As the peak of the summer slowly fades away, the reality that winter is coming is setting in. While still a number of months away, it won’t be long until the temperatures start dropping, and we dust off our heaters and fire up our furnaces. Before that happens, it’s always a good idea to start winterizing while you can to help keep yourselves warm and comfortable, and to keep your heating costs down through the fall and winter.
Your front door can often be a major source of energy leakage during the cold months. Because it’s such a large opening, heat can easily escape and they very commonly are a source of cold drafts. In extreme cases, a full front door replacement is the best way to go. In these extreme cases, the cause of the draft is likely the result of a poor installation. However, for most draft issues there are relatively low cost solutions, like the ones listed below.
1. Door Sweep
Door sweeps are typically made of vinyl and are attached to the bottom of your front door. These strips act as a barrier between the elements outside and the inside of your home. Because the sweeping portion is flexible, the door sweep contours itself to whatever gap is available, creating a tight seal.
Door sweeps are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most hardware stores. They come in a range of colours, to help match the colour of your door. Some door sweeps are fastened in place with the use of screws and some simply slide on to the bottom of your door. Your best bet is to speak to an associate at your local hardware store to see what door sweeps they have and what might work for you.
2. Foam Weatherstripping Tape
Foam weatherstripping tapes are applied to the door jamb and not to the door itself. These tapes help create a weather-tight seal around all edges of the door when it is in the closed position.
Foam weatherstripping is also very cost effective, and can be found at your local hardware store. These tapes are generally peel-and-stick and only really require a sharp knife for installation. Depending on the usage of the door, the tape that you apply might need to be replaced every few years.
3. Exterior Caulking
Exterior caulking around your door keeps small drafts, insects and weather out of your house. Properly installed caulking should last a few years depending on the exposure to the elements that it receives.
Caulking is another relatively cost effective treatment to apply to a leaky door. It can be found in a range of colours at your local hardware store. Be sure to get exterior grade caulking. Before installing new caulking, make sure you thoroughly remove the old caulking to ensure that the new treatment adheres properly, and lasts for years to come.
4. Weatherstripping threshold
Thresholds are the bottom plate that sits under your door between the jambs of your door. The threshold is usually made from some sort of metal, typically aluminum, and is a long wearing part.
Replacing your current threshold with one that has some sort of compression weatherstripping is another option for getting rid of cold drafts coming through the door. This also a relatively low cost solution that can be sourced at your local hardware store.
While these fixes may solve your drafty door issues, there are some cases where a replacement door is the best fix. In this case, be sure to work with a trusted installer that knows what they're doing.
For more information on how make your home more energy efficient, visit the NRCan website on energy efficiency. They have a bunch of great resources for home owners and renters.