Weather Stripping Challenge to Lower Your AC Bills
Most homeowners are very aware of the hidden costs and discomfort that arise when a house doesn’t properly hold in air warmed by a heating system during the cold months. However, you may not even consider how your home is losing cold air during the hot months.
Leaks that allow cool air to escape also let hot air into your home, causing your air conditioning system to run more frequently and expensively. If you don’t take the time to look at all the ways cool air can escape from your home, you’ll ultimately spend more money than you would prefer.
Ways Cool Air Can Leak from Your Home
Cool air, like heated air, will inevitably leak out as you open the front door or a window as part of your daily routine. Problems arise when certain areas of your home aren’t properly sealed, thus letting cool air out and warm air in.
The most common problem areas are your windows and doors, but there are some surprising sources of cool air leaks as well.
Recessed lighting fixtures can lead to a large loss of cool air. You’re likely familiar with the energy loss improperly insulated or sealed attics cause, but you might be surprised to find that your garage wall could be leaking cool air too. The basement is another area of your home that can allow cool air out and hot air in through openings for pipes or the presence of ductwork.
Tips for Finding Air Leaks
It might seem impossible to find the ways cool air is leaving your home, but there are a couple of different ways to identify the leaks. Take time to do a thorough inspection. Outside, check the places where different building materials adjoin one another, such as at the intersections of the home’s foundation and siding, doors and windows, or at the location of outdoor water faucets.
Inside, look at window and door frames, baseboards, switch plates and electrical outlets. You’re looking for cracks or gaps that will draw the cool air outside.
If you’re having trouble finding obvious leaks, you might want to consider a building pressurization test. This type of test forces air through less visible cracks and leaks. A heating and cooling professional can help you conduct one of these tests.
Stopping the loss of the air cooled by your air conditioning system isn’t difficult, but it does take some planning. One of the simplest and easiest ways to accomplish this is by weather stripping openings throughout your home. There are several different ways to apply it that will provide a tight seal which won’t leak air.
Common Types of Weather Stripping
Weatherstripping material is most frequently used to prevent air from leaking through a door or window that is often opened and closed. When choosing the type of weatherstripping to use, it’s a good idea to think first about the various forces that will affect it.
For example, a lightweight product placed on a sliding window that is frequently opened may not be able to stand up to the constant use it gets. However, when it’s used to seal a window that is infrequently opened, self-stick weatherstripping is usually the best choice.
The types of weatherstripping materials available range from self-sticking vinyl that is easily applied to a window or door to reinforced foam, tape or even interlocking metal channels.
While self-sticking vinyl can be easy to install and also inexpensive, it won’t do the job of keeping the cool air in your house if it’s not placed snugly and properly. If the self-stick weatherstripping material includes a bronze, copper or aluminum piece, it can be hard to fit it snugly around a gap.
Another type of weatherstripping is made of felt material that can be reinforced. Felt is not self-sticking, but instead must be tacked, stapled or glued to the door or window jamb. While this is one of the most inexpensive types of weatherstripping material, it doesn’t hold up to heavy use as well as other materials do.
Closed-cell reinforced foam does a good job of insulating a window or door, but it can be hard to install. While this type of weatherstripping is very effective, particularly in situations in which wind is an issue, it can be some of the most difficult to install. The closed-cell foam is attached to wood that must be cut to length, nailed to the door or window and then painted. This type of insulation is very obvious.
A door sweep is a type of weatherstripping with which almost everyone is familiar. It attaches to the bottom of either the inside or the outside of a door and is typically made of stainless steel or aluminum material. The material of the sweep component is usually vinyl, sponge, felt or plastic.
Many door sweeps can be adjusted to account for a threshold or floor that is not even. A traditional door sweep is visible and can catch on or drag across carpet, but today automatic door sweeps that retract whenever the door is opened can alleviate these problems.
Less Familiar Types of Weather Stripping
Tape is a nonporous type of weatherstripping and, like felt, comes in rolls. It can be found in a number of variations, including closed-cell or open-cell foam or a special type of rubber. Tape is inexpensive and very easy to install, but does not hold up as well to heavy use as other types of weatherstripping.
For these reasons, it’s recommended that tape be used in areas that don’t see much activity. It is especially effective in helping stop cool air leaks into an attic space.
Vinyl can be reinforced or rolled as well as pliable or rigid. This type of weatherstripping can be used to help seal the bottom of a door or window. While it can be rather easy to install, this type of vinyl is visible.
There are several more complicated types of weatherstripping, such as tubular vinyl or rubber, reinforced silicone, interlocking metal channels, a door shoe or even a “frost-brake” threshold. These kinds of weatherstripping should only be installed by professionals.
When you need weatherstripping applied to the windows or doors in your Overland Park, KS home, call Priced Right Heating and Cooling at (913) 713-5911.