The average Canadian home wastes up to 30% of the energy used for heating and cooling as a result of cracks and gaps in roofs and walls, weather stripping your home will help you save on energy costs and at the same time help the planet too.
The energy you use in your home contributes to your personal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which can be greatly reduced by taking simple steps to make your home more efficient. In 2013, Canadians spent $28.5 billion on household energy needs. Total household energy use accounted for 17 percent of all energy used, and total household GHG emissions accounted for 14 percent of all secondary energy use‑related GHGs emitted in Canada.
A well-insulated home helps to reduce unwanted movement of heat into and out of your home. Heat can escape through many areas like an uninsulated attic, a mail slot, walls, floors, and even outlets.
I recently chatted with the folks at Save On Energy to ask them some key questions related to how to make our home more energy efficient by sealing up air leaks.
What is weather stripping?
Weather-stripping is a way to ensure your windows and doors are as tightly sealed as possible so that the air in your house is unable to escape, and so that outdoor drafts are unable to enter.
What should I do before I begin to weather strip my home?
Before beginning to apply weather stripping, it’s important to identify the doors and windows around your home that may be leaking air. A homeowner can identify drafty windows and doors by placing their hand close to the frame and feeling for cool air. There is a wide variety of weather stripping materials available on the market. From foam and felt, to metals and vinyl, most people are familiar with the weather stripping that resembled thick adhesive tape. Before purchasing, homeowners should research what weather stripping is best to meet their needs.
How does it save money on heating costs?
Weather stripping is an easy way to increase the insulation of a home. By sealing cracks and spaces around windows and doors to eliminate drafts, furnaces do not need to work as hard to keep certain rooms or spaces in a home warm. This reduces the amount of time the heating system in your home runs, which in turn can help reduce heating costs. An added benefit of weather stripping is that your home will also feel more comfortable. It’s important to note that in the summer, weather stripping helps keep your home cool and can reduce cooling costs as well.
What are the top three most important areas in the home to consider?
It’s important to check all areas of the home, you never know what windows and doors might be letting in drafts. Begin with doors that lead outside, and then move to large windows, or windows you know are older. Again, the best way to check for drafts is to place your hand around the window or door frame and feel for cool air.
Other areas in the home you can check:
Mail slots, dryer vents, the chimney, external water faucets, corners, and spots where phones and cable lines enter the house.
Additional weather stripping tips:
- Do a walk-around check of all door weather stripping – looking for worn, ripped, or missing weather stripping. Repair/replace as required.
- Check all window weather stripping – a good time to do this, visiting all windows, is when you remove the bug screens for winter.
- Check that all windows when closed are actually latched to ensure a good air seal. The window may appear to be closed but it’s surprising how much air can leak in a window when it’s not completely latched shut.
- Consider a home energy audit, complete with a blower door evaluation of air leakage – this can lead to very cost-effective. You can also conduct a DIY home energy audit which will give you so much information on where to start.
Proper weather stripping can reduce your energy bills between 5-10%, that’s a little over $300 a year in savings.
Take a look at this guide from Save On Energy, it's packed with information on the tools you need to weatherstrip your home. 😀
Types of weather stripping
There are 5 types of weather stripping that you can use in your home.
- A Tension Seal or V Strip goes on the sides of a sliding window and/or on top and the sides of a door. This is a piece of hard plastic that is used to bridge gaps.
- Foam tape goes in the top and bottom of window sashes and inside door frames. This is best used for cracks that might be a weird size where you need something that caries in thickness and width. You simply cut it and stick it where you have cracks.
- Felt goes around your doors and window sash. It compresses against the door. You can cut it and attach it with a nail. It's cheap and does not last more than two years. You will have to replace it.
- Door Sweeps go along the bottom of the inside of a door. They are plastic pieces of either plastic, stainless steel, or aluminum. They also have a stop of vinyl or sponge. You will need to have it cut to your door length and attached with screws.
- Foam tape is also great for cracks that are weird sizes. It goes at the bottom of windows and inside door frames. It's made from cell foam or rubber with a sticky back. You simply cut it and stick it where needed.
This video shows you how to properly install weather stripping, it's easier than you think.
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