How to Prevent Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors

Energy bills go up yearly, and we are all looking for ways to bring them back down. If your windows and/or exterior doors leak, that can increase your energy bills. Air can pass around windows and doors, letting cold air in winter and hot air in summer. Learn how to prevent air leaks around windows and doors to save money.


Replace Worn Caulking and Weather Stripping

The weather stripping around your windows and doors tends to wear with time, and to work loose, allowing drafts. Replacing the weather stripping is an inexpensive way to stop leaks. You should check your weather stripping at least once a year. If you live in a cold climate, check it in the fall, while if you live in a warmer one, the spring may be a good time to check it. This is also an excellent way to spot worse problems with your windows that may require repair or even replacement.

Bronze weatherstripping is the most durable for windows but is also expensive. Adhesive-backed EPDM rubber is a good option. For doors, tubular rubber, vinyl, and silicone weatherstripping are the best, but they are expensive and can be hard to install. You may want to hire a professional. Foam-type tape is much easier but can come loose and may need to be reinforced.


Check Your Doors for Gaps

Buildings settle over time, and one thing this can create is gaps between the exterior trim and the door frame. Inspect your exterior doors for such gaps. Fill them with exterior latex caulk if you find any. If your door is also not closing (or opening) well, the door frame may have become warped, and your door needs to be rehung or replaced.

Also, check the bottom of the door. Worn threshold gaskets should be replaced. If you can see daylight under the door, the threshold is too low, and you may need a taller gasket. A cheaper and easier option is a door sweep. Another alternative is a door snake. Door snakes are rollers that you put along the base of the door to block drafts. Door snakes are often found in quirky designs, such as a Dachshund, an actual snake, sheep, etc. They do, however, add weight when opening and closing the door.


Lock Your Windows

Locking your windows doesn’t just improve your security; it also holds sashes together better, preventing leaks through the gap. Any time your windows are closed, they should be locked. If your windows don’t have locks, even in a location where you aren’t worried about unauthorized access, consider adding locks.


Use Window Treatments Appropriately

Add an energy-efficient window attachment. Then use it. If it is frigid outside, close all the blinds and curtains (ensure one window in each room is still accessible for fire code reasons). If less so, open the curtains when it is sunny, especially in the morning, then close them at night. In summer, keep window coverings closed, but open any that don’t get direct sunlight or face away from the equator to allow in natural light.

Automatic window treatments can be helpful if you want to change them throughout the day. Cellular and pleated shades provide energy efficiency while still allowing a good amount of natural light. If you live in an older house with shutters, consider using them. But even curtains can reduce heat loss by up to 10%. If you live in a warm climate, use medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings, which can reduce heat gain by 33%.


Add an Awning

In hot summers, such as those in Dallas, adding an awning to south-facing windows can help. By shading the window, an awning reduces heat gain. If you have a patio or a deck, a retractable awning can also make your outdoor space more comfortable when you want to use it in the summer. While expensive, awnings can help with heat gain.


Add Window Films

Window films are great if you want to block heat and UV exposure but let in natural light and appreciate your view. These are applied to the outside of the window and can be tinted. Be aware that window films block many UV rays, which can impact the health of house plants. Window films are best used on east and west windows. They are not helpful on the north side and can increase your heating bill if applied to the south side.

You can apply window films, but they are tricky, and you may want to get a professional installer.


Replace Windows

In some cases, it’s worth replacing your windows. You should consider window replacement if:

● Your windows are single glazed. Many houses in warmer climates still have single-glazed windows because it hasn’t been well understood that they keep heat out as well as in. Older houses often have single-glazed windows. A good window installer can install double glazing on an old house without impacting its character.
● The frames are worn or rotten. Wooden window frames will eventually rot and consider replacing them with more durable vinyl or fiberglass frames. You may, of course, prefer the appearance of natural wood, but if so, make sure it is treated.
● You are seeing much condensation on the inside of your windows.
● You have windows that have become hard to open, close or lock.
Always hire an expert installer for window replacement and discuss the best way to improve energy efficiency with them. For example, they can add window films, provide high-quality locks, etc.


Replace Doors

It may also be worth replacing one or more exterior doors. If your door no longer opens or closes properly, you should consider a replacement. Correcting the issue may be corrected by rehanging the door.


Also consider new doors if:

● The door is too high and you don’t want to raise the threshold, such as if you have a wheelchair user in the house or young children who are still in a buggy.
● Your door or its frame are cracked or warped, or there is a large gap between the frame and the door. You can caulk this gap, but this is likely a temporary solution.


In Closing

To lower your heating and cooling bills, consider reducing drafts from your windows and doors. If you are experiencing the mentioned issues, you may need new windows or doors. If so, and if you are in the Greater Dallas are, contact Window Depot Dallas today.