We think it’s safe to say that winter has officially arrived in Vermont! What better time than after some of the first snowstorms of the season to realize your house isn’t as warm as you want it to be?! Having gaps or poor weather stripping around an outside door could mean you're losing up to 15% of the money you spend heating your home! Here is an easy do-it-yourself home project that will save you money on heating this year!
Weatherstripping, utility knife, screwdriver, wooden block or book, tracing paper and pencil, cardboard or playing cards, and scissors.
Now let's get started!
- You will first need to examine the weather stripping on the bottom of your door to see if there are any holes or worn areas. If so, pull the weather stripping toward the outer edge of the door until it completely releases from the grooves on the bottom. You will need to measure your old weather stripping then buy another piece that's slightly longer. Cut it to fit with a utility knife then push the barbs into the grooves of the bottom of the door until secure. Pry the old weather stripping from the inside of the door frame using a flat-head screwdriver. Buy new foam-filled vinyl-tube weather stripping and press it into the slots on the inside of the door frame. Insert on the top and both sides by pushing it in with your fingers.
- Now it’s time to check for other door gaps. You’ll do so by seeing if your door is square. If it’s square, you won’t see large gaps around the door when it’s closed. It’s easiest to see this in the sunlight, but if it’s dark, simply use a flashlight to see if there are any large gaps. If you do find a large gap, that means you need to shim a hinge (or two). You will need to determine which hinge needs to be shimmed. If your door hinges are on the left side and you see gaps appearing on the upper left side or lower right side of the door, you must shim the bottom hinge. If the gap appears on the lower left side or upper right side, shim the top hinge. The hinge that doesn’t get adjusted will now act as a pivot to angle the door correctly.
- Now that you know which hinge to shim, let’s go over how to insert them. Use a book or wooden block to place under the outer corner of the door while you work. Remove the frame screws from the hinge identified, but leave the hinge attached to the door. Use a piece of paper to trace the hinge cutout or mortise on the door frame. Use that to trace the template onto a thin piece of cardboard or a plastic playing card. Place the cardboard or playing card shim into the mortise and screw the hinge back into the frame over the shim. Close the door and see if the gap still exists. If it does, you may need to shim the middle hinge of the door as well as the top or bottom to create more of an angle.
Now that you are done weather proofing your door, you will save money on your heating bill and stay warmer through the winter! And bonus: it also helps keep the heat out and the cool air in, during the summer, so you'll be more efficient all year round!