Don't overlook weatherstripping

As cooler fall weather descends, homeowners should start preparing their homes for winter by checking the weatherstripping. Weatherstripping helps keep the freezing wind out, making your home more energy efficient. Weatherstripping around doors also prevents dirt and vermin from entering the home.

Over time, weatherstripping tends to become less effective, so you should check it annually and replace it when it loses flexibility. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that property owners first detect air leaks (many leaks are easy to detect because you can feel the air entering your home) then assess ventilation needs for indoor air quality. All homes require certain amounts of fresh air. If you are worried about sealing your house too tightly, call an insulation expert who will use diagnostic tools in order to identify leaks and advise you on ventilation.

When working with a professional, it’s important to ask him to help you determine the type of weatherstripping you should use. A good product should be able to withstand friction, temperature changes and UV rays, and wear and tear. Also, some types of weatherstripping are visible while others remain hidden.

Most common weatherstripping:

  • Felt and open cell foam: This type of weatherstripping is considered easy to apply but generally ineffective against weather extremes and inefficient at blocking air flow.
  • Flexible vinyl: Slightly more expensive, this variety holds up relatively well and resists moisture.
  • Metal: Available in bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum, these weatherstrippings last for years and can be matched to existing door hardware. Door sweeps can be installed at the bottom of a door and can have rubber or bristles to reduce the amount of air that can flow under the door when closed.
  • Door-bottom edge: This stripping is available at most home improvement or building centers. But better quality stripping may be available in bulk quantities at reasonable prices through a commercial garage-door company.

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