Weatherizing Your Doors
Weatherproofing your doorway is the first step towards realizing improved energy efficiency year on year. The process starts with small steps like applying caulking on the stationary parts of the door and mounting weatherstripping on the mobile parts. Besides sealing off air leaks and providing insulation from the cold weather, carrying out these steps are guaranteed to yield a lot of saved energy.
In addition to improving on the overall comfort of the home and allowing families to have a quality night’s sleep, weatherization has been proven to realize up to 20% to 30% savings on utility bills.
Also, the health risks are lowered tremendously with effective weatherization practices. With the improved air quality in the household, asthmatic symptoms are lowered by up to 11.8%. Lastly, weatherization directly impacts the environment in a positive way by continually reducing our dependencies on fossil fuels for energy.
How to Check For Air Leaks around a Door
- To check for air leaks you can try a building pressurization test, which uses smoke to to identify air leakage points. First light an incense stick in a closed room. Then observe the smoke to see how the smoke behaves and the direction it takes. Next follow the smoke to identify exactly where it is been drawn out from and this will be your leak. The smoke may also be blown into the room from a certain point.
Other tests to determine areas worth fixing in your entry door includes:
- Shining a torch at night over any potential gaps while your partner observes the house from outside. If visible rays of light are spotted in the first test then that is usually an indicator that there are large cracks on the given area.
- Another test is closing the door on a dollar bill. On this second test, you will need some weatherization if you successfully pull out the note without it dragging.
Fixing Air Leaks and Drafts around Doors
To effectively reduce or eliminate draft use a combination of weatherization and practical solutions. These include:
- tightening the door hinges,
- installing weather stripping,
- installing a door sweep and applying caulking.
While removing the old weather stripping is fairly easy, getting a matching replacement can be a bit daunting. In fact weatherstripping for doors comes in a wide range of picks such as tension seals, felt, rubber, reinforced foam, vinyl, and tape among many others. Therefore, you can take a sample of the old stripping to the hardware store to ease the searching process.
Installing weather stripping and applying caulk
The stripping will be required for the head and side jambs therefore your measurements must clearly reflect that. First, prep the surface by cleaning off any molding with soap and water then leave to dry. Then, cut the stripping to size and install it into the inside of the top molding using adhesive or nails to attach it.
For maximum prevention of drafts and air leaks you still need to apply caulking to your doors as well as install or repair the threshold and the door sweep. You should apply the caulk to the exterior edges of the door casing. Removable rope caulk is best tailored for side and basement doors.
Doors with windows
Some doors that have windows in them. For these, apply clear caulk or glazing on the edges of the windowpanes. However, if the gaps are too large you can always use a foam sealant.
To counter under-door drafts, a vinyl or rubber door sweep plus a threshold is more than enough. In some cases however, you may add an extra stripping at the bottom of the door for extra protection depending on the type of weatherstripping installed.
Installing the door sweep
To install the door sweep, close the door and screw it in place ensuring its bottom touches the floor. Then adjust the sweep accordingly to ensure the door opens and closes easily. Should you choose to replace the threshold, go for one with pliable sealing gaskets for best performance.
A door snake, usually made of moisture-absorbing fabric, can be a good alternative to a door sweep but is not as long-lasting. Additionally, window film and hanging insulated curtains can also be good complimentary sources of insulation especially if you don’t have storm windows.
The gaps around the door can allow air and moisture to get into the house and will mostly likely lead to an upsurge in heating costs. Also, little critters can get into your home just as easy. Therefore, there’s a great need to weatherize your doors and other points of entry using solutions such as weatherstripping and caulking among others.
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