Old man winter has arrived. You didn't invite him into your home, but he's doing his best to pull off a home invasion. In this brief article, we discuss sealing some of the most common areas where the cold is slipping in and your heating dollars are slipping away.
1. STRIKER PLATE ADJUSTMENT
Lets start with the most obvious, the biggest opening in the living area of your home.....of course i'm speaking of the exterior entry doors (unless you've recently had a parking accident, then you might have bigger concerns). The first step is to take a look at the actual weatherstrip that is already on your door and see if their are any tears or breaks, then shut the door and give a visual inspection to see if any light is visible from any areas around your door. Its quite certain, that if you can see light, you are losing energy. If at all possible, if your weatherstrip is just torn, try to replace it with an exact replica that the factory installed. After close inspection, if your weatherstrip appears to be intact, and if you see light, try gently pushing on the door to see if the light disappears. If the light does disappear, or if it diminishes, the answer may be a simple adjustment on your doors striker plate. If you are a little handy with tools, this can be a very quick solution. Some striker plates have a small notch in the interior tongue that is just big enough to fit a small flat blade screwdriver into. If your lucky enough to have this type of striker plate, and if you only have a slight amount of light showing from the previous step, then insert a flat blade screw driver and gently pry the tongue until it moves. With each small movement, you must check to see if you are making progress and if other locks on the door still remain operational. Some striker plates have the tongue, but have no notch to fit a screwdriver into. You may still get the same results if you can figure a way to get behind the tongue to bend it out. Another option, (and more time consuming) would be to remove the striker plate and re position it entirely. Remember, this option is only successful if you do not have a great deal of light coming around your door. If you see a great amount of light around your door and your weatherstrip is intact, then we have another issue entirely.
Close the door from the outside (don't lock yourself out) and with the striker engaged, check to see if there is a great amount of play in the movement of the door to the weatherstrip. Adjust you striker to limit movement of your door as much as possible by either adjusting it as previously stated, or removing it and relocating it altogether. Carefully observe how the weatherstrip meets the door and where the gap (or gaps) meet the door surface. You now have several options.
One of the best options (if you have a wood jamb and original replacement weatherstrip is not available) is jamb up weatherstrip. Jamb up weatherstrip is basically an aluminum strip with rubber weatherstrip already attached. A positive seal is obtained by progressively nailing the weather strip to the exterior portion of the jamb (with the door closed) while making sure the rubber portion of the strip is contacting the door surface. While installing, try to apply slight pressure to the rubber to door seal, without actually crushing it.
Another option is the many styles and thicknesses of peel and stick weatherstrip. The name says it all, but if you choose this route, try to purchase the best quality available. Before installing, clean the surface that you plan to apply it to with any cleaner that does not leave a residue and allow it to completely dry. Rubbing alchohol is an excellent choice.
Check your doors threshold to see if there is any light, if so, a simple door sweep that is available in different sizes could solve your problem. Remember if at all possible, replace your weatherstrip with duplicate factory replacements....mainly because, its just hard to beat the manufacturer.
3. WINDOWS AND OTHER OPENINGS
Now that I've completely bored you to tears, lets talk windows. This wont take quite as long because the options are not that many. If you own double insulated glass windows, then you probably do not need to do much except maybe check the existing weatherstrip. If your windows are the old wood single pane type, storm windows are a good investment, along with replacing any broken , cracked glass panes or missing glazing. If you just want to seal the window, then again try to use the self stick compressible insulation. Follow the same cleaning instructions as in door applications, and apply strip to window sills where sash meets. Heavy draperies are another great option to help cut down on the heat transference of windows. Remember, that in winter, any window unit air conditioners that can not be removed, should be covered with an appropriate sized cover made for such an application, or with a heavy gauge lawn and leaf bag. Foundation vents should also be covered. Measure your foundation vent openings and purchase appropriate sized covers.
Do you have any ideas you would like to share? Feel free to join the conversation by posting your comments and suggestions.