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The 411 to help you DIY

Weatherizing: Don’t be afraid to do it yourself around the home

Posted: October 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Weatherstripping windows is a fantastic way to keep heating bills low in the winter. Doing it yourself saves even more money. Easy tips are included in this article.

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Anyone can be an efficient do-it-your-selfer around the home. It merely requires the right tools and a tried-and-true plan. The following two DIY project plans are perfect for the season, and come from www.Lowes.com.

Joi Jasmin, an assistant sales manager at our Saugus Lowe’s, added a couple of her thoughts to them.

Weatherstripping windows and doors is considered a “beginner level” project and maintaining your gutters is considered an “intermediate level” project.

Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping can save on heating and cooling costs. Jasmin said that it is important to seal up gaps and cracks where air can pass from the inside of your home to the outside.

“We have some very inexpensive suggestions for that,” she said. And, beyond weatherstripping, you should check your ducts and vents for openings. Lowes has two types of insulating foam available. A can of sealer for windows and doors is $5.42, and one for gaps and cracks is $3.42

Windows
The tools and materials needed for Weatherstripping windows include:
* Tools
* Utility knife
* Tape measure
* Hammer
* Self-adhesive foam insulation
* V-channel weatherstripping
* Finish nails

Lowe’s has various rolls of weatherstripping for sale, including a rubber type for $7.86 and a sponge rubber type for $5.97.
Weatherstripping windows is easy. However, there are different ways of weatherstripping double-hung and casement windows.

Double-hung windows require two types of weatherstripping. Casement windows only require one.

Double-hung windows: For double-hung windows, clean the bottom of the sash with soap and water and let dry. Cut the foam weatherstripping to length.

Peel the back from the foam. Press the adhesive side of the foam against the bottom of the sash to form a tight bond.
Clean the jamb with soap and water. Allow it to dry completely.

Cut two pieces of V-channel one-inch longer than each sash height.

Peel the back from the V-channel and work it between the sash stiles and the jamb. Press the channel firmly into the jamb.
Drive finish nails through the weatherstripping into the jamb to hold it securely. Test the sash to ensure it doesn’t catch on the nails.

Clean the back of the bottom sash with soapy water and allow it to dry completely.

Cut a piece of V-channel to match the width of the sash.

With the sash raised three to four inches, peel the back from the channel and press it firmly into the back of the sash, even with the top.

The V should open facing up so the weatherstripping compresses when the window is closed.

Casement windows: For casement windows, open the window and clean the outside of the stops with soapy water. Allow the stops to dry completely.

Cut self-adhesive foam to fit the top, bottom and sides of the stops.

Remove the back from each piece of foam and press it into the outside of the stops.

Doors
The tools and materials needed for weatherstripping doors include:
* Utility knife
* Tape measure
* Hammer
* Tin snips/side cutters
* Screwdriver
* Screws
* Self-adhesive foam weatherstripping
* Door sweep

Doors require two different kinds of weatherstripping: sweeps for the bottom and self-adhesive foam for the top and sides.
Clean the stop moulding with soapy water and allow it to dry completely.

Cut self-adhesive foam to fit each side and the top of the door.

Peel the back from the foam and press it into the inside of the stop moulding.

Cut the sweep to fit the door.

With the door closed, screw the sweep to the door so that its bottom is in contact with the floor.

Maintain your gutters
Gutters are necessary, even though they can be a bother. Jasmin said that they can get clogged with leaves and debris and sometimes the nails come out of the wood. The tools and materials needed for cleaning your gutters include:
* Ladder
* Bucket with metal hook
* Narrow gardening trowel or gutter scoop
* Garden hose
* Rags or paper towels
* Waterproof gloves

Gutters are usually made of aluminum, steel or vinyl. Old-fashioned gutters might even be copper or wood.

Wooden gutters require significantly more maintenance and are generally no longer used; still, they may be appropriate in certain historical or restoration applications.

Safety: Safety is the number one thing to be aware of when working with your gutters. Cleaning or attempting to repair your gutters from on top of the roof is risky business.

Working from the roof puts the gutter underneath your body, forcing you to reach below your center of gravity. Add to this the fact that many people get dizzy when trying to hang onto a footing that is not level, while eight feet or more off the ground. That scenario spells disaster waiting to happen.

Clean your gutters while standing firmly on a ladder.

Ladder: If you live in a single-story house, a good stepladder is appropriate to use to clean the gutters.

The ladder must be tall enough to get you up to where you need to be without having to stand on the top two steps.

Cleaning: Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year, preferably in spring and fall. If you can only squeeze in a single cleaning, do it after the leaves stop dropping in the fall.

Pick a good dry day. It will be more comfortable. Dry, loose leaves and small twigs can be removed with a handheld blower. Some blower manufacturers offer attachments especially for the purpose.

The tried and true grab and drop method works well too, and it requires no investment in equipment, electricity or gasoline.
Moisten buildups: You may encounter stubborn, caked buildups. If so, they may be more easily removed a little while after a rain, when they are damp instead of dry and hard.

Of course, you can always create your own rain with a water hose, but resist the urge to clean your gutters with water pressure.

It seems like it would be so easy, but you might pack debris tightly into the downspouts, and dirty water might splash all over your house.

Inspect: Inspect your gutters as you clean.

Look for corrosion, holes, leaking joints or loose, missing or bent hangers.

Mark problem areas with masking tape so you can find the problem spots quickly when you are ready to do the repairs.

Wear gloves to protect yourself from scratches, and have handy a garden trowel or gutter scoop, a whisk broom and a rag.
Put your tools in a bucket with a handle. The bucket should be fastened to your ladder with a wire hook. This will prevent you from having to juggle a lot of tools while climbing or descending the ladder.

It will also remove the temptation of stuffing tools into your pockets — a hazard if you should happen to fall.

Clean: Using a gutter scoop, start cleaning a stretch of gutter at the downspout area.

This is where debris usually collects, damming the water’s path to the downspout.

Work your way up the gutter, putting the collected debris into a bucket. (It makes great muck for the compost pile.)

It is a good idea to flush your gutters with a garden hose after you have cleaned them. This will show how well the gutters are draining and will indicate any areas that are holding standing water, which contributes to many gutter problems.

Preventing clogged gutters: Keep leaves, twigs and other materials out of your gutters by installing protective gutter guards.
There are several gutter guards to choose from:
* Solid gutter cover
* Hinged gutter cover
* Snap-in filter gutter guard
* 6 inch x 20 foot plastic gutter guard
* 3 inch downspout strainer

Premium hinged gutter guards (five to a pack, to cover 15 feet) made of galvanized steel are $10.54 at Lowe’s.

Plastic snap-in gutter filters come in three-foot long sections (brown or white) for $2.10 each.

Protective screens are also available to put inside the gutters to prevent debris from entering downspouts. This is a particularly good idea if your downspouts empty into drain lines, since it reduces the possibility that those lines will become stopped up.

Sealing gutter joints: If you discover a leaking joint in your gutters, caulk the joint from inside with gutter sealant.

If the joint has pulled loose, remove it completely and clean it before reattaching with sealant.

Lowe’s has OSI Micro Gutter Premium Sealer in 10.2 fluid ounce cartridges for $4.97. In 5.0 fluid ounce squeeze tubes it is $4.58.

Patching: When patching metal gutters, use a comparable metal (aluminum patch for aluminum gutter, for example). You can coat the patch with roof cement and pop-rivet it in place, or you can glue the patch in place with epoxy and coat the edges with roofing cement.

You can also patch metal gutters with fiberglass and epoxy or polyester resin.

Clean the area to be patched. Coat the edges of the hole with resin.

Position the fiberglass patch. Coat the fiberglass well with resin.

Regardless of the method you use, avoid creating large buildups that will reduce water flow in patched areas.

The Saugus Lowe’s is located at 26415 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus, CA 91350. The phone number is (661) 297-1400.

jwalker@the-signal.com

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