Today we have another installment in my series of articles that are part of the BooneyLiving Energy Conservation Challenge.
This article is going to focus on how you can start weather stripping doors to keep that expensive heat inside during the cold winter months and that expensive air conditioned air inside during the hot summer months.
You wouldn’t believe how much most exterior doors leak! As my husband and I were recently testing our doors to find the leaks in the home that we are using for our case study on making a home energy efficient, we were shocked with how many big leaks we were able to find. Absolutely shocked!
You Have To Understand The Problem Before You Can Fix It Properly
The easiest way to explain where most doors leak is to show you so I’ve created the two diagrams that are displayed below to do just that.
Door Weatherstripping Types That Are Currently Available
You can see from the images above that air leaks from two places. It leaks from the gap between the door and the jamb stop as well as the gap between the bottom of the door and the door sill. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive and easy to install door weather stripping products that will seal these leaks really well.
- Metal Weatherstripping Kits – This is a product that you simply cut to length and screw to the door jamb.
- Rubber Door Gaskets – This is a product to replace old gaskets that might be torn or missing.
- Double Sided Foam Tape – This product just sticks in place.
- Door Bottom Weatherstrip – This is a product that attaches to the bottom of the door.
Before you head on down to the hardware store to stock up on new door seal weatherstripping take a close look at what is currently in place on your doors. It may be that you don’t need to buy anything at all. You may just need to do some adjusting to get the door to make a tight seal.
If your existing seals are tattered and worn, I suggest that you remove a section to take with you to the hardware store. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with the huge selection of products to choose from and you might end up buying the wrong product for the job.
How To Install Weather Stripping Around a Door
Most of you will be using a metal weather stripping kit. These kits are very simple to install but before you remove the metal runners that hold the rubber door seals in place, take a close look to see if they were cut to the proper length when they were originally installed. If they were, all you have to do is remove the old and tattered strips, cut the replacements pieces that you just bought to the same lengths, and screw the new pieces in place.
If the old metal weather strips weren’t cut to the proper lengths when they were originally installed, you’ll want to take some measurements so that you can correct this problem when you cut the new strips to the lengths that they actually should be.
I find that it’s easiest to get everything to line up right if you stand outside with the door closed. This way, you will know exactly how the door is positioned when its closed. The metal strips that you’ll be screwing into your door jamb have elongated slots that are designed to make it easy to adjust the position of the metal runners holding the seals to ensure that you get an air tight fit.
When my husband and I were first experimenting with the best way of weatherstripping a door, we made the mistake of screwing the metal runners in place with the door open. We quickly found out that this was a bad idea when we tried to close the door and it wouldn’t shut because we had the runners set in the wrong location.
I suggest that you hold the metal runners flush up against the jamb so that they are making good contact with the outside edge of the door and position the screw in the center of the elongated strip. Doing it this way will ensure that you have the ability to adjust the fit later if you need to.
How To Apply Foam Weather Stripping to a Door
If you’re on a really tight budget and you prefer to use foam weather stripping to seal your doors, the first step is to remove any old tattered foam tape or rubber seals. Then, using a putty knife, scrape off any of the adhesive residue from the old tape that gets left behind.
Here’s a handy tip: The cleaner you can get the surface that you’ll be applying the new foam tape to, the better it will stick and the better results you’ll get.
Now that you have the old foam insulation tape removed, peel off a bit of the new tape and stick it to the top edge of the inside of the door jamb stop. Carefully unroll a little bit of tape at a time and press it in place as you work your way around the jamb stop. When you reach the end of the jamb stop, be careful to cut the tape to the proper length so you don’t end up with gaps that will leak air.
After you have installed the new foam insulation tape around the entire perimeter of the jamb stop, carefully peel off the protective paper covering to ensure that the foam makes a good and tight seal with the door.
My experience with doing this type of door jamb weatherstrip installation is that it works best if you install one full piece of tape along each edge of the jamb stop. Whenever I’ve tried to piece shorter sections together, it just doesn’t seem to last as long. I’ve found that doing it this way leaves you with a much higher chance that some of the pieces will end up coming lose and falling off.
How To Install a New Door Bottom Sweep
The bottom of your door is likely to be the area where the most cold air is leaking through. Bottom door seals tend to really take a beating and they wear out from repeatedly opening and closing the door.
The good news is that installing a new door sweep is quite easy and affordable. The one that we just purchased only cost us about $7.00. If your door has an old sweep that is worn out, just find the screws that are holding it in place and remove them. Then, measure the bottom of the door and cut the new sweep to the proper length. Next, close the door and screw the new door seal into place.
Here’s another tip: Install this product with the door closed as well. Doing it this way, you’ll be able to position it so that it covers the gap between the bottom of the door and the door sill. Once you have everything lined up properly, screw it to the door and you’re done.
I hope this article was helpful to you. If you would like to learn more about keeping your heating dollars from escaping through leaks in a drafty home, take a minute and read my article on how to insulate windows.