If your home has old wooden exterior doors, you may have noticed that there is quite a bit of air exchange between the interior and outside air that makes your heating and air conditioning bills skyrocket. If so, use the following tips to help seal the doors and prevent the escape of air from around the doors.
Attach Weatherstripping Around the Door Frames
Especially when you live in an older home, the house will settle over the years. A side effect of this settling is that your door frames may shift, creating gaps on the sides and top of the door. These gaps tend to let a lot of your hot and cold air out, as well as let the outside air inside.
To help block this exchange of air, attach weatherstripping around your door frames. You can find weatherstripping at your local hardware or department store that has a sticky backing which allows you to easily attach it to the frame.
Before you attach the stripping, wipe the insides of the door frames with alcohol to thoroughly clean the surfaces. Then, after waiting a few minutes for the alcohol to fully evaporate, unroll the weatherstripping, and apply firm pressure as you stick it to the surface.
Fill Cracks in the Doors and Frames With Caulk
Along with creating gaps between the doors and frames, house settling can also cause the frames to crack. Cracks can also form in the doors, especially if you have to push hard to open and close them because of the uneven frames.
Although these cracks may look like they are too small to make a difference, each one lets air in and allows your home's heat and air conditioning escape. If you have a lot of cracks, you may be loosing a good bit of money trying to keep your interior temperature constant.
If you see cracks in your frames and doors, fill them with caulk to help seal the open spaces. Simply squeeze enough caulking into each space to fill it. Then, before it sets up, wipe off the excess with a cloth wrapped around your index finger.
If you are concerned about the appearance of the caulking, afraid it may look tacky, select one that is clear or closely matches the color of your doors and frames. You can also sand the caulk after it has set up and repaint the surfaces to hide it.
Use a Draft Dodger at the Base of Your Doors
If your home has older exterior doors with even a 1/8 of an inch gap at the bottom, there may as well be a hole punched through your wall. The smallest gap between your door and the floor can allow quite a bit of air exchange. And, if you have more than one old exterior door, the loss of interior air becomes larger.
One way you can keep the air from escaping under your door, as well as keeping the hot or cold air out, is to put a draft dodger at the base of the door. These tubes are usually filled with batting to create a thick barrier. You can either buy them already made at a department store, or make your own using a pattern or even socks.
While using the above tips can help keep your home's air from escaping through your old doors, you may still notice a high energy bill, even with your best efforts to decrease it. If so, contact a contractor to see about having newer, more energy efficient doors installed to help you save money in the long run.