If you are like most Americans today you have been experiencing sticker shock every time you open up your monthly utility bill.
One way you can lower your energy bill is to weatherize your attached garage. It is not as complicated as it sounds.
What follows are some simple garage weatherization tasks that you can do to help reduce heat loss and thus reduce your utility bills.
A Word about Types of Weather Stripping
There are several different types of weather stripping materials. First and foremost, weather stripping should not be confused insulation, which is done primarily to walls and ceilings. Weather stripping is what is done to doors and windows.
Each type of weather stripping material has its own advantages, disadvantages, uses and price points.
The more expensive weather stripping materials are interlocking metal strips, door shoes, sweeps and thresholds. Despite their above average effectiveness and high durability factor they do require some skill to install and do not always work on all applications. For example, interlocking strips can only be used on doors and casement windows.
Moderately expensive weather stripping materials are spring metal and rolled vinyl and felt. Both perform well over time but do require the use of snips or strong scissors during installation.
The least expensive weather stripping material is self-adhesive foam. Though the self-adhesive foam is the easiest to install it is also the first to fall apart. The adhesive backing has a tendency to lose its sticking power quite easily and in the long run can end up being more expensive due to frequent replacement costs.
To perform basic weatherization tasks on your garage you will need to assemble the following materials;
• Weather stripping of choice
• Neoprene gaskets
• Exterior caulk
• Caulking gun
• Scissors or snips depending on the weather stripping chosen
• Clean microfiber cloth
• Phillips head screw driver
• Flat head screw driver
Conduct a Heat Loss Investigation
There are several traditional areas that heat escapes from in an attached garage and all will need to be carefully investigated.
First examine the bottom of the garage door both inside the garage and out. In order to prevent heat loss the door’s threshold should be flush against the concrete pad or driveway. If the garage door is not flush as it should be, you will want to install weather stripping on the bottom of the garage door.
Secondly, look at the panels on the garage door. Make note as to whether they are sectional raised panel doors or flush panel doors. Though both variety of doors leak air, the type of door will determine where you should check for leaks.
Sectional raised panel doors tend to leak air around both the joints and hinges whereas flush panel doors tend to leak at the tracks, rollers, joints and hinges.
Sometimes the only thing between an air tight seal and a panel door regardless of the variety is residual dirt. To eliminate this potential problem be sure to regularly wipe down, re-tighten and re-lubricate hinges, tracks and rollers as needed.
If residual dirt and grime is not the issue you may need to invest in neoprene gaskets. When applied correctly neoprene gaskets will tightly seal your garage door’s panel joints.
If you determine that neoprene gaskets are needed be sure to take a sample of your garage door’s paint color with you as nowadays they come in assorted colors designed to match most garage door finishes. You will want to get the closest color match available of course.
Thirdly, close the garage door and inspect the top and side door jambs. Do this both from inside the garage door and from outside in the driveway. If there appears to be air escaping from the top and or bottom door jambs you will want to apply weather stripping there as well.
Fourthly, if your garage and or garage door has windows you will need to inspect the window pane, glazing or stick-on-molding as well as the joints between the window casings. Replace any broken or cracked glass. Glazing and or molding should also be replaced if needed.
In the event of heat loss at the window casing area rectify it with an ample bead of exterior caulk. Caulk should be applied with the assistance of a caulk gun and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Purchasing and Installing the Weather Stripping
The amount of materials and type of installation method will be determinate on the type of weather stripping material chosen and the amount of surface area that needs to be covered.
A safe rule of thumb when determining how much weather stripping is needed is to carefully measure the areas in need of repair and then add 10 to 15 percent to that measurement as a waste allowance.
Once you have decided on what type of weather stripping you need and how much of it is needed you can begin installing it in your garage’s afflicted areas.
As this article is not intended to be an exhaustive dissertation on weather stripping and covering the installation of every type of weather stripping herein would be just that, let it just be said that manufacturer’s instructions should be followed on whichever weather stripping material is chosen.
Those wishing to gather more information about weather stripping and insulating an attached garage should contact their local weatherization expert or home improvement specialist.
Furthermore, for those Do-It-Yourself types, there is also a plethora of information online about the various weather stripping and insulation materials available today as well as directions on how to install them.