How can I Weatherproof my House?

Kris Roudebush

The best -- and some of the cheapest -- tools that anyone trying to weatherproof their house can have is caulk and a caulking gun. This handy substance is perfect for sealing windows and cracks that can let in air that you have to warm or cool, depending on the time of year. Thankfully, caulk is also pretty easy to use once you get in a little practice.

A weatherproofed house.
A weatherproofed house.

Windows are notorious for letting in cold air. Weatherproof windows by sealing them, both inside and out, to cut down on heating and cooling costs. They should be your first step when you weatherproof your home. Be sure to look for other places where a little caulking might help. Floorboards can also let air in. Sealing the base molding might be a good idea if you need a quick and cheap way to weatherproof. You can use clear silicon caulk, to avoid drawing attention to it.

Caulking is one of the simplest steps toward weatherproofing a home.
Caulking is one of the simplest steps toward weatherproofing a home.

There are other methods available for sealing windows, including plastic insulator kits and self-sealing foam. These weatherproofing kits are common at hardware stores or mega marts. They’re also easy to install; just be aware that plastic insulator kits may also require a hair dryer or heat gun. They are effective as long as they’re in good condition. Once they start to wear down, replace them.

Doors can be a major source of drafts. Weatherproof them with foam weather stripping, caulking, a bronze weather strip, or a door threshold. Weather stripping is an inexpensive way to weatherproof your home from air leaks. If there are air leaks coming from the bottom of your door, you may need to install a door threshold or door sweep. These are usually vinyl and simple to attach to the bottom of the door. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on whether you’ll install the sweep on the outside or the inside. If you have an exterior door that leads to a carpeted room, be sure to find a door sweep or threshold that won’t rub or wear your carpet down.

Other locations that are infamous for being cold spots in winter are electrical outlets and wall switches. These little spots are often missed but can wreak havoc on your utility bills. Some electrical outlets can have a temperature difference of as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Weatherproof your home from these little spots, especially the outside walls. It is surprisingly easy and cheap to do. Most hardware stores sell a foam insulator that goes between the wall and cover. Before working with electrical outlets, always turn the power off. Then simply remove the cover, slide the precut form into place, and replace the cover. Of course there is some variation between manufacturers, so follow their instructions.

The easiest time to do a check on drafts is on a windy day. In each room, take a piece of toilet paper with you and hold it up to a possible air leak. Once you’ve determined where the leaks are, fixing them will be a lot easier. Also check under sinks, closets, and appliances for a difference in temperature. You can use expanding foam to insulate plumbing or behind walls. Making sure you’ve cut down on the air coming in will reduce how much you spend heating and cooling your home.

Expanding foam can be used to insulate behind walls.
Expanding foam can be used to insulate behind walls.

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Discussion Comments


I recently installed a new door sweep on my front door. According to manufacturer's instructions, two upright pieces on the mounting portion should be inserted into two corresponding slots in the bottom of the door. The only problem is that the sweep comes out every few weeks. Is there a way to mount the sweep more securely? If I glue it, will that cause problems in case I need to replace it again in the future?

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