I don’t know about you, but I love it when the dog days of summer give way to frosty mornings, brisk fall air, the scent of wood smoke, and wildly colorful foliage. Every year I look forward to pulling out my sweaters and scarves and skipping down the street to the symphony of brittle leaves crunching underfoot.
Of course, the onset of autumn means we’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from the driving snow and freezing temperatures of winter. As a result, it’s once again time to think about winterizing your home in order to keep the cold outside, where it belongs.
Drafty windows and doors can not only make your home uncomfortably chilly, but this problem can also drive up utility bills as you try to regulate by bumping up the thermostat. What can you do to keep your home cozy and cut winter heating costs? You need to make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed.
This isn’t to say you need to get Passive House levels of insulation and ventilation, but you must address drafts, and there are several strategies to pursue. Here are just a few tips to help you make your home more airtight and energy efficient when you winterize drafty windows and doors.
Home Energy Audit
This is a good first step if you’re wondering just where your bought air is leaking out. Companies that offer home energy audits will send a trained technician to your home to perform a top to bottom assessment, including testing for drafts.
At the end you’ll receive a report detailing areas of energy waste in your home, in some cases with recommendations for how to go about improving energy efficiency. This way you can find out exactly where leaks are occurring in order to create a game plan. It might turn out that certain doors or windows are more airtight than you think, helping you to pinpoint which areas of your home require upgrades so you can properly allocate your budget.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to increase air tightness and insulation around drafty windows and doors is with weather stripping. This product can be found at your local hardware store or purchased online, and it comes in a variety of options for thickness, materials, and difficulty of installation – some strips have sticky backing for easy application (and removal later on), while others require nails or screws.
Weather stripping can be added around window and door frames to seal edges so that air can no longer leak around the seams. This is especially useful for wooden frames and casements that swell and shrink from one season to the next, leaving you with serious gaps and drafts in winter.
Storm Windows and Doors
An extra layer of insulation is a great way to increase the energy efficiency of your home in the winter, and adding storm windows is the way to get it. All you have to do is take off the screens and screen doors that allow you to enjoy fresh air in your home throughout the summer and replace them with more solid counterparts.
If you don’t already have seasonal storm windows, you can have them made to fit existing window frames, popping right into recesses that already exist for your summertime screens. If you have standard window sizes, you might even find pre-made products. As for doors, you’ll simply purchase a storm door that matches the size of your screen door, unless you have custom or oddly sized doorways.
When storm windows and doors fit snugly, they trap an extra layer of air between interior and exterior windows and doors, which helps to create additional barriers to the ingress of cold exterior air and the escape of heated interior air. This makes for a cozy interior and lowers utility bills, saving you in the long run.
The very best way to seal windows and doors and increase energy efficiency in every season is an upgrade. Replacement windows from Renewal by Andersen can not only eliminate drafts, but increase insulation, especially when you upgrade to double-paned glass. This does the same job as storm windows, but in a more permanent capacity, so you can enjoy a comfortable home interior and energy savings year-round.
As an added bonus, upgrading windows and doors add value to your property that you’ll see as a return on investment when you decide to sell your home. Upgrading can be a bit pricey, but you’ll recoup costs over time through savings and resale value, and you’ll enjoy a consistently comfortable interior in the meantime.