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75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Cost – Part 4

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

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This Is Part-4 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-1: AlsPlumbing.com 50 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs Part-1

Lower Cooling Cost — 75+Ways.  This is Part-4 Of Our Article About How To Lower Cooling Expense Without Replacing Your HVAC System. 

NOTE: Most of these efforts also Lower Heating Bills.  

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.


What’s Discussed In Part-4:

  7. Where Homes Leak (the most) Air — Continued. 

  • Exterior Doors
  • Pocket Doors (slide into the wall)
  • Windows
  • Electrical Outlets & Switches.
  • PLUS: The Products Needed To Seal The Most Common Air Leaks.

Where Homes Leak (the most) Air.

Close The Holes To Lower Cooling Cost (& heating cost).

Continued From Part-3:

  • 11%  Exterior Doors.
  • 10% Windows.
  • Windows leak along the; top, sides, & bottom of moving sashes.
  • Sashes are moving windows.   If both the upper & lower sash move — the window is called “double hung”.
  • Some window’s upper sash doesn’t move.  Those windows are called “single hung”.
  • Single-hung windows are more air-tight than double-hung (because the upper sash is sealed on 3 sides).
  •  2% Electrical Outlets & Switches

Source: U.S. Department Of Energy (DOE)

Older Exterior Doors Often Leak Tremendous Amounts Of Air

Lower Cooling Cost By Updating Weatherstripping — Details Below.

door weatherstip

Click Below To See A Thermal-Image Of Cold Air (dark blue in the image) Leaking Into A Home At An Exterior Door:

Thermal-Image Of Exterior Door Leaking Air — Before & After The Door’s Threshold Was Replaced

As exterior doors age — their weatherstripping typically needs to be repaired/replaced.  If you can see daylight around doors — the weatherstripping needs work.  Below, we go into detail about where doors’ most common, age-related air leaks occur — and how to fix them.

Door Threshold —  For Air Leaks Under An Exterior Door

Air can leak around all 4 sides of a door.  The most likely location is under the door.  This is because most exterior doors have thresholds with rubber seals.  Over time, the rubber begins to fail & leak.  You can lower cooling costs (and heating costs) with a new rubber strip — if you see daylight under the door.

TIP: To see if there’s daylight under a door — you’ll need to have your head even with the floor.

Below are 2 common exterior door thresholds.   In most cases, the threshold & rubber strip are only sold together.  If all you need is the rubber strip, it pulls out of the new threshold — you often don’t need to replace the metal part.

TIP: Replace a door threshold with the same style.  Otherwise, the new one will likely not fit correctly.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: Raised Exterior Door Threshold With Rubber Seal.  These are more common in homes with basement/crawl space.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

 

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN:  FLAT Exterior Door Threshold Without Rubber Seal.  These are more common on homes built on a slab foundation.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

TIP: Many homes (built on a slab) — have a flat door threshold like the one shown just above.  If your home has a flat threshold — Install A Door Sweep (shown just below) to seal leaks at the bottom of exterior doors.  You will lower cooling costs (& heating cost) tremendously by closing any gaps under exterior doors.

For Air Leaks At The Bottom Of An Exterior Door — A Door Sweep Can Lower Cooling Cost

TIP: Buy a Door Sweep that has the rubber seal held in place with a metal strip — and attached to the door with screws (as shown below).  The one-piece, stick-on versions tend to come off.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN:  Metal Exterior-Door Sweep With Rubber Seal.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

 

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN:  Wrap-Around Exterior-Door Sweep With Rubber Seals.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

TIP: This can sometimes replace a raised door threshold.

TIP:  These often won’t work with flat door thresholds because the gap under to door is quite narrow.  Use the Door Sweep shown above.

TIP:  These are great for interior doors — like to a basement/attic, or for unused rooms.

DOOR Weatherstrip Jamb —  For Air Leaks At The Top And/Or Sides Of An Exterior Door

Click Below To See  “Between The Door & Surround” (typically metal) Weatherstrip:

Between The Door & Surround (metal) Weatherstrip — During Installation

The Problem With Many “between the door & surround” Weatherstrip Products:  If the door isn’t perfectly aligned, or when the surrounding wood dries out during winter — these products often have gaps at some locations — while fitting tightly at other locations.

TIP: The product shown below works in addition to existing weatherstripping.  Leave the existing weatherstripping, between the door & the surrounding wood, in place.

TIP: Of the countless types of weatherstripping for the top & sides of exterior doors — this style has 2 distinct advantages.

  1. This is installed against the exterior side of the door (versus between the door and wood surround) — this allows you to leave existing weatherstripping.
  2. Compression Door Jams have V-Shaped rubber.  This style is more forgiving if the door isn’t perfectly aligned (top-to-bottom & side-to-side).
  3. Flat Profile Door Jams (discussed later) have a round edge.  They are notably more difficult to install if the door isn’t perfectly aligned.

Compression Door Jamb Weatherstrip (for top & sides of door). 

This Style Has a V-Shaped Rubber Seal Touching The Door.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN:  Exterior-Door Compression Weatherstrip With V-Shaped Rubber Seal — In White

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

The Same Product In Brown

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: Exterior-Door Compression Weatherstrip With V-Shaped Rubber Seal — In Brown.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

Here’s A Side-Profile Close-Up Of Compression Weatherstrip.

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: V-Shaped, Compression Rubber Seal.


AS COMPARED: A Flat-Profile Door Jamb Weatherstrip

This Style Has a D-Shaped Rubber Seal Touching The Door.

Here’s A Close-Up Of The Flat-Profile (D-Shape) Door Jamb Weatherstrip.

NOTE: This style looks a little nicer (because it’s smaller) — than a Compression/V-Shape Weatherstrip.  If you prefer this — check to know if the door is nearly perfectly aligned (top-to-bottom & side-to-side).   If the door is — this style works.

Installation Of The Products Shown Above

TIPS:

  • Weatherstripping a door is one of the easiest ways to lower cooling costs.
  • From Outdoor — with the door closed, press the rubber side slightly tight to the door’s surface.
  • With the weatherstrip held in place, screw it to the door’s trim — starting at the center.   Click on the image to see more installation details.

TIP: Don’t press this product overly tightly against the door during installation.  It causes the door to be difficult to get latched.


Weatherstrip A Pocket Door

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Pocket Door With Weatherstripping

Pocket doors slide into the wall.  Unless weather-stripped, there is a large gap; above, below, and along both sides of the door.  In newer homes, weather stripping was done by the builder.  In the photo above, you can see the (gray) weatherstrip along the left side of the door.

If there is no visible weatherstripping — you can close a quite large air leak by installing (self-stick) weatherstripping, above, below, and along both sides of the door.

Weatherstripping Along The Sides Of A Pocket Door

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Shown: Self-Stick Pile / Whisker Weatherstippping.

Note: There is a clear, plastic fin in the center of the whiskers.  It’s what prevents air movement through the whiskers.

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

TIPS:

  • Pile Weatherstrip comes in many thicknesses.
  • Measure the gap between the door and surrounding trim.  If the gaps are different sized, you will need 2 sizes of weatherstrip.
  • Choose the pile thickness that closes the gap — but not thicker than the gap.
  • If you choose a size that’s too thick, it will come loose when the door moves over it.
  • The weatherstrip shown above comes in many thicknesses.  All thicknesses are shown on the website page.
  • With the pocket door inside the wall — (pressing hard) stick the weatherstrip to the trim along the side of the door.

Weatherstripping Below A Pocket Door

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Shown: Foam-Rubber Weatherstippping.

Click On Image To: View Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

TIPS:

  • This type of weatherstrip comes in many thicknesses.
  • Measure the gap between the door and the floor.
  • Choose the thickness that closes the gap — but not thicker than the gap.
  • If you choose a size that’s too thick, it will come loose when the door moves over it.
  • The weatherstrip shown above comes in many thicknesses.  All thicknesses are shown on the website page.

Weatherstripping Above A Pocket Door

With the pocket door inside the wall.  Install (the same weatherstrip shown just above) between the top of the door and the metal track that guides it.  Stick the weatherstrip to the metal track.

  • This type of weatherstrip comes in many thicknesses.
  • Measure the gap between the door and the metal strip that guides it.
  • Choose the thickness that closes the gap — but not thicker than the gap.
  • If you choose a size that’s too thick, it will come loose when the door moves over it.
  • The weatherstrip shown above comes in many thicknesses.  All thicknesses are shown on the website page.

 

Pet Doors 

pet doorImage Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Pet Door

Click Here To See A Summertime Thermal-Image Of Heat Loss At A Pet Door: Pet Door Thermal Image

Note: Scroll Down To: “Animal Entry Doors”.

If The Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser: https://scotthomeinspection.com/blower-door-test-common-air-leaks

The thermal-image (link provide) shows the Pet Door yellow (warm) In A Cool Room (purple).  This image doesn’t consider air leaks, only thermal heat-loss through the Pet Doors

Older pet-doors are typically be notorious for leaking air.  Typically, they have a vinyl flap with a magnet at the bottom to help it close.  Most don’t have weatherstripping along the sides of the flap — and the magnet isn’t strong enough to stay closed on a windy day.

TIP: The only thing you can do, to reduce air leakage through an older pet-door — is to keep the sliding panel closed.

With new homes having become more & more energy-efficient — some companies now offer More Energy-Efficient Add-On Products.  The design advances of Pet-Doors are impressive.  We have shown a specific style of pet-door that nearly stops air leakage.

Some Styles Of Newer Pet Doors Have Solved The Air Leakage Problems

The Style Shown Below Has A Solid (clear) Plastic Flap That’s Weatherstipped On 4 Sides

4 Available Sizes Are Shown.  Additional Sizes Available. 

Small: 7.1 X 9.2



Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Shown: Inexpensive Pet-Door With Solid Plastic Flap That’s Weatherstripped, Rain-Resistant, & Lockable.

Click On Image To; View Small 7.1 X 9.2” Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (Directly from this site)

TIP: Click On The Image To View A Demonstration Video Of This Pet-Door


Medium: 9.9 X 9.2

Click On Image To; View Medium 9.9 X 9.2” Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (Directly from this site)

TIP: Click On The Image To View A Demonstration Video Of This Pet-Door


Large: 11″ X 9.8″

Click On Image To; View Large 11 x 9.8″ Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (Directly from this site)

TIP: Click On The Image To View A Demonstration Video Of This Pet-Door


Extra Large: 16.7 X 11.7

Click On Image To; View Extra Large 16.7 x 11.7″ Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (Directly from this site)

TIP: Click On The Image To View A Demonstration Video Of This Pet-Door

TIP: If You Need A Larger Size — Look For This Style With Weatherstripping & Solid Plastic Panel (versus a vinyl flap).

 

 

 

Windows

unlocked window with gap between sashes

Image Source: Shutterstock

TIP: Unlocked windows have a gap between the lower & upper sash.


Lower Cooling Cost (& heating) By Reducing Windows’ Air Leakage

By Keeping Them Locked When Closed

TIP: Unlocked windows have a gap between the upper & lower sashes.  This gap allows sashes to move — without damaging the weatherstripping.

TIP: Locking windows also reduces outdoor noise entering the home — through that same gap.

photo of home windows from outside

Click Below To See A Thermal-Image Of Cold Air (dark blue) Leaking Into A Home At SINGLE-Hung Window (upper sash doesn’t move):

Thermal Image Of Single-Hung Windows Leaking Air.

You will see a lot more cold air (purple) at the bottoms of the windows — than at the top.  This is because the top sash is sealed on 3 sides.

Click Below To See A Thermal-Image Of Cold Air (dark blue) Leaking Into A Home At DOUBLE-Hung Window (upper sash moves):

Thermal Image Of Double-Hung Windows Leaking Air

In this thermal-image — you see cold air (purple) around all edges of both the upper & lower sash.

NOTE: We show the images of Single-Hung & Double-Hung Windows To Demonstrate:

  • Double-Hung windows are likely to leak more air (because the upper sash moves).
  • Single-Hung windows are likely to leak less air (because the upper sash is sealed on 3 sides).

Click Here To View An Image Showing Both Double & Single Hung Windows: Single Versus Double Hung Window Diagram


Replace “Pile” Weatherstrip Along The Sides / Top / Bottom Edge (of moving window sashes)

NOTE:  A Plastic-Fin Is Centered Within Wool Pile Weatherstrip.   The wool pile can look great — but if the plastic-fin is worn or damaged, air leaks occur.

NOTE: The Plastic-Fin Is Visible In The Video Below.

NOTE: Non-Moving Sashes Are Sealed Along The Top & Sides.  If you feel air leaking — add caulk or weatherstrip-tape over that area.

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

SHOWN: How To Replace Wood Pile Weatherstrip

NOTE: Pile Weatherstrip Comes In Various Sizes.   For success in changing any window weatherstrip — you must buy an identical replacement product.


Replace The Rubber Weatherstrip Under The Bottom Sash To Lower Cooling Cost

Wool pile weatherstrip is often used along the inside edge (facing toward the room) of the lower sash.  Additionally, most windows have a Rubber Seal under the lower sash.   This is because pile weatherstrip would crush if used under the sash.  It has assorted labels; Bulb-Seal,  Bubble-Seal, Tubular Vinyl, Sash Weatherstrip, and other names — but it’s the same design.

Click Here To See A Similar Rubber Seal — In Place On A Window: Rubber Seal At Bottom Of Window

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video Link.

Shown: Replacing Rubber Seal.

Note:  Although the window style shown in this video is different — The Replacement Methodology Is The Same.

 

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: Rubber Seal That’s Installed Under The Lower Window Sash.

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

NOTE:  This Rubber Seal Comes In Different Sizes (& in various shapes).   For success in changing any window weatherstrip — you must buy an identical replacement product.



On A Side Note: Affordable Replacement Windows For DFW Homes

Note: To Skip This Section — Scroll Down To The Next Double Lines

1970's built home

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: A Typical 1960s–1970s DFW Home

If Your Home Has Aluminum Frame Windows (gray metal) — With Single-Pane Glass (most older DFW homes had these when built)

Replacement Windows Can Lower Cooling Costs Tremendously With Their Solar-Heat Reflecting, Low-E Glass (discussed below).

Additionally, New Windows Notably Reduce Outside Noise Entering The Home

NOTE: We Don’t Receive Compensation For Mentioning Window World.

This article’s author has personal experience with Window World (brand) windows.   They Sell & Install; quality, custom size, replacement, vinyl windows with ENERGY STAR® rated Low-E glass (required in Texas) and Argon Gas between the panes.

The standard windows are white on the inside & outside OR you can choose (optional & extra charge):

  • 8 exterior colors
  • 5 interior colors — almond, and woodgrain-look in; light oak, medium oak, and cherry.
  • Window World SolarZone Elite glass has a green tint.
  • Window World SolarZone Sunshield glass has a blue tint.  We could not determine if this glass style is available in Texas.

https://www.WindowWorldDFW.com/free-estimate/?kw=window-world&src=g&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgYzh8YjB9wIVxxPUAR1tcQTqEAAYAiAAEgI4vvD_BwE

This YouTube Video Demonstrates Window World’s 4000 Series Window

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

SHOWN: Window World 4000 Series Window — Demonstration

Texas Requires Home Windows To Have A Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) Of 0.25 (or higher) SHGC In Nearly The Entire State. 

(In the northern part of the panhandle, SHGC must not exceed 0.40.)

  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is a number that tells how much of the sun’s heat the glass will block (from entering the home).
  • SHGC = 0.0 to 1.0 — The lower the SHGC number — the better the glass reduces heat coming through it during summer.
  • Window World windows sold in Texas have Low-Emissivity (Low-E) glass — that complies with Texas’ Building Codes.
  • Low-E glass is covered in an invisible metallic coating.
  • During Summer: Low-E glass reduces BOTH Infrared Light (creates heat) and Ultraviolet Light (causes sun-bleaching) entering through your windows.
  • During Winter:  Low-E glass reduces heat loss from your home through the glass.

Source: http://www.texaswindowsinitiative.com/code/code_req.asp

Source: https://www.peakcustomremodeling.com/solar-heat-gain-coefficient/



Weather Sealing At Light Switches & Electrical Outlets

1st: Seal Any Gaps Between The Electrical Box And The Wall With Caulk.

 

 

2nd: Install A Foam-Rubber Gasket — To Stop Air Leaking In Around Outlets & Light Switches:

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: Foam-Rubber Gasket That Surrounds Outlets Or Light Switches

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

NOTE: These Products Are Offered In Many Different Quantities.

Note: This Gasket Product Has Punch-Outs For; a standard light switch, wide light switch, standard electrical outlet, and wide (GFCI) electrical outlet.

 

 

3rd — Add A Child-Guard Outlet Cover — To Prevent Air Leaking Through An Outlet’s Openings:

 Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: Child-Guard Safety Cover For Electrical Outlet

Click On Image To; View Product, Read Details, or Purchase from Amazon.com

NOTE: These Covers Are Offered In Many Different Styles.  The one shown has a TAB — to make it easy to remove.

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50+ Ways To Lower Cooling Expense – Part 4

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

This Is Part-4 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-3: AlsPlumbing.com 50 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs Part-3

Lower Cooling Cost — 50+ Ways.  This is Part-4 Of Our Article About How To Lower Cooling Expense Without Replacing Your HVAC System.   This part is focused on; outdoor air leaking into the home, homeowner actions that contribute to higher cooling & heating costs, testing a home for air leakage, and attic & wall insulation levels in Texas homes over the years. 

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.