Besides being rather annoying, door drafts force your heating system to work harder to keep your home at a consistently comfortable temperature, resulting in higher energy bills. Properly weatherstripping your doors can go a long way in solving this problem.
According to Energy Star, the installation of weatherstripping can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. The best part is that virtually anyone can install weatherstripping; this is definitely not a sophisticated DIY. To ensure you get the greatest value from its insulating properties, weatherstripping needs to be installed correctly.
First you’ll need to clean the door and the jamb; be sure to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. If any dirt is still hanging around after scrubbing them with soapy water, you may need to use a fine grit sandpaper to take the finish it off. Once you’ve got the doorway clean, you can do some measuring. You need to know how wide the gap between the door and jamb is, and also how wide the jamb is. This information will tell you how thick the weatherstripping you purchase should be, and also how wide it should be. Plan on buying enough weatherstripping to run across the width and height of the door, adding 10% to your total measurement.
The second thing to keep in mind the weatherstripping comes in a variety of materials. Each one comes with its own pros and cons. For instant, felt weatherstripping is inexpensive and very easy to cut and install, but because it’s not very durable. Marginally more expensive is easy-to-install foam weatherstripping. While foam wears better than felt, neither boasts the durability and reliability of rubber weatherstripping, which is also the most expensive option. Rubber insulates well, but it can be somewhat challenging to install. Unlike the other options, rubber weatherstripping sometimes needs to be nailed into place.
Once you’ve chosen your weatherstripping, you’ll need to cut three pieces—one for the top, and two for the sides. If the product has an adhesive back, peel it away and press it into place around the perimeter of the door jamb, not on the door itself. Bear in mind that even if your weatherstripping has adhesive, you may wish to reinforce the installation with heavy-duty staples or small tacking nails. This will help keep the weatherstripping in place over time.
In order to complete the job, you may need to install a sweep along the bottom of the door. The most common type of door sweep is simply a metal band from which a strip of rubber bulges. When the door opens, the rubber flexes so as not to be a hindrance, and when the door closes, the rubber provides a strong air seal.
Door sweeps come in standard sizes, but if you can’t find one that matches your door, you can use a hacksaw to cut the sweep down to size. Install the sweep to the door using the screws provided. Because these screws tend to be small and not self-tapping, you may find it’s best to drill holes for the screws before securing the sweep. Be sure to position the sweep so that it seals tightly against the threshold.
From start to finish, this entire process should take no longer than an hour. That’s a small price to pay for the comfort of helping to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the winter, without spending a fortune. Though it’s a simple project, weatherstripping really is one of the most effective ways to stop any drafts and the discomfort they cause.