It’s a question as old as the first home built in a cold climate: how do I keep my home warm during the winter? Although there are many different ways you can achieve this cozy, draft-free home in cold weather, one option is surprisingly simple and affordable: seal your doors to winterize.
Over time, small cracks and holes will inevitably appear in the exterior doors and their seals around your home. Although you can’t avoid them, it is important to quickly identify and deal with them. Many people first notice cracks and holes in their doors’ seals due to the drafts they let into the home. Another warning sign that your door may need to be winterized or sealed is if you see your utility bills creep up gradually. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can lose up to 30% of your home’s energy through drafty doors and windows.
Thankfully, it’s not a major home project to seal your doors for winter, and by taking a few easy steps, you can protect your home from the cold and avoid unnecessary spending on your energy bill.
How to seal doors for winter:
- Identify where the door is leaking in air. It’s not necessary to seal every single door and window in your home—taking a bit of time at the beginning to discover the root cause of the issue will save you a lot of time in the long run.
- Check your door’s alignment. Occasionally, the problem will not actually be in your door’s seal, but in badly placed hinges, loose hardware, or—if you have wood doors—in the warping that can happen. Even if your hinges and hardware seem okay, it’s always a good idea to take time to tighten everything up while you’re checking.
- Remove old weather stripping around your doors. (The easiest way to do this is with rubbing alcohol.) It’s usually ineffective to try to repair old seals, and too much weatherstripping can actually be counterproductive as it can prevent doors from closing properly.
- Determine the best weatherstripping for your door type and location’s climate. You may want to consider consulting an expert if you’re unsure which type to buy.
- Install the seal around your door. You should be able to do this without removing the door from its frame, and you shouldn’t need any special tools. It’s very simple! Just be sure your door is completely dry before you begin, that the fit is even with the door, and that you press the weatherstrip in tightly.
- Don’t forget the bottom of your door! It is typically not effective to place weatherstipping or seals around the bottom of your door; most homeowners opt for a door sweep or door shoe, which attaches to the bottom of your door or door frame and helps seal the door’s bottom. If you already have a door sweep, give it a check up too: does it seem bent or broken anywhere? Even door sweeps need to be replaced occasionally. (In a pinch for time? A rolled up towel will do wonders!)
Two doors that are often overlooked to a homeowner’s detriment are the garage doors—the door leading from the garage into the house, and the garage door itself. The door leading from your garage into the house may leak much of your home’s heat into the garage. A door snake—a rolled cloth placed against the bottom of the door—can dramatically decrease this loss.
As for the garage door, walk through each of the steps above to winterize it. Pay especially close attention to your garage doors’s weatherstripping and threshold seal. Additionally, you can purchase v-shaped weather stipping for your garage door’s panels, to seal the door between the panels while still allowing it to bend when you open and close your door. Another idea many homeowners find useful is that of adding insulation to the inside of their garage door. These tips allow you to keep as much of your home’s energy to yourself as possible.
Often, it can be difficult to spot newly formed cracks and holes in your doors’ seals. However, the quicker you spot them, the easier they are to treat, and the better insulated your home is. Many people find it helpful to hire an expert to evaluate their doors for any potential leakages.
If you aren’t sure who to talk to, we have several experts on hand who would love to help you. To get started, visit us online or give us a call today.