anodized or baked enamel finish is better.

Corner joints: Quality of construction affects the strength and effectiveness of storm doors. Corners are a good place to check construction. They should be strong and air tight. If you can see through the joints, they will leak air.

Weatherstripping: Storm doors are supposed to reduce air leakage around your doors. Weatherstripping quality makes a big difference in how well storm doors can do this. Compare several types before deciding.

Hardware quality: The quality of locks, hinges and catches should be evaluated since it can have a direct effect on durability and is a good indicator of overall construction quality.

Construction material: Storm doors of wood or steel can also be purchased within the same price range as the aluminum variety. They have the same quality differences and should be similarly evaluated. The choice between doors of similar quality but different material is primarily up to your own personal taste.

For more information on weatherstripping and caulking windows and doors refer to Extension bulletin E- 1104, Weatherstrip Your Doors and Windows.

Source: MSU Extension

Tip: Winterizing Vacation Homes

Water System

1. Shut off water systems by turning off the pump or shutting the valve if on city water. Drain the pressure tank.

2. Open all faucets.

3. Break a union close to the valve so water will drain out clear to the shut-off valve.

4. Drain pump and run a second or two to be sure all water is out of lines from the pump.

5. Flush toilets and dip all water out of the flush tank.

6. Be sure to drain flexible spray hoses in showers and sinks.

7. Drain water softeners so water will drain back from soft water pipes and controls. Brine tank will probably not freeze.

8. Drain water heaters.

Heating Systems

Electric heating systems require no maintenance other than shutting off the power to the heating units.

Hot air heating systems:

1. Turn off burner emergency switch which is often located at the top of the stairs.

2. Drain humidifier which is usually located on the furnace.

Forced hot water and steam systems: Drain all water in the system unless the liquid contains anti-freeze. It is wise to have this type of system drained by a plumber unless you are well-informed on the procedures necessary.

Winterize your summer home as you do your winter home. To help conserve energy when the home is not occupied, install a low-heat thermostat. By doing this your home could be maintained at abut 40 F. without a freeze-up, rather than at 55 F. which is the lowest temperature at which most thermostats can be set.

Washer and dishwasher Water left in hoses and internal components can cause damage when it freezes.

Shut off water supply to clothes washer. Remove and drain inlet hoses. Clear water valve by setting timer for fill cycle. Press warm water button and run machine a few seconds. Drain water from drain hose. Disconnect electrical supply.

For a dishwasher, remove inlet and outlet connection to the valve. Operate valve to remove any water. Remove drain hose from the pump and drain. Disconnect electrical supply.

It is also a good idea to clean the equipment and to protect the finish with a coat of appliance polish.

Stored items

1. Remove food, cosmetics, or medicine containers that contain liquid that would freeze from shelves.

2. Food in paper or plastic containers should be put in large metal containers to protect from mice or other rodents.

3. Remove or hide articles in the house that can be sold and converted to cash such as guns, radios, TV sets, tools or other valuables.

Sewage system

1. Force as much water as possible out of traps with a plunger.

2. Add antifreeze to each trap so you have at least a 50% solution of ethylene - glycol and water. Sometimes fuel oil can be substituted for antifreeze.

3. Check for traps in these locations: kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, bathtub and/or shower drains, toilets, washtubs, floor drains and maybe a sump pump.

Keep out animals

1. Cover chimneys tightly so that raccoons cannot enter the house, or birds fall down the chimney.

2. Stop up any places in the foundation or around the eaves where squirrels, chipmunks, mice or other small animals can enter.

This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus.

Source: MSU Extension

Tip: Prepare Your Home Against Winter & High Energy Costs

One of the best ways to prepare a home for the winter weather and high energy costs is to take time now, before winter arrives, to do some simple home maintenance.

The first and most important step in weatherizing a home is to stop air leaks. If air leaks aren't stopped first, other weatherizing measures like insulation will be a waste of effort and money. Stopping air leaks in a home can save as much as 40 percent on your home's heating and cooling costs.

<b>Source:</i> Iowa Energy Center

Tip: Weather Strip and Caulk

One of the quickest, best ways to save money is to weather-strip, caulk, and seal all of the seams and cracks in your home. Reducing air leaks can save you 10% of more on energy costs.

By Robin

Tip: Makeshift Vent Hole Covers

I love my landlord, but he is too thrifty. For just $80.00, he could have stopped up the vent holes in the units the right way. Instead, he had the maintenance man stuff them with wadded newspaper. Makeshift Vent Hole Covers - Newspaper stuffed into vents.

Not only does that not work, but the first rain ruined what it did do.

Since I can't drive my car right now, I had to fix it with what I had at the house. That is where my meat trays, millions of plastic bags and some discarded bricks came in handy.

Makeshift Vent Hole Covers - Plastic bags and styrofoam as a better weatherproofing.

I stuffed some bags into a single bag, then poked a hole in the front so I could compress the bag without it ballooning up. The air escaped and it molded in nicely. Then, I had to trim off the top 1/2 inch or so of each long way on the tray. Then, I simply placed it under the lip of the siding, snuggled it in, and put a brick on it to keep it in place.

Makeshift Vent Hole Covers - Plastic bags and styrofoam with a brick holding it in place.

Note: This is makeshift for a reason. It's a stop gap between what was done and what should be done. To save $10.00 per four plex, we are all paying more for heat.

Being a diabetic, my circulation is critical and when the floors are cold, it doesn't help. So, my disclaimer is that while this is all I can do, it's not how it should be done.

By Sandi from Salem, OR

Share Your Feedback: Once you try any of the above solutions, be sure to come back and give a "thumbs up" to the one that worked the best for you. Do you have a better solution? Click "Share a Solution" above!

Questions

Here are questions related to Weatherizing Your Home.

Question: Weatherizing a Door

I have a 1/2 French door (only one side opens) going out to my back porch. I would like to have ideas on how to eliminate air coming in around it. I have tried weather stripping, but it falls off or the dogs tear it away from the side.

By nonniebeth from Rome, GA


Most Recent Answer

By dakota09/24/2011

There is a metal (copper usually) weather stripping that is flared or 'v' shaped so the flared part is compressed to the existing width when the door is shut. It has no vinyl or foam and it nails to the opening which eliminates the tear off as you walk by. It is the best weather strip I have found.

Question: Weatherizing Windows with Plastic

When weatherizing windows is it best to put plastic on the inside or outside of the house?

TJ from Murphysboro, Illinois


Most Recent Answer

By Sandi11/01/2008

3M has wonderful kits you can buy that double back tape the plastic to the inside, then literally "shrink wrap" the plastic to the window with a hair dryer!

If you put them on the outsides, be sure and use thick strips of cardboard or thin molding. Wrap the plastic several times around the trim that you choose and staple or tack to the frame. This will keep the plastic from splitting in the wind.
Shower curtains from the dollar tree are a cheap source of plastic for smaller windows, as you can often double up on the thickness.

Also, Walmart has rolls of 60" wide plastic in varying thicknesses, that you roll out how many feet you want the they cut it for you. It's in the craft/fabric section.

Keep in mind that most of your heat loss will go through your windows. But insulation in the attic is even more important, since heat rises. Another thing that will keep your feet warmer and your pocketbook fatter is to block any crawl space vents with the styrofoam blocks. If you can't afford them, block them with wadded fiberglass (gloves!!) insulation, very small packing peanuts in double bags sealed really tight and then block them with a board and a cinderblock.
After living in AK for 5 winters, I learned how to stay warm!!!

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

I have a question about plastic on windows. Can you put in on both the inside and out?

John


RE: Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

They have some plastic for the outside and the inside. I am going to do the inside this year in my sun room where it is BRRR in the winter! Walmart has a package (near the weatherstripping stuff) for $10 that does 10 windows. (10/08/2008)

By yaffadreams

RE: Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

I put Clear plastic on my sliders that face the open field on the out side in the fall. As the weather gets colder I take the same clear plastic from a role to make plastic drapes, one rod pocket on top for the rod. To make the pocket I use double back tape, old washers for the weigh at the bottom. I also used clear plastic shower curtains on the smaller windows inside double back tape joins the curtains seams together on the sides. I hang them the same way you do for a shower using the shower rings. I used a curtain rod instead of a shower rod. The same rods that I use for the sheers in the summer months. I still get the light, I can see out and I block the cold wind from the field. I have used some over & over, other are reused for what ever I need a piece of plastic for. I buy my clear shower curtain at the Dollar store a few at a time in the warmer months. I even used them in my shower after using them on the windows. This has worked for me for years. (10/09/2008)

By EVY

RE: Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

Usually it is easier, and nicer to put it just on the inside, and you can get it nice and snug so that it doesn't obstruct your vision. However, I remember my dad putting it on the outside when I was a kid. He made frames, like temporary storm windows, with fiberglass pink insulation along the edges. We were not concerned about the look of the house in those days! I am sure you can put plastic on the outside, although you may have to use more tape than the double sided that comes with the kit. Perhaps there are outside kits available. (10/09/2008)

By louel53

RE: Putting Plastic on the Inside and Outside of Windows

The more plastic you put up the better. (10/10/2008)

By mulberry204