October is the perfect month to begin preparing your home for the colder months ahead. Before the holiday season takes over our lives, learn how to seal air leaks and take care of any energy suckers around your doors and windows. The time and money you spend on sealing your air leaks can be easily recouped in one heating season or less.
For custom energy efficiency solutions, talk to your qualified HVAC professional to conduct a home energy audit, which identifies cost-effective ways to save energy and money.
Air Sealing Windows & Doors
To find air leaks around your doors and windows, go around your home looking for damaged caulk and weatherstripping. Even when properly applied, caulk and weatherstripping only lasts a couple of years. Use an incense stick or a thin piece of toilet paper to help you identify leaks around your window and door frames.
Air Leak Test:
Close all of the windows and doors in your home and turn off your HVAC system before conducting an air leak test. Holding up your incense stick or toilet paper to window and door frames, look for erratic movements that could indicate an air leak. Drafts will push or pull the smoke/paper in that direction, making it easy to know where the air leak is located. It’s best to conduct this test on a windy day. You can also try wetting your hand and holding it up to areas where you suspect a leak to help identify where your air leaks are.
How to Caulk Around Doors & Windows:
Caulk and weatherstrip the air leaks you find with weatherproof caulk and/or new weatherstripping. For cracks and gaps less than 1/4 inch, use weatherproof caulk; for gaps larger than 1/4 inch, use expandable foam spray.
For windows, take a razor blade and cut the damaged weatherproofing off. Then, attach your new weatherstripping, ensuring a tight fit.
For doors, it gets a little more complicated. You have to cut your metal and vinyl weatherstripping to size and then nail them to the frame. Watch this video to learn how weatherstrip your doors:
Caulking (for doors and windows):
Materials: caulk (approximately 1/2 cartidge per door/window), caulk gun, putty knife/razor, popsicle stick/plastic spoon, and a rag
- Remove all the old caulk with a razor or putty knife.
- Clean the area of loose caulk and paint and wait for the surface to dry.
- Get your caulk gun and caulk and get ready to work. With your razor, cut the tip off of the caulk cartridge at a 45 degree angle. Use a nail or wire hanger to puncture the seal (the nail can also be used as a stopper for your caulk when you are finished).
- Use your caulk gun to gently apply pressure on the trigger to the crack you wish to seal. Try practicing your caulking skills first if you have never done it before. You want to have a measured, even pace.
- Once you have caulked around all four sides of your window or door, use your plastic spoon or ice cream stick to smooth it out (you can also use your wet finger for this).
For visual instructions on how to seal air leaks around your home, watch this video:
It’s not just your windows and doors that need to be checked and sealed. Use the same caulking techniques to seal air leaks and gaps around where utilities enter your home, chimneys, dryer vents, pipes, wiring, areas around your foundation, and where decks and porches attach to the house.
Sealing air leaks around windows and doors is one of the best and easiest ways to save on your heating and cooling costs. If your doors and windows are beyond repair, consider replacing them with new, energy-efficient models.
If you have any questions about how to seal air leaks around your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 405-794-8900. We want you to be comfortable and save on your heating and cooling bills!
An important component of saving money on your utility bills is scheduling annual maintenance with your HVAC professional. To schedule your fall furnace tune-up, we’d love to assist you. You can schedule service online or give us a call: 405-794-8900.
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We look forward to serving you!