Keep cold out, save on your heating bill
Provided by
Cold air infiltration can be responsible for as much as 30 per cent of
your heating bill, so an investment in caulking and weatherstripping
can represent substantial savings.

Learn how to detect sources of cold air infiltration and fix them.

Start with a thorough inspection

Before caulking and weatherstripping, thoroughly inspect interior door
and window frames.

On a windy day, light up an incense stick and run it along the frames.
If the smoke flickers and dissipates, you've probably identified a
cold air infiltration source.

Take temperature readings in various areas of a room; if you find
differentials of more than two degrees, look for a source of

Reduced air circulation could also be the cause of your problem. If
you have reason to suspect that, check the air filter in your heating
system and call your heating specialist if you find the filter

Caulking windows and doors
Begin with the outside of the doors and windows. Remove old caulking
using a knife or a old chisel.

Re-caulk, using a gun and a silicone or polyurethane-based product.
For aesthetic reasons, apply a product you can paint over or one in a
colour that blends in well with the colour of your house.

Be sure to seal the entire joint or crack in a straight line. When
caulking storm windows, avoid caulking the vent holes so as not to
interfere with the release of excess humidity from inside the house.

Caulk the inside of your windows and of the window casements using a
temporary transparent silicone product. When spring comes, you can
simply strip off the caulking.

Note that some products release an unpleasant odour for a few days.
Caulk door frames with silicone, and don't forget to nail holes and
other openings.

Install weatherstripping on doors and windows

You can nail, glue or screw weatherstripping around doors and windows
to plug cracks, splits and gaps. Weatherstripping is especially
practical in older houses, and is available in a wide range of models:

Tubular vinyl: Designed for wood or metal doors and windows, it
provides excellent protection against cold air infiltration.
V-shaped vinyl: Ideal for sliding and hung-sash windows, in wood or metal.
Self-adhesive foam rubber: It can be used on wood and metal doors or
windows, but it loses its suppleness quickly. Its protection
capability is only average.
Wood strip and foam rubber: Can only be used on wood and metal doors.
Thanks to its self-adhesive strip, it's easy to install and is very
Wood strip and foam rubber: Can only be used on wood and metal doors.
Thanks to its self-adhesive strip, it's easy to install and is very
Magnetic : Use it on steel doors. Although excellent, its protection
against cold air infiltration is less effective in very cold weather.
A spring-loaded version, designed for wood and steel doors, provides
excellent protection and durability.
Door bottom: Available in metal or vinyl. Simply slide it under the
door and screw it into position.
Thresholds: Suitable for well travelled areas. Provide good protection.
Installing weatherstripping

It's relatively simple. For example, here's how you can easily install
tubular weatherstripping on a hung sash window.
Just staple it to the casement, with the tubular part on the outside
of the window. Or nail it using a tack hammer and small square-head

Tools you'll need to install different types of insulation include:
caulking gun, putty knife, square-head tacks, stapler and tack hammer.

Materials and hardware you might need, depending on the type of
weatherstripping employed: adhesive caulking felt, aerosol foam, clear
caulking, pre-formed plastic window well cover, rubber strip for the
garage door, silicone-based caulking sticks and step pad.

Unused windows

Available in most hardware stores, transparent film can be stretched
across windows with the help of a hairdryer and helps make windows
infiltration proof and increases their thermal resistance. But
remember that you must not use it on windows unless you are prepared
to do without them for the winter.

If you choose to use it, simply apply two-way tape to the window frame
or casement. Apply the film, which should be about 5 cm longer and
wider than the window, starting at the top. Use a hairdryer, set on
"high" to heat the film and stretch it over the tape. When the film is
tight and well stretched, cut the excess film with a knife.

Proceed in the same fashion with the basement windows. Or cover them
with a pre-formed plastic window well cover.

Garage doors

Check the rubber strip at the bottom of the door and replace it if
necessary. Attach the new strip with tacks or glue.

Air vents and other outlets

Outlets such as air and clothes dryer vents can be sources of
infiltration. You can minimize infiltration by applying a silicone
caulking around them. As for the garden water tap, spray it with an
aerosol insulating foam.

Other possible infiltration sources

Indoors, baseboards can be a problem because they do not stop air that
infiltrates between the floor and wall. To solve that problem, remove
the quarter round and spray a generous coat of low expansion spray
foam. To insulate electrical outlets and switches, remove the cover
and insulate it with felt.

Finally, be sure to keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use.

Spend a warm winter while cutting your heating bills with the right
caulking or weatherstripping anywhere cold air comes in.