What are the Different Ways to Weatherize my Home?

Mary Elizabeth

To weatherize means to make heating and cooling systems in a building more efficient as well as to make sure the building being weatherized is fitted to keep heat or cold in and/or out, as required. If you decide to weatherize your home, you will likely not be doing just one kind of task. Instead, you are likely to do tasks like sealing, replacing, installing, repairing, and replacing, depending on what portion of your home you are addressing.

Caulk, which can be used to seal your home for winter.
Caulk, which can be used to seal your home for winter.

Sealing helps keep cooled or heated air in, as well as keeping cold or hot air out. Therefore, weatherization often involves sealing cracks and gaps that occur around doors and windows as well as pipes that run between floor as well as through the external wall of the building. Sealing is done with a variety of materials including mortite putty, which is often used when you weatherize windows. It is often sold in long ropes, and can be pressed into place around a drafty window frame.

Other materials for sealing include caulk, foam sealant, weather-stripping, and products that cover the entire window frame, including window film and plastic attached to the outside of the house by stapling it in place around all the windows with thin wood strips. Caulk comes in different forms for different purposes, so you can choose the type that best fits the particular job. There are also specialized sealants, like DAPtex® Plus Window and Door Foam Sealant, which may be of use.

When you weatherize your home, you may find that some doors or windows need replacing. For windows, this may include switching to double glazed glass or insulated glass units (IGU’s), an effective way to resist heat loss and heat transfer. Another weatherization strategy is to replace wood doors with foam core, which can have an insulation value that is five times greater than wood.

Some of the steps that are important when you weatherize include installing new items. You may find it worthwhile, for example, to install more insulation in your home. Spots that characteristically can benefit from additional insulation if you have not addressed the issue before include attics, ceilings, floors, walls, and around pipes and water heaters. Another type of installation that adds to warmth retention and avoidance of heat transfer is storm doors and storm windows. Each of these can be purchased with two versions: a solid version and a screen version, allowing you to allow a breeze or get the maximum protection.

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