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Tips & Tricks

Weatherstripping

New Homeowners Edition: Weather Your First Winter in Your New Home

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Winter brings a new set of responsibilities for new homeowners. We’ve put together a list of DIY projects for January to help you identify—and eliminate—drafts and energy leaks in your home so you can make your home sweet home a more comfortable place to be.

Start by Finding the Sources of Heat Loss: Walls, windows, and doors are the biggest heat drains in most homes—especially older homes. Experts say that when added together, the gaps and cracks in the average home are equal to the size of an open window, so sealing them up is a smart priority. The US Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to 30% of your home energy costs by making sure your home is properly insulated and weatherized—that’s a lot of money that you could be spending on furniture and décor for your new home instead of on heating bills. Check around your house for areas that let in cold air, and then get to work sealing them—we’ve got all the products you need to help you come home to comfort every day.

1. Walls: As much as 2% of the heat loss in your home comes from electrical outlets on exterior walls. Fortunately, Frost King has a quick-fix solution: our foam Electric Outlet Sealers slip behind the faceplate of outlets or switches to block cold air.

2. Ceilings: Holes for wiring, plumbing, and recessed lights in ceilings can account for as much as 13% of air leakage. Seal these gaps with our Fingertip Rope Caulk, which won’t harden, crack, chip, or peel and is easily pushed into place with your fingertips or a putty knife.

3. Windows: Windows are one of the biggest culprits for heat loss, accounting for up to 10% of air leaks. Use weatherstripping to plug any gaps around windows. We offer a full line of felt, foam, and vinyl products; watch this video to choose the right weatherseal for your project. (And pro tip: always start with a clean surface before installing any type of weatherstripping.) If you have older, single pane windows, you may also want to install window film, a clear sheet of plastic that shrinks to fit over the glass, to keep out drafts:



4. Doors: A whopping 11% of your home’s heat loss can be traced back to exterior doors. Try the dollar test to see if your door has adequate weatherstripping: Position a dollar bill along the door frame, then close the door. If you can’t pull the dollar out, you’ve got enough weatherstripping to stop air infiltration. If the bill pulls out easily, it’s time to replace it. Next, take a look at the bottom of the door to see if there’s a gap between the door and the threshold. An opening of just 1/8-inch on a standard door lets in as much air as a 2.4-inch hole in the wall. A door sweep is a quick and easy fix to close up the gap; we offer door sweeps in a variety of materials and sizes to fit your door.

Don't Forget to Replace Filters: A little attention paid to your furnace can go a long way towards making your HVAC system last longer. Remembering to change furnace filters frequently is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your furnace. A clogged filter strains your HVAC system so it has to work harder and lets dust, dander, and mold circulate throughout your home. The frequency that filters need to be replaced varies by system, but a good rule of thumb is to check it every three months.

Some HVAC systems have a whole house humidifier that adds water vapor to the heated air from your furnace. They help maintain proper humidity in your home during the dry winter months, cut down on static electricity, and can help make your home healthier and more comfortable. If your HVAC has a humidifier, you will need to replace the filter annually—maybe even more often if you have hard water—so it can keep doing its job.

Want to learn more about the problem areas in your house and how to fix them? Check out The Frost King House, our fun, interactive tool that helps you identify the common areas that lose energy in your home.

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