Regular Home Maintenance

DIY: How to Install Weather Stripping

christmas door

As we mentioned in last week's post, Top 10 Tips for Home Maintenence This Fall, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to increase your home's energy efficiency and reduce your utility bill is to properly seal your windows and doors before winter gets into full swing. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to install weather stripping around YOUR door.

Products you'll need:

  • Vinyl-reinforced aluminum weather seals for the top, left, and right sides of your doorframe. You can usually buy them together as a kit.
  • Compression foam weather stripping.
  • Door sweep.

Tools you'll need:

tools

  • Hacksaw to cut through aluminum
  • Utility knife to cut through vinyl
  • Tape measure to make sure everything is cut to size and will create a tight fit
  • Drill driver or hammer–depends on the weather seals and door sweep you buy

The How-To's

  1. Remove any old weather seals and stripping from the doorstop (this includes seals mounted to the doorstop itself, as well as any foam weather stripping between the seals and doorstop).
  2. Measure the top of the doorstop. Cut the top weather seal to fit (use a hacksaw to cut the aluminum, and a utility knife to make a clean cut on the vinyl). With the door closed and latched, fit the vinyl-reinforced aluminum seal along the top of the doorstop so that it sits flat against the door.
  3. Before screwing or nailing in the top seal, attach a strip of compression foam weatherstripping to the back of the seal. This will ensure that no cold air sneaks in behind it.
  4. Once the top seal is installed, open the door to measure for the side seals. Measure from the threshold up to the top weather seal you've just installed. Once again,when cutting the seals to size use a hacksaw to cut the aluminum and a utility knife to cut the vinyl.
  5. Just as with the top seal, fit each side seal with the door closed and latched, checking that it fits properly and sits flat against the door. Attach strips of compression foam weatherstripping to the backs of these seals as well, mount them, then attach to the doorstop.
  6. Remove your old door sweep if you have one, and measure the bottom of the door so that you can cut your new door sweep to size. Attach the sweep to the inside of your door with only two screws first and check to see that the door opens and closes properly without getting caught on the floor or rug. Make any necessary adjustments, and complete the installation.

Now your door is airtight and ready to keep you and your family safe from the cold winter winds (and your wallet safe from unnecessary energy costs)!

Easy & Effective Energy Conservation Tips for Your Home

October is National Energy Awareness Month—an effort by the White House to emphasize just how central energy conservation is to our national prosperity, security, and environmental well-being. Local governments, organizations, and businesses across the country are rolling out special events and promotions in the spirit of conservation, but for each and every one of us, energy conservation starts at home.

We sifted through many-an-article on energy conservation tricks and tips and selected a few we thought you’d find most useful. They’re relatively easy, inexpensive, and will make an incredible difference in the environmental impact of your home, and your home’s impact on your wallet.

  • Replace regular, incandescent bulbs with compact florescent bulbs (CFLs). It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again… replace those bulbs! Compared to old-school bulbs, CFLs use 75 percent less energy, last 10 times longer, and cost only $1 more on average. Start with the most commonly-used room in your home and work your way through the rest in time. Many local power companies are offering free CFLs to their customers this month—check with your provider. One of the only downsides to CFLs is that they can be irksome to dispose of, but Home Depot will recycle them for you for free (see here).

  • Unplug those electronics. If you’re going to be away from your computer, television, or other favorite gadget for an extended period of time, turn it OFF instead of putting it in “sleep” mode. It takes precious energy for our electronics to dream. Also unplug things like phone and laptop chargers when not in use—they use energy even when not attached to your gadgets. Another tip? Use power strips in areas full of electronics (offices, entertainment centers, etc.). This makes it easy to power down a room full of equipment with a flick of a switch.

  • Reduce your water heater temperature. A good temperature range that will save you money while still allowing for those hot showers you love is 110-120. (Here are some video tutorials for adjusting your gas or electric water heater repair videos from hughesairco.com arizona).

  • Be thoughtful about how you heat your home. If no one is home during the day, set your thermostat back or even OFF. Many thermostats are programmable and can be set to kick in a half hour before you get home. Also, make use of the sun’s natural heat. Close the drapes on cold, dark days and open them on sunny ones. It’s easy and effective.

Also be sure to check out our previous post on fall home maintenance, and pay special attention to tips 3, 4, and 10 for a few bonus energy saving tips.

Top 10 Tips for Home Maintenance This Fall

 

We’ve noticed it, and we’re sure you’ve noticed it too… Fall is finally here! It’s time for building bonfires, decorating for trick-or-treaters, and before long it’ll be time for cooking up delicious Thanksgiving dinners. We love the trimmings of fall just as much as our clients, but by nature and by profession we’re also incredibly conscious of what lies ahead for us all: winter.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your home for the coming winter months while still enjoying fall, from our family to yours.

 

DIY-Friendly

  1. The gutters. Every year your gutters divert gallons upon gallons of water away from your home—if they’re clean and clear, that is. Clogged gutters can cause water damage to your home’s exterior (and water in your basement, if you have one). Plus, clogged gutters are more prone to rust and corrosion. This is a relatively easy DIY fix for anyone without a fear of heights with access to a ladder, gloves, and something to help remove the debris.
  2. Your dryer vents should be cleaned regularly to prevent a possible fire hazard. You’ll definitely want to do this messy outdoor task before Jack Frost comes a-knockin.
  3. Your windows and doors. To prevent your home from losing expensive heat and gaining cold drafts once winter hits, check the caulking and weather stripping on your windows and doors. Touch up caulking and replace weather stripping where needed, and be sure to clean the surfaces to insure a proper seal. *This is a fix you don’t want to skip. According to the Department of Energy, gaps and caulking and weather stripping, while easily fixable, can account for 10% of your heating bill if left unattended.
  4. Your ceiling fans. Keeping your ceiling fans turning counter-clockwise keeps things cool in the summer, but you’ll want to start running them clockwise once winter hits to keep things toasty.
  5. Your outdoor faucets. Winter-proof your outdoor faucets and their corresponding water lines by shutting off the lines and draining them. If you don’t have shut-off valves for your outdoor faucets, you inexpensive covers from your local home improvement store will do the trick.
  6. Trees or shrubbery near your home should be trimmed before winter ice and snow can weigh down unruly branches and send them careening into your house or nearby power lines. Depending on the size of the tree you may be able to do the trimming yourself, but don’t hesitate to call a professional if it seems like more than you can handle.
  7. Driveways, walkways, and steps near your home can be year-round hazards, but their potential for danger is compounded in the winter. Make note of any cracks more than 1/8 wide, uneven sections, loose railings or steps, and you can easily fix the issues accordingly unless a major repair is needed.

You might want to call a professional

  1. Your fireplace and chimney should be inspected annually—twice yearly if you regularly burn soft woods like pine or cedar. Not only are neglected fireplaces potential fire hazards, they’re also potentially damaging to yours and your family’s health. This is definitely a job best left to a professional chimney sweeper, and a reputable one at that. Here are some tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America on finding the RIGHT sweeper for the job.
  2. Your roof. Autumn storms and winter snows have an uncanny way of turning minor issues with your roof into very expensive problems. Do a preliminary DIY inspection—look for damaged or curling shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents—and if you find something worrisome, call a professional. Though roof fixes aren’t always cheap fixes, they’re crucial and should be done properly.
  3. Your heating system and filter. It’s easy enough to clean and replace your heating system and filters on your own (just follow your system’s instructions), but it’s smart to have your entire heater/water heater inspected and serviced annually to avoid inefficiency and possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Local utility companies will often provide this service for free!

We hope you’ll find these tips useful in the coming months. If you’d like to take your winter preparedness and home maintenance a step further and have an exceptional, professional home inspection, give us a call at (270) 933-7242. Because when you’re ready, so are we.