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Ways to weatherize your home for winter

Seasonal Updated: September 10, 2021

Ways to weatherize your home for winter

Prepping for cold winter weather can help keep you comfortable, save on energy costs and also avoid potential damage to your home. Consider these DIY weatherization steps to address common trouble spots.

Replace weatherstripping

Weatherstripping involves sealing gaps around windows and doors so your home feels warmer in winter and you save on energy bills. If the weatherstripping around your doors is damaged, air can leak freely in and out of your home, creating drafts and wasting energy and money. You can use silicone rubber weatherstripping to permanently seal gaps and fix the problem.

What you’ll need:

  • Silicone caulk and caulk gun
  • Silicone rubber weatherstripping
  • Solvent cleaner (a solution that removes unwanted grease, grime and dust from a surface)
  • Pry bar (similar to a crowbar, a metal hand tool used to pull apart two objects)

These items should be available at most hardware and home improvement stores.

Start by examining your home’s exterior doors for worn weatherstripping. Once you’ve identified a door to work on, close the door and measure the gaps to determine what size silicone tubing you’ll need to use as your new weatherstripping. Then follow these steps:

  1. Remove old weatherstripping – Use a small pry bar to remove any nails and the old weatherstripping. Then fill in the nail holes and re-paint the door jamb (door frame) for the best-looking result.
  2. Use silicone caulk as adhesive – After cleaning, apply a thin bead of silicone caulk to the inside corner of the door jamb offset where you’ll be adding the new weatherstripping.
  3. Install silicone tubing – Press the silicone tubing into the caulked area, leaving room to trim off any excess with scissors. Make sure the tubing is pressed close together at corners and compressed well into the caulk for good adhesion.

Once your new silicone tubing is in place, your door will be airtight and ready to function like new.


When the caulk around your windows dries up, it can crack and allow cold air in during the winter. Feel for drafts around closed windows and seal any holes or cracks with caulk.

What you’ll need:

  • Damp sponge for caulk

For windows that open:

  1. Using a silicone-based caulk, follow the perimeter of your window frame where it meets the windowsill or wall with a thin bead of caulk. Silicone-based caulks offer more long-lasting stretch which helps with minor seasonal expansion and contraction.
  2. With your fingers or a slightly damp sponge, compress the caulk into the corner along the edge of the window frame to create a smooth clean seal.

For fixed (non-opening) and picture windows:

The glass of a fixed window can become loose in its frame over time. This can create drafts or small air leaks.

  1. Using a clear silicone, squeeze a thin bead of silicone along the corner where the glass meets the window frame along the entire perimeter of the window.
  2. With your fingers or a slightly damp sponge, compress the silicone into the corner to create a smooth, clean seal.
  3. If necessary, do the same around the edge of the window frame where it joins the wall or windowsill with caulk.

ENERGY STAR® also provides guidance on sealing behind trim, which requires a little more skill but can result in higher energy savings and increased comfort during cold winter months.

Other areas to keep an eye on

Outdoor faucets

In extremely cold temperatures, your outdoor faucets (hose bibs) can freeze up and cause pipes to burst. If the forecast looks frigid, shut off the interior water valve for your outdoor faucets, and disconnect and drain hoses. You can also purchase outdoor faucet covers at most hardware stores and use them as extra protection from frozen pipes.

Turning off the water to your home is also a good idea if you’re going on an extended vacation.


Does your home have exposed pipes in the basement, crawlspace, garage or attic? You may want to insulate with pipe insulation or newspaper to protect pipes from  freezing.

Pipe insulation is normally sold with a pre-cut groove allowing for easy installation. Make sure to buy the right size so it fits snuggly over your pipe (you can roughly measure with the diameter of the pipe with a ruler or tape measure). Secure the pipe insulation to the pipe with twine, corrosion-resistant wire or plastic compression ties. Tape is not recommended as it will break down over time.


Check gutters for leaves and other debris that can cause snow and water to accumulate. When water can’t drain properly off your roof, it can create extra stress and possible damage to the roof, facia board or siding.

Clean your gutters before winter and also make sure they’re secure. It’s important to do this before winter, when gutters will be tasked with moving water off the roof and away from the home more regularly than other seasons. Gutters can become loose over time. To make sure they’re secure, check for any sections that feel loose or are obviously wobbling. You can resecure gutters using plumbers tape strapping or screws.

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