6 Green Tips to Winterize your Doors and Windows
Making sure your doors and windows are well sealed will help you reduce your home heating expenses. For existing doors and windows, consider boosting their insulation levels. If replacing, make sure they are EnergyStar rated.
✔ Seal air leaks around doors and windows with caulking and weatherstripping – Sealing door and window air leaks can reduce heating and cooling energy costs and contribute to a healthier, more comfortable indoor environment. Caulking and weather stripping work together to stop air leaks, making your home airtight. Weather stripping seals around doors and windows, while caulking is used to seal the small cracks and holes that are inevitable where different types of materials come together—like where window frames join up with brick siding.
There are a variety of options in a caulk, so ask a professional at your local hardware store, and be sure to read the packaging carefully to determine if it is:
- Suitable for the materials you need to caulk – Some caulks are made specifically for selected materials, while others can be used on a wide range of different materials.
- Interior or exterior grade – Exterior grade caulking is designed to resist weathering, so if you need to seal any exterior surfaces, this is a very important distinction.
- Latex or oil/resin-based – Latex cleans up with water, while oil-based requires using a solvent for cleanup.
- Paintable or non-paintable – Caulk is available in many colors, including clear, but often if you want a perfect color match for the caulking to blend in with the surrounding surfaces, you will need to paint it.
Similar to caulking, you have a number of options for weather stripping. You need to choose a weather stripping that can stand up to its environment. Weather stripping is available in a variety of materials. Some of the more common are:
- Vinyl – Usually comes with an adhesive backing on half of the strip; simply peel off the backing and apply to the edge of the door or window.
- Adhesive backed foam or tape – Similar to adhesive backed vinyl, but wears out quickly and is not impervious.
- Felt – Either plain or reinforced with a flexible metal, is nailed or tacked into place.
- Interlocking metal – This type of weather stripping is considered the most effective, but is also the most complex to install. The idea is two pieces of V-shaped metal placed all around both a door and the doorframe. When the door closes, the strips interlock to effectively block any air movement.
✔ If replacing a door, choose one that is EnergyStar rated – Installing EnergyStar qualified doors can reduce your energy bills and carbon footprints by about 7-15% compared to non-qualified products. Some of the criteria EnergyStar considers when certifying doors include, multiple glass panes, improved core material, and tighter fit and improved weather stripping.
✔ Consider installing storm windows – Installing either exterior or interior storm windows can cut heat loss through your windows by 25 to 50 percent.
✔ Add window film to existing windows – Installing a window film or adhesive coating can boost the efficiency of your current windows by reflecting sunlight and reducing its transmission into your home or office as heat.
✔ If you are replacing your windows, consider one that is EnergyStar rated – Installing EnergyStar qualified windows can reduce your energy bills and carbon footprints by about 7-15% compared to non-qualified products.
✔ Buy a window insulator kit – Energy is lost through windows in two important ways. Either heat is conducting directly through the window or cold or warm air passes through cracks and gaps where window components seal and meet the house. A window insulator kit will help with both of these problems. There are special kits for both the inside and outside of windows. Be sure to look for an EnergyStar certified kit when shopping.