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"Air Blows In The Hall, But The Door Is Tight." Door Weatherstripping

I've heard this phone call before - "Air blows in the hall, but the door is tight."  Door weatherstripping is something that gets looser over time, and can admit air.

The weatherstripping is an important part of the energy efficiency of any door.  And window!

The door itself is insulated metal, or insulated vinyl, or even wood, which is a good insulator.  And any surrounding windows will be double pane and be pretty efficient.

But the weak spot is the weatherstripping.

This is a thermal image of the bottom of the front door.

It is very interesting because the warmest temperature is about 70F.

Yet the weather outside is sunny and 28F.

Imagine how hot that space under the door is in July!!

Why is it so warm under the door?  Because it is 10am and the sun is shining directly onto the front door.  The door weatherstripping is weak.

There is no storm door, so the area is heating up from the direct sunlight.  But with a gap this large imagine how much heat is escaping when the sun is not on the door!  Remember, heat seeks cold, AND MOVES TOWARD IT.  With a gap this large, and when it's very cold outside, it would feel like cold air is literally blowing in from under the front door.

Yet, when facing the door, this gap is not visible.  The thermal camera shows it quite well though.

Sweeping the rest of the house I was able to show them similar situations with other doors where the same area under the door was cold.

A storm door outside the front door would enhance the energy characteristics of the space dramatically.  That space of dead air between the two doors is a great energy seal.  And controls the sun's heat!

My recommendation:  sometimes the simple answer is THE answer.  If you feel air moving, there is a reason!  It may not be obvious to the naked eye, but would be to a thermal camera.  So call a thermographer.  And remember, the side benefit is that all thermographers are really cute.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • March 11 2015 12:04AM

Comments

 Good morning Jay. I find a lot of times that the door is improperly installed and there is a gap around the weather seal. I do have to agree with you, thermographers are good-looking. 

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 3 years ago

This door is only 5 years old Michael and there is damage to the stripping.  But also, the door comes factory perfect (ideally) so installation is a big deal.  If imporoper, well, it's improper.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay, I agree that the problem is most often the installer. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker (Wayne M Martin) over 3 years ago

Yes, that can make a big difference.  bTW, I can't see the pictures.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 3 years ago

May be Wayne.  Nevertheless, the problem exists!

Debbie - I will post it again.  Sorry.  It was there when I first posted it!  I am having so many problems with this "new" system.  Try back later.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

There, fixed.  I hope.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

This post could not have came at a better time.  We are actually going Saturday and buying a door....  Now the decision is what color to buy

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 3 years ago

James - buy the one without the yellow stripe on the bottom!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

I just had a door installed in my garage that was leaking not only air, but water like a sieve.  Good timely information - thanks for sharing Jay

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 3 years ago

Could be any of a couple of things Jennifer, but I hope you called the installers back!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay,  It's something that I know needs work in my own home.  We had a new door installed in the basement and I think the strikeplate should have been installed a bit closer to the front of the door, the end result is the door isn't sitting tightly to the weather stripping.  I need to get the hole and plate moved up a bit, because finding larger weather stripping doesn't seem to be an option, at least not from the big box stores.  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 3 years ago

Bill - installation can be everything.  The unit usually comes very square and with cross members to hold it tight.  The installation can get it out of whack.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

This was one of the first things I did when we purchased our house 3 years ago.  I replaced all of the seals (side, top and bottom) on all exterior doors.  What a difference!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 3 years ago

Jay.... come to the light, come to the light, but leave that dang camera there! :-)

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

Stephen - and it would!  Weatherstripping not only doesn't last forever, but gets weaker all along.

Fred - I feel it!  Is it love?  Is that a voice?  Uh,oh - I think it's Wrench.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Some yeas back my in-laws could not understand the cold air they were feeling.  I tried to tell them the issue but was scoffed at.

 

So, I went over and just fixed it and they were surprised how warm their feet stayed.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 3 years ago

Amazing what a little strip of rubber can do, William!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

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