One home improvement question I'm often asked has to do with sealing windows and doors before winter strikes. Cold weather can wreak havoc on your home's exterior, cause heating bills to soar, and even create the threat of unhealthy mold and mildew growth. No matter what part of the country you live in, it's a good idea to get prepared for winter by sealing your windows and doors against the cold.
One of the most common ways window companies get more window sales is by talking homeowners into a complete window replacement because their old ones are inefficient. While your old windows aren't going to be as energy efficient as newly built windows, decades may pass before you recoup the initial return on your investment. Homeowners can make their old windows more energy efficient and do it cheaply by hiring a professional window treatment specialist to install interior shutters.
Although interior shutters help keep a good deal of cold air from entering through the dated windows, it doesn't stop air leaks from bypassing the window altogether. Many homeowners use caulking to seal around the exterior of the window frame. This can be a serious mistake if you don't do the job properly. Vinyl siding and caulking do not mix! Only caulk around a window frame if it abuts wood, brick, concrete siding, or stucco.
Caulking may seem easy enough, but it can easily go wrong by using the wrong caulk. Some silicone caulk can't be painted and is a mess to work with. Be sure you use a paintable latex caulk if you're sealing around your home's windows.
If you're not planning on opening your windows anytime soon, plastic shrink wrap can help keep your windows sealed nice and tight all winter long. Be sure to call a contractor with window plastic shrink wrap experience to be sure that windows don't become permanently damaged once you're ready to remove the shrink wrap and open the windows.
Sealing doors is a fairly basic and straightforward task. Weather stripping seals the gaps around the door, and if these areas are damaged, cold air can infiltrate your space. Checking your weather stripping for air leaks is easy. Simply close the door and windows, turn of the heater, and turn on your kitchen or bathroom ventilation fan. Light an incense stick and waft the smoke near the door. If the smoke billows, you've got an air leak. Call a handyman to replace the weather stripping and threshold as needed.
By installing a storm door, you can easily increase your older door's energy efficiency significantly. Don't forget to add the door sweeps to the interior and exterior doors to ensure air leaks are kept at bay and your home's doors are safely sealed against the cold weather of winter.