Ah, summer, the season of warm weather and, if you’re anything like us, getting the house weatherproofed. Hey, Prestige Painting (you might say)! It’s summer, why should we worry about weatherproofing with all this sun around?? Two reasons (we might answer): one, weatherproofing isn’t just for keeping the cold out, it’s also for keeping the cool in. And two, and perhaps even more important, who wants to do all that inside-outside work in the cold?
Not us! And that’s why when the summer rolls around each year, we try and take a few of those lovely weekend days and do a little bit of preemptive proofing. Not only does it mean we’re well-prepared for the winter and don’t have to muck about in the bad weather, it also means a cooler, less costly summer of relaxation.
Weatherproofing sounds like a bit of a hardcore project, but that’s really not the case for the most part. While there are certainly some major overhauls you can undertake, like redoing all the insulation, there’s quite a bit you can do that won’t take much time or money, yet will make a huge difference. Here’s our guide to simple weatherproofing during those sunny summer months.
Dealing with Gaps
The biggest problems when it comes to air escaping from your home are, not surprisingly, the biggest holes in the house. Windows and doors are notorious for having gaps and unsealed areas that, when considered altogether and over time, can make for huge increases in central air bills and temperature and humidity differences.
To find problem areas, hold a lighter or lit match all around the edges of doors and windows. If it flickers, there’s probably a breeze coming through a gap. You can up your finding-game here by having another person hold a portable fan on the other side of the portal, if you want.
Cracks and gaps that don’t need to be open at some point can and should be caulked shut, though you don’t want to do this for any gap between a moving part and a stationary part (in other words, don’t caulk the door shut).
For other door gaps, weather stripping, vinyl inserts and metal pieces of many kinds can be found at hardware stores that are made to fit the size and color of your door and cover or fill any gaps you might have (you might have to cut these purchases down to size a bit).
Windows can also use inserts, if needed, and you can also install plastic sheeting over them if you feel it necessary. This might not look incredible, but done right (the key is to smooth out wrinkles with a blow-dryer), it can be unnoticeable. If you’ve got the cash, you can even upgrade to multipane or glazed windows that are designed to have better seals and energy efficiency, or you can simply add some nice curtains, which also help with energy conservation.
Another, less construction-y option that’s very popular right now is to buy a cute draft stopper, or door snake (We couldn’t resist showing you how snuggling puppies work great as draft stoppers, if you can get them to stay still). These tubular items are placed against edges (usually the bottom) of portals and do a huge amount of good when it comes to sealing them.
It’s another big hole, so of course air’s getting out that way! This is a bit of a weird one, but there’s a thing called a “chimney balloon” made just for this job. It basically goes up inside your chimney and inflates, filling the space. This not only keeps the hot air in during the winter, but the cool air as well during the summer.
The Water Heater
We’re not sure why more houses don’t have them, but did you know there’s such a thing as a water heater blanket? It’s exactly what it sounds like, a blanket that wraps snugly around your heater, and it does just what you think it would by keeping it warmer. In fact, some studies say that these things reduce your heat loss in the heater by up to 45 percent!
The Basement and Attic
These two areas of the house are the absolute worst when it comes to losing or gaining thermal energy. The best thing you can do to stop this, and the most expensive thing on our list, is to upgrade the insulation in both. We’d suggest letting the experts give you an estimate on what it’d cost to have this done, as insulation can be tricky and even potentially hazardous to deal with.
The other option is to approach the area through its entrance, the door! For basement doors, use the methods lined out above for other doors, while for attic stairs, you can actually buy something called an attic stair cover that will do the trick.
Yes, outlets matter! Your outlets are just holes with basically nothing keeping air from going in and out of them. Plastic covers help, but what you really want is a sealer that can be installed between the outside plate and the wall. They’re easy to install, and well worth it.
While this article won’t tell you how to prepare for a hurricane, tornado or flood (we’ll get to a few of those in the future though!), it will give your home a much-needed respite from the basic elements of cold and heat attacking it from the outside. Try out a few of these simple ideas, and your comfort-level and wallet will thank you.
Original Source: Prestige Painting http://www.paintedbyprestige.com/diy/weatherproofing-the-house-you-really-should-do-it
Photos: Jolie Novak, AOL; sox_OZ’s photostream