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Eliminate Air Leaks Around Windows And Doors

by Allison E. Beatty
Repair Home Columnist

Air leaks around windows and doors can cause plenty of frustration, not to mention higher energy bills. Even gaps as small as 1/8-inch can create major air loss. If you feel leaks in your house, here's how to eliminate them.

Check Windows and Doors

Older windows and doors - or those that were not properly installed - are a major source of energy loss. Look around your window and door trim for cracks or other openings. Caulk minor cracks between the window or door and surrounding trim to seal air flow.

Large holes should be sealed by cutting wood strips to fit the gaps or by redoing the framing around the window and door. This is a home improvement project that requires some carpentry skills to make it all look right. If you lack those skills, look for a contractor or handyman service that can do the job.

Weatherstripping for Windows and Doors

Weatherstripping can make a big difference in your windows and doors. You'll need to wash the area with soap and water, then apply foam weatherstripping by peeling off the paper back and sticking it in place. (Measure the various openings to determine how thick the material should be.) Add weatherstripping in these locations:

  • Door threshold - it should seal the space between the door and floor.
  • Interior of the door jam - you want moveable foam or rubber around the perimeter to seal the door when it closes.
  • Base of window and window well, as needed.


Window and Door Problems

If your windows and doors were not installed properly or are not a good fit for the space, consider buying new ones. All the quick fixes in the world will not deliver as tight a seal as new windows and doors. While this can be a sizable investment, it can payoff in reduced energy costs and improved home values. Also consider replacing windows and doors in stages to defer costs.

About the Author
Allison E. Beatty is a syndicated real estate writer who has been writing home improvement columns for 15 years.