Inspect the Exterior Seals of your Home
One task that should be on every homeowner’s maintenance checklist this fall is inspecting and repairing any seals on the exterior of the house. Caulk seals around the trim of windows helps prevent air from escaping the house and keeps water from getting into the walls. Weatherstripping around doors serves the same purpose. Maintaining a good seal is an easy way improve energy efficiency. This extra bit of energy saved means your furnace and air conditioning systems don’t have to work as hard. It only takes a couple minutes to inspect these seals and the repairs are a cheap DIY fix.
Window Inspection and Repair
Walk around the outside of your house closely inspecting the seal of each window. Look for cracks or gaps. Any moisture in between panes of glass are an indication of a leak. Remove old and damaged caulking with a putty knife or utility knife. Use fine grade sandpaper and a brush to clean up the surface.
Apply a steady stream of exterior caulking to the seam of the trim. Make sure to apply plenty of caulk. Thinly applied beads may crack as they dry. You can use your finger to run down the top of the bead of caulk to smooth and spread it out. If the gap is too big, insert backer rod to fill it in before caulking. Let the seal cure and dry for as long as recommended by the manufacturer. Paint over the dried seal to match the trim.
Like a window, air escapes around the perimeter of a door. The weatherstripping compresses as a door closes and creates a good seal. With the door closed, run your hand around the perimeter to feel for air drafts. Also, open the door and inspect the weatherstripping for any damage. Remove any of the damaged pieces by using a utility knife. Replace the section, or entire seal, with new weatherstripping.
Again, feel around the perimeter of the closed door for drafts. If you still feel a draft, then extra weatherstripping may be needed. Try stacking weatherstripping to bridge larger gaps.
There may be larger gaps around the exterior of your home that are too large for caulking. These gaps typically are found around air conditioner refrigerant tubes, outdoor faucets, and dryer vents. Use an expandable foam at these locations. Make sure to completely fill in the gaps. It is better to apply too much than too little. After the product cures, you can cut the extra material off to be flush with the house. With most foams you can paint or stain the cured foam to match the surroundings.