I'm often surprised when homeowners think of weatherstripping as a winter-only project. With some 30 percent of your energy costs pegged to heat--and cold air--leaks at home, you'd think more people would consider adding or replacing weatherstripping to preserve that valuable cool air in your home come summertime.
The U.S. Department of Energy has an excellent review of weatherstripping materials, costs, and applications for doors and windows. The Energy Savers website evaluates the costs and benefits of a range of materials including tension seal, felt, reinforced (closed cell) foam, tape, rolled vinyl, tubular rubber, reinforced silicone, magnetic, fin seal, aluminum, mylar, and interlocking channel weatherstripping products.
Balancing Weatherstripping Costs with Durability
Depending on your regional climate conditions, you may be able to cut some corners on materials, but if you hope to block drafts and leaks, you need to find the right product for the kind of doors or windows you have. That's a lot of balls to juggle in the air at once, but in evaluating the pluses of each kind of material, you can find the right product for the best price--based on your home.
Most hardware or home improvement stores offer a range of the most-common weatherstripping products. You may have to order special weatherstripping from a catalog or online. It can be tough to match a new product with the profile of your existing door. If you're lucky, there's a label on your door or frame. If you've installed the door yourself, you may remember the retailer or manufacturer. Depending on the product, you still need to cut the weatherstripping with a blade or sharp-tooth saw.
If your door is a recent, modern replacement, you should be able to pull the old weatherstripping out by hand and simply slide in the replacements. Kits come with fasteners for the job, along with a top strip and two sides.
Before the summer heat begins to sizzle, close your door, kneel down, and look for light streaming through your door sweep. Always measure the width of your door from the inside when calculating the lengths for the new sweep. You can easily cut the flaps on the replacement sweep with scissors or a sharp blade.