How to make your home weatherproof
Weatherproofing a house is directly connected to waterproofing, damp proofing and insulating your home. The main objective of the four seemingly different topics is to keep moisture and cold air out while making your home more comfortable, dry and warm while at the same time making your home energy and cost efficient.
A well-insulated and weatherproof home would pay for itself by the reduction of the cost of heating and cooling. However, you should take note that even a well-insulated house has gaps between the window and its sill and between door and their jambs. Cracks might also be evident in building materials
The cooling and heating of your home could account for up 70% of your total electricity bill. If your house is not well-insulated and has no weatherproofing, then your energy consumption goes up. No amount of energy-saving ways can help reduce your energy consumption if the cracks and gaps in your house are not taken care of.
How to Spot the Weatherproofing Gaps
It is definitely hard to see minute cracks on joints and gaps in windows and doors. However, there are easy ways to do this. Check out your house using a flashlight. Be attentive to anything that leads to the outside of your house. Such areas like doorways and windows, vents and pipes lead from the inside to the outside wall. If you think you see some gaps, feel the area for air. One good idea to know if a supposedly sealed are has leaks is to light a candle in that particular area. When the flame dances in that spot, then air is leaking out and getting in.
Check even the light switches and outlets in and out of the house as they could also be sources of leaks. Vents and plumbing pipes used in plumbing are also susceptible to gaps that could let the air in and out of your home. Check the loft (if applicable) for gaps too. Make sure that there is no air movement in there. Check the frames of doors and windows including around fireplaces, pipes, vents and electrical cables and phone lines running in and out of your house. Remember that the whole point of weatherproofing is stopping air flow in places that you don't want air tight.
Course of Action for Weatherproofing
What do you have to do to weatherproof your house? The process entail procedures to protect you house from the elements. There are certain areas where you need to ensure tight seal in order for your house to be weatherproofed. First, make sure that all holes, gaps and cracks around windows, door, pipes, vents, cable holes and such are properly sealed by using a method best suited for the problem. Make sure you include in the sealing process recessed lighting fixtures that can leak air into the loft.
Seal air ducts with the use of fibre-reinforced mastic. The commercial grade duct tape will not do. You should also install or replace in exhaust ducts as they are exit and entry points for air.
For new constructions weatherproofing should be part of your house's foundation by installing waterproofing membranes, footing drains and integrating proper drainage system in the whole house by installing gutters with downspouts, proper sloping grading of the property, French drain, effective storm drains and other methods for a house's protection from surface and ground water. Proper ventilation is also recommended in unconditioned areas i.e., loft and basement, to minimize if not totally eliminate condensation.
For a more effective weatherproofing, install insulations in where you deem it is needed. Ask your contractor or architect for the best way to insulate your home. If your house is old and you are the one to do the insulation, there are roll insulations that you can buy and install yourself. For hard to reach places, spray foam insulation is best.
Install storm doors and storm windows. A storm door is an exterior door placed in front of an existing outside door for protection. Likewise with a storm window. You can have the storm doors and windows integrated with the architectural design of the house.
If you are not up to putting up storm windows and doors, then make sure that all doors and windows are tightly sealed. If not, you can opt replace drafty doors. For older windows, you can replace them with double-glazed windows.
Ways of Weatherproofing Your House
You can weatherproof your home by using different methods. Once you have identified the areas that need to be sealed and insulated, you can choose to do the weatherproofing yourself.
- Caulking - This process is a general term that applies to the process of sealing joints and seams. Caulking has been used to seal seams in boats or ships made of wood to make them watertight. Today caulking can be easily applied to seal window and doorway trims to ensure tight fit. It can also be used for vents and pipes.
- Weather Stripping -These are vinyl strips that are tape on gaps between doors and jambs, window and sills, to close gaps. The strips usually come on various widths of ¼ inch to ¾ inch.
- Insulation Foam - The type used for weatherproofing is spray foam. This is best used to fill gaps and cracks between walls and baseboards. Insulation foam is highly recommended to fill spaces between walls and floors, and holes for cables, electrical lines and faucets.
- Rubber Gasket Strip -This type of weather stripping is commonly used to keep out drafts in garage doors.
- Clear Plastic Sheathing - This type of sheathing looks like an ordinary cling wrap used in the kitchen. Basically, you only have to cover the whole window area with the plastic film and fasten the film with tape then use a blow dryer to warm the plastic sheathing.
Interior sheeting kits are becoming more and more popular in cold areas of the country. This plastic sheeting, which looks like Saran Wrap, comes in a roll that you spread over your window and then attach with double sided sticky tape and then warm with a blow dryer.
Weatherproofing your home doesn't have to be expensive, but it does need to be done if you want to save money, electricity and be comfortable no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.