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Weather Stripping
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Homeowners everywhere are trying to discover ways to lower their monthly energy bills. Families usually resort to making sure lights and appliances are turned off when they are not being used, and that the thermostat is not being abused. What they don't know is that an estimated 60% of energy is used by heating and cooling.

By investing in weather-stripping, you will save the amount of money needed to pay for the cost of installation and continue to save afterwards. Also, weather-stripping will bring a greater sense of comfort to your home by trapping heat in the winter and cold air in the summer.

Air leakage is one of the top reasons for energy waste. Areas that require major weather stripping attention include all operable windows and doors, even doors leading to attics basements, and garages. Before you decide to weatherize these areas, certain elements must be carefully examined.

Weather stripping will not be as effective until you control all of your homes air leaks. Many of these leaks exist within the attic. However, an air leak can exist in any opening between your walls and floors. A professional insulation contractor can assist you in locating some of these hard to find air leaks.

Ventilation is another important factor to consider before weather stripping. Ventilation is essential because it relates to moisture control and indoor air pollution. Keep these aspects in mind before you begin to weatherize.

Once you have successfully located all of the areas in which you want to weatherize, you must then decide what kind of weather stripping to buy. Weather stripping is a resilient insulating strip of material placed around the joints of doors and windows to reduce air infiltration into the home. Generally, these strips are made from vinyl, metal, rubber, felt or foam. Each material varies in durability and cost.

Foam and felt strips are typically the least expensive. Unfortunately, they are not very durable either. Felt has a life expectancy of only 1 to 2 years. You should refrain from using these materials in areas that receive a lot of friction and exposure to weather. They are not moisture resistant materials.

Vinyl and metal are both durable materials that can handle heavy friction and abrasion. Vinyl tends to be more expensive than metal, foam and felt. It is also moisture resistant and easier to install. Metal, on the other hand, is both low in cost and extremely durable.

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