5 Ways to Weatherproof Your Home
Heat is a stubborn thing. In the winter you want him to stay in your house and keep you snugly warm but all he wants to do is find a crack in a seal and escape. In the summer, when you want Heat to stay outside while you enjoy your cool air conditioning, all he wants to do is sneak in and ruin everything. There are a few things you can do, however, to make Heat behave the way you want him to.
1. Seal windows and doors.
Close your windows and doors and run your hand along the perimeter. Do you feel a draft? Over time, the seals can become worn and cracked and stop doing their job. Replacing the weatherstripping on existing doors and windows is fairly simple and it comes in different styles such as a wrapped foam, metal or a vinyl or silicone bulb to help you cover any gaps. Any airflow at the bottom of the door can be mitigated with a door sweep that can be adjusted to close any gap there.
2. Use heavier curtains.
Heavy, insulated curtains are great in the winter for keeping cold air from coming in through your windows, but they have the same effect in the summer keeping that hot air out. You may not want to keep your house dark all summer or winter, but even keeping them closed only at night will make a big difference.
3. Use draft dodgers. Draft dodgers are those snake-like cloth tubes that go in front of doors. Time to get your crafting hat on! You can easily make them yourself with some scrap cloth and sand or kitty litter for filling and if you’re feeling extra crafty, you can add some googly eyes and stripes and have fun with it! If you’re not creatively inclined, a rolled up towel will have a similar effect. Lighter, double-sided draft dodgers can be purchased at hardware or department stores and although they’re not as heavy as the sand-filled ones, they move with the door when it is opened or closed.
4. Install storm doors or windows.
Installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45%. By swapping out your window screens in the fall to storm windows, you not only cut down on drafts, but screens can actually block out 30-40% of the sun’s rays and by removing them you can take advantage of some solar heat gain.
5. Caulk your windows.
As homes age, so do the window seals and even a small crack or gap can allow heat to flow through. Caulking them is an inexpensive way to cut energy costs and should be done every 5 years or so to ensure a tight, consistent seal.
While making sure your home is airtight and insulated so Heat does what you want him to do is important, another thing what will save you a lot of money during the winter and summer months is to properly maintain your heating and air conditioning units. Overtaxed units not only use more energy but they also will need to be replaced much sooner than neglected ones. A yearly cleaning is essential to energy efficiency and the filters should be changed monthly during the summer and winter months when they are primarily in use. Dirty filters restrict airflow and make your furnace and air conditioning units work much harder.