Do you feel the winter winds even when your front door is closed? Does it feel breezy every time you stand by a window? If so, your home could be letting in cold air without you even realizing it. Maintaining your windows and doors and ensuring they’re performing as best they can is something that should be looked at year round. Improving the energy efficiency of your windows and doors will ensure you keep warm and keep your energy bills down. Here’s how you can make your windows and doors more energy efficient.
Seal the Gaps
One of the easiest things you can do that will make a big impact on the efficiency of your windows is to seal all the gaps. This means taking caulking or weatherstripping and applying it around the window frame and sealing all the gaps that let air flow in and out.
To locate these gaps, try the candle trick. Take a small candle and move it around the perimeter of the window. If you see the flame flicker, you’ve identified a gap. Seal it, and then keep checking for other spots that need to be filled. This is a fairly easy task that can be handled by a handyman in a couple of hours.
Update Window Coverings
Another very easy option is to update your window coverings. While this option doesn’t really make your windows more energy efficient, it does help to keep cool air in and hot air out. Using heavy or thermal curtains will help insulate your home. Make sure the new coverings cover the window completely, from top to bottom. Keep your curtains closed at night to cut back on drafts. Removing old window coverings and installing new ones is a job your handyman can also take care of. Try combining several tasks into one visit to help save on costs.
Upgrade Window Frames
A less expensive task than entirely replacing your windows is upgrading your frames. Upgrading to energy efficient frames can greatly improve the efficiency of your windows. Be sure to purchase frames that have the Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS) label. This rating scheme goes up to 5 for the most efficient rating. If you need help understanding which frames would be best for your home, speak to a window installation professional for advice.
Install Double Glazing
If your windows need a little more help than just sealing the gaps, consider installing a double glaze. Double-glazed windows have two layers of glass that are separated by a layer of air in the middle. This helps to keep air in, reduces indoor condensation and also helps to lessen the amount of outside noise you hear.
Adding a double glaze to your existing windows is not a DIY process and should be handled by a professional. A window professional will be able to take the careful measurements and install the additional layer of glass to your windows so that they fit perfectly.
If none of these tips seem to help, it might be time to replace your windows.
Add New Weatherstripping
A very common way that doors lose energy is through damaged or missing weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is a strip of silicon or rubber that is placed along all four sides of a door. If your door’s weatherstripping is not sitting right or worn out, a fair amount of air could be slipping out from all sides. You can purchase weatherstripping at your local hardware store and hire a handyman to install it for you.
Check Your Door Frames
Over time, our homes shift and settle and this can affect how your door sits in its frame. If you notice your door sticks or squeaks, it may have shifted. A slight clean around the perimeter of the door will help remove any dirt or debris and help you see if the alignment is off. From there, check the hinges and make sure all the screws are tight. Also, check to see if there are any issues with the caulking around the door frame and fill in as needed. If you find anything to be out of place and aren’t sure what to do, you can consult with a doors expert.
Adjust the Threshold
This tip applies more to front doors as interior doors typically do not have a threshold. The threshold on your front door is the vinyl sweeper at the bottom that helps to keep dirt and debris outside of your home. Over time, these thresholds can become worn out and allow air to pass through. If yours looks a little worse for wear, it’s time to replace it. You can buy a kit at your local hardware store and install it yourself, or of course, hire a professional to do it for you.
Sometimes there’s nothing else that can be done to your old door except to replace it. Most modern doors are made for energy efficiency and come with an R-value. An R-value is the measurement of a material’s capacity to resist heat flow from one side to the other side. To put it simply, R-values measure how effective the insulation is. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation in your door is.
The most energy efficient door materials are wood, fibreglass and steel. Wood does a better job at conducting less heat, however, fibreglass and steel are strong enough to be hollow and filled with insulation. If you’re concerned about buying an energy efficient door, speak to a door expert about your needs.
Do any of these tips sound like something you need to do? Take a look at your windows and doors and address any issues you find. If you need help from a professional to make your home more energy efficient, start by getting a quote to be connected with a pro in your area.
Cover image courtesy of Smart Schools Club.