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Improve Home Energy Efficiency: Weatherstripping for Beginners

Weatherstripping is a cost-effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. While other energy improvements call for careful budgeting, a lot of planning and possibly long-term financing, weatherstripping a whole house can be done in a few hours for very little money.

Weatherstripping is used in the narrow cracks around windows and doors. It can be felt, vinyl, v-shaped metal, plastic sweeps (for a door) or adhesive-backed foam. It seals out air leaks, helps to maintain proper humidity and prevents drafts. Your home probably has weatherstripping, but it may have deteriorated over the years. In addition, there may be areas that have never been weatherstripped.

One Step at a Time

If weatherstripping is new to you, don’t worry. You can do this! Break the job into a few simple steps:

  • Inspecting.
  • Purchasing.
  • Applying.

Spy

Inspect every window and door opening of your Alexandria-area home. Examine the spongy material that compresses when a window is closed and expands when it is opened. If the material is torn or peeling away, replace it. Measure each side of every site needing weatherstripping. This includes windows, doors and the attic entryway. Record the measurements and total them in categories: windows, doors, other.

Buy

When you are ready to buy material, add 10 percent or so for waste and errors. You’ll most likely have to buy more than one type of weatherstripping, because doors need more durable materials than windows. Door bottoms need sturdy sweeps; windows can get by with foam. Take a moment to compare options in the hardware store.

Apply

It’s best to apply weatherstripping when your home and the outdoor temperature are almost the same. Clean the surface thoroughly. Cut single long pieces for each side of an opening (no piecework). Work carefully without rushing. Start at the back of your home, and work your way around. Your skills will improve as you go. You do not have to get the whole job done at once; every window sealed against air leaks is one more step to better home energy efficiency.

For more ways to improve your Fairfax area home’s energy efficiency, contact HVAC Unlimited Heating & Air Conditioning.

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