Save Money Weather Stripping Your Windows
Inexpensive Alternative to Replacement Windows
Depending on where you live, either the cost of heating or the cost of cooling will be a significant item in your budget. Preventing outside air from being mixed with inside air is by far the most cost effective way to save some money on your utility bill. The cost of materials is usually minimal so you will recover your money very quickly. It just takes a little time. Some people are even able to do it themselves.
How About Replacing All Your Windows?
Contractors will try to talk you into replacing all your windows instead of sealing them. Is that a good idea?
Well, it depends. If they are broken, rotten or otherwise in bad shape, the answer is clear. Replacement windows are the way to go.
If, on the other hand, they are in good shape but just not up to modern standards, the question becomes more difficult to answer. I think the number one factor to consider would be: How long are you going to stay in the house? Will it be long enough to not only recover the cost, but hopefully also provide you with a little in savings.
Life has a way of throwing curve balls from time to time. How likely is that to happen in your life? Are energy prices going to go up or down where you are? In the end only you can answer the question with any kind of certainty.
If you can feel a draft or if your curtains move in windy weather, the case is pretty clear. You have leaks. The bigger the leaks, the bigger the saving you get from plugging them. Big leaks are easy to spot, but what about the little ones? If you have enough of them, they can really add up to significant air infiltration. Here are two suggestions:
The Blower Door
If you think you have significant leaks that are hard to identify, the blower door is the answer. The ones the contractors use can tell you not only exactly how much your house is leaking but also where the leaks are.
You can find instructions about how to turn all your exhaust fans on at once and use candles or incense smoke to find the leaks. I've not had much luck with that approach, but by all means, give it a try.
Since you're not necessarily interested in all the fancy data a professional blower door can provide, you may be able to construct a decent copy yourself. The fan needs to be quite powerful, though.
The Blower Door Alternative - Infrared Thermometer
Since the cost of an infrared thermometer is much lower than the cost of a blower door, it will pay for itself in a very short period of time.
You use it to measure the temperature of surfaces. It works in much the same way the one you use to take your children's temperature when they have a fever. Simply point it towards the edge of a window and you'll be able to see a drop in temperature where there is a leak. Obviously, this works best on a cold day.
How to Weatherstrip Windows
Weatherstripping a window is pretty easy and has a big effect on your energy bill winter and summer.
Window Weatherstripping Products
The amount of do-it-yourself products can be really overwhelming. Below you'll find some mentioned in the video above.
Great and versatile caulk for many uses around the house.