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Winter Weatherproofing Tips

A few quick fixes will keep chilly breezes from seeping into the house. These three are sure to make you more comfortable this winter

If a Door Invites in a Breeze

Person adding weather strips to the bottom of a door. Photo by Anthony Tieuli

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva’s preferred method for sealing the bottom of an entry door requires routing a groove in the bottom edge to accept a silicone gasket that remains hidden from view (find various models at Conservation Technology). But he has also used an easier-to-install version, shown above, that works just as well, if you don’t mind seeing the sweep. A visible flange simply screws to the bottom face of the door and keeps vinyl fins pressed tightly against the threshold (U-Shape Door Bottom, $12; Home Depot).

For leaky basement doors, use a draft stopper that holds on to the back of the door, and tight to the floor, by means of clips or magnets. One to try: Evelots Clip On Door Draft Stopper ($18; Amazon).

If Your Windows Leak

Get fast relief by squeezing a bead of clear-drying temporary caulk around or between sashes—just be sure to use it in a ventilated area. Later on, when you get ready to fling open the window, pull up a corner of the caulk and it will come off in a single string, leaving the paint intact. DAP Seal ’N Peel, $5; Lowe's.

If You Want to Keep a Window AC Unit Where It Is

Air conditioners in walls or windows leave an open passage for cold air. The first line of defense can be a heavy-duty polyethylene and vinyl cover that you fit around the outside of the unit. We like Frost King's extra-large Window Air Conditioner Cover ($8.40; Home Depot).

If you still feel a draft, try this winter weatherproofing tip- wrap the inside grille and the sides with 2-millimeter-thick plastic sheeting and double-sided tape, or use a shrink-film kit, like M-D Building Products' Shrink & Seal ($4; Home Depot). Then add another layer inside with a quilted cover. Look for one that offers a snug fit with elastic or a drawstring, like CoverMates (from $10; Amazon).