Getting the most heat for your money is more important than ever. I’ve discussed ways to increase furnace efficiency, but what about the heat losses in your home. Windows and doors are the most common areas of concern, but there are other places where heat may escape. Let’s see what steps we can take to keep warm air in and cold air out this winter.
The seals around windows and doors wear out over the years. Older, single pane, windows may not have had any weather-tight seal when they were installed. In either case, a wide range of aftermarket weatherstripping products are now available. Some products may use tape to adhere to the window or door casing. Be careful when using any product which adheres to the surface. Often, a layer of paint will come off when removing the tape in the spring. Sometimes, too, the tape may leave a sticky reside on the surface. This can be removed with lighter fluid, or naphtha. Just use a little at a time on a clean white cloth. And make sure to test the surface in an indiscrete area to see if the naphtha blemishes or dulls it. Often, with a little research, you can find replacement parts, including seals, for your windows or doors. If you can’t find it at your local hardware store, online stores such as diydoorstore.com may have a close match to the original seal.
Modern building practices pay much more attention to sealing up air leaks before the siding goes on. In older homes there is often a poorly insulated area between the window and door frame and the casing. Even if there is a tight seal between the window and frame. There can be large heat loss between the window frame and the house. On a cold, windy day, check for a cold breeze blowing out from between your window casing and the wall. If you can feel a breeze, apply a bead of caulk where the casing meets the wall, or at any other place where air is blowing through the casing.
The weather seal at the bottom of the entry door, including the door sweep, experiences daily wear and tear. They’ll often start to split and/or gap, leaving a great place for heat to escape. Not to mention, crawly things to get in (okay, technically, I did mention it). There’s a wide range of these to choose from at the store. I recommend trying to find one that most closely matches your existing sweep in order to minimize the trim work required to get a snug fit.
The last recommendation for this post, is also the least expensive. Close the fireplace damper when it’s not in use. An open fireplace damper lets harmful combustion gases and smoke escape up the flue. It should always be open when there is any heat coming from the fireplace, no matter how small an amount. Likewise, if the fireplace is not in use, an open damper is like having an giant hole in your wall for heated air to rush out and cold air to rush in. If you do close your damper, it’s a great practice to place something in front of the fireplace to remind you that it’s closed, and prevent you from building a fire without opening it.
These are just a few steps to reduce your homes heat loss and increase its overall efficiency. We’ll discuss some other, more challenging, steps in my next post. Until then, look for more tip for home maintenance at www.StepsForToday.com.
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And remember to take the next step…
PS: I’d love to hear any cost-saving or home maintenance tips you may have as well.