A big part of making sure that your home is ready for the winter is knowing that your windows are well-sealed, that your weatherstripping will keep the cold air outside, and that you have energy-efficient windows. We’ve put together a list of tips and recommendations for preparing the windows of your Claxton, Georgia, home for the winter season.
When you close your doors and windows, you want them to seal as tightly as possible to make sure that the conditioned air stays inside. Windows don’t usually seal well on their own, which is why we add weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is small piping, usually made of rubber, foam, metal, or plastic, that lines the closure of doors and windows to tighten the seal and keep out the cold winter air. The different types of weatherstripping are best used under the particular circumstances they’re designed to target.
Types of Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping that goes along the seal of your doors or windows can come in a number of varieties that have special purposes. A tension seal or v-strip is typically made of metal or plastic and is used to seal a sliding window. Felt weatherstripping is very inexpensive, but lasts only a few years and therefore must be replaced more often than other types. Foam tape comes in varying widths, making it useful if you need thicker-than-normal weatherstripping. You can also find weatherstripping made of vinyl, rubber, or silicone. As well, you can seal doors with rubber sweeps which are installed at the bottom of doors to keep air from leaking in underneath.
Weatherstripping is not the only way to improve the energy efficiency of your windows. Weatherstripping is only useful to seal around the movable parts of your windows. You may also notice leaks and drafts around the window sill. These stationary cracks, as long as they aren’t bigger than one-quarter of an inch, can be sealed with caulk.
When to Change Your Weatherstripping
There’s no hard and fast rule on how long you can use weatherstripping so it’s important to do an annual or bi-annual check to see if you need to replace your weatherstripping. Consider doing your check when the seasons change. When going through your check, open your doors and windows to do a visual inspection of weatherstripping. If you can see that it’s compressed and doesn’t decompress, you can know that it’ll no longer create a proper seal. If some or all of the weatherstripping has peeled away, that’s also an indication that it’s time to replace it.
If you’re still not sure if your weatherstripping is functional, you can test your doors and windows for drafts. With the window closed and the air conditioner or heat turned off, place your hand near the window’s closure. If you feel outside air coming in or it feels drafty, it’s time to replace your weatherstripping.
Checking for Energy Efficiency
During the winter, you want to make sure that your home and your windows are energy efficient so that you aren’t heating the outside world. You want your windows to be well-sealed and energy efficient enough to keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside. If you’re purchasing new windows, it’s important to understand the energy rating and what that means for your home. Look for Energy Star-rated windows to know you’ve chosen good quality.
Along with new windows, there a few simple steps you can take to make your windows more energy efficient. Install heavy curtains that you close at night to make sure that what little air leaks into your home is barricaded by the draperies. During the day, keep your curtains open to let in as much direct sunlight as possible to keep your home warmer and save on heating costs.
We hope that these tips helped you to better understand the purpose of weatherstripping around your doors and windows and to know when it needs to be replaced. If you have any concerns or questions about your home’s energy efficiency this winter, don’t hesitate to give Dyess Air & Plumbing a call at (843) 242-0855, and we can send out one of our knowledgeable and professional technicians.