The Benefits of Weather Stripping
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Many older homes, and even some newer ones, have numerous little cracks, holes and spaces through which warm air escapes during the winter, and unwanted hot air enters during the summer. All these little drafts of air end up costing you big money in the end. You set your thermostat higher in the winter and lower in the summer in order to compensate, leading to higher utility bills year-round. Fortunately there is a solution. Adding weather stripping to your windows and doors can work wonders when it comes to the energy efficiency of your home.
How Important Is Weather Stripping?
The answer to this question is easy: very important. In homes that have not been weatherized, air leaks can account for up to 30 to 40% of the home's overall heat and cooling loss. That's a lot of wasted energy and unnecessary fuel costs, especially in today's energy conscious world. And to make matters worse, all those drafts and leaks don't just let air in and out. They can also damage the home's insulation. Warm, moist air leaving the house during the winter months can dampen your insulation, reducing its effectiveness, and amplifying the heating (and cooling) loss you're already experiencing.
What is Weather Stripping?
Weather stripping is a narrow piece of metal, vinyl, rubber, felt or foam that seals the contact area between the fixed and movable sections of a window or door. In doing so, weatherstripping prevents air infiltration around windows and doors through the elimination of gaps in your windows and doors when they are closed. If your home is prone to leaks and drafts, you should apply it to all exterior doors and windows, including doors that lead to attics and garages.
Weather Strip Types
There a number of options for you to choose from if you're installing weather stripping in your home. While any amount, or kind, of weatherstripping is better than none, the old adage, "you get what you pay for" generally holds true here as well. That being the case, it's probably worth the extra cost to invest in professional weather stripping, since this is one of those home improvement products that quickly pays for itself over time. Here are some of the most common types of weather-stripping:
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Perform an Energy Audit
While installing weather stripping is always a good idea, it may not fix all of your home's energy efficiency issues. If that's the case, you might consider hiring a professional home energy auditor to come evaluate your home for potential areas of energy loss. Doing so is the only sure way to address your home's overall energy efficiency, and in turn, it is the only guaranteed way to ensure big energy savings when the bills come due.