One of the best, simplest, and lowest costing ways to save energy is by adding weatherstripping. Most homeowners can do it themselves, or have a handy neighbor or family member who can add it for them. With a few dollars worth of materials, a couple of basic tools (a knife or scissors, a hammer and measuring tape) and a little bit of time, you can make a big difference in your own comfort and save a lot of money on energy. It just takes a little effort.
The best place to look for wasted energy is the openings in your home, such as doors, windows, pipes, and electrical/cable outlets. There are often air leaks around them that let cold air in or warm air out. Get started by running your hand around each opening to see if you feel any cold air. If you don’t feel any, move on to the next opening. If you do feel cold air, try to figure out why the air is coming in. Sometimes you can see light through the crack with your eyes, but other times the gaps will be too small to see. When you do find gaps, you need to fill the gap with a proper insulating material to stop the cold air invasion. Here are some common types of material along with typical uses for them:
- Adhesive foam strips can be used where two surfaces come together. Use this where the foam will be compressed, such as at the top or bottom of a sliding window, or where a door closes.
- V-shaped vinyl strips can be stuck onto window or door frames. Stick one side of the V (with the opening pointing outside) to the top and sides of wood door/window frame. When you close the door or window, the other side of the strip will fold in against the stuck side so that air can’t pass through the V-shape. The V will open and close as the window or door is opened or closed.
- Rolls of felt can but cut to length, then stapled or brad-nailed. These provide a good seal where two hard surfaces, such as wood and metal, come together unevenly.
- A string of foam can be pressed into cracks, but these work best when the door or window does not need to be opened. They will fall out and have to be redone unless they are attached somehow.
- A can of expanding foam can be used to seal holes around pipes or electrical wiring where it enters the home.
- If cold air comes in the bottom of a door, attach a sweep to the bottom of the door to block the draft. These cost in the range of $5-$20 depending on material used.
For even bigger savings, professionals can locate energy-depleting leaks that may be hidden in your home’s ductwork. You can contact us via our request form, or you can call us at 317-297-1622.
Additional information can be found at this web page, created by the US Dept of Energy.