After a trip to the mailbox, you tear open that envelope from the gas company. Your eyes skim the bill before skipping to the bottom to see what you owe.

Okay – what?! You’re absolutely baffled at how this gas bill keeps climbing higher and higher. Every month, you’re shelling out more of your paycheck. 

If you can’t stand another sky-high heating bill, it’s time to insulate. It may seem insignificant, but even insulating the doors of your home can make a big impact on keeping in the warmth.

If you’re thinking your doors could use some insulation, this guide has several methods for keeping the warm air where it belongs – inside!

Insulated Front Door

Time to take a quick tour of your house. Locate any doors that access the outside. Typically, these are the front door, the back door, and a door to any attached garage. If you have any others, like a door to a balcony, those will need to be insulated too. Oh, by the way, you probably want to winterize any pet doors as well. 

I’ve covered 5 different methods of insulating a front door. Combine all 5 to make that door a real shield against the cold.

Method 1: Placing a Door Snake

This really shouldn’t count as a true method of insulation, but in a pinch, it will do the job. If you’re low on time, a door snake hardly takes any time at all.

Materials Needed:

  • A door snake

How to:

  1. Purchase a door snake, otherwise known as a draft stopper. If you’ve never owned one, you’ve surely seen one. There are fabric tubes people place at the bottom of doors. They can be made to match any decor. Some even look like cats, dogs, or other animals. 
  2. Place the door snake at your door. That’s it! The draft stopper will, as you can imagine, stop the draft from coming in. 

Method 2: Installing a Door Sweep

The above door snake method is a temporary solution. For truly lower heat bills, you need something more permanent. If your doors don’t have door sweeps, they are an easy and inexpensive way to keep out the cold.  A door sweep is a metal strip that attaches to the bottom of a door to seal the gap. 

Materials Needed:

  • Door sweep
  • Tape Measure
  • Drill

How to Install A Door Sweep:

  1. The door sweep kit you purchase will likely have its own set of instructions. Even so, door sweep installation is relatively universal. To start, measure the length of the bottom of your door (interior side!) using the tape measure. 
  2. 2. The material in the kit will be longer than you need, so you’ll need to cut it for your door. Remember, measure twice, cut once! Be careful of any pre-drilled holes in the door sweep. If you cut off any, you may have to drill your own hole.
  3. 3. Place the door sweep against the door. Using the holes in the door sweep as your guide, mark points on your door with a sharpie or a pen.
  4. Place the door sweep to the side and drill holes into the marks you just created.
  5. Your door sweep kit will include screws. Time for the screwdriver! Twist in the screws and attach the sweep to the door.

Method 3: Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping takes the door sweep one step further. Instead of sealing the bottom gap, you’re going to seal all of the edges of the door. Weatherstripping is sold in handy kits, which makes your job a whole lot easier. In the end, this project should only take around 10 minutes!

Man installing weatherstripping

Materials Needed:

  • Weatherstripping kit
  • Pliers
  • Soapy rag
  • Cutting instrument (scissors, saw, etc)
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Drill

How to Install Weatherstripping: 

  1. If it’s there, remove any old weatherstripping. With foam weatherstripping, you can remove it with your hands. For tougher materials, like aluminum or vinyl, use pliers.
  2. Clean the door jamb well with a warm soapy rag. You want a fresh surface to work with.
  3. Measure your door jamb. Make sure to get all edges (top, bottom, sides). 
  4. With your measurements, it’s time to cut your weatherstripping. With some materials, add an inch or so, because any excess can be cut off. With other materials, like steel, you’ll want to cut precisely once.
  5. If your stripping requires holes to be drilled, used the stripping as your guide and mark with a pencil where you’ll be drilling. Now you should drill the holes.
  6. You’ll want to consult your kit’s instructions to be sure how to attach your weatherstripping. For foam pieces, remove the adhesive backing and carefully stick the strips into the door jamb. It’s easiest to start from the bottom. For other materials, you’ll have to use the included screws. Using a screwdriver, tighten the screws into your stripping and the holes you drilled.

Method 4: Caulk

In terms of full insulation (and not just a door snake), this is probably the quickest and easiest method on this list. It doesn’t require any power tools and can be done in minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Caulk gun
  • Tube of caulk
  • Caulk remover tool or utility knife 

How to Caulk Your Door Frame:

  1. Before applying any new caulk, remove any remaining caulk from the door frame. You could remove it with your fingers if it’s loose enough. If you happen to have a caulk remover tool handy, use that. If not, a utility knife works just as well for removal.
  2. Turn your attention to the caulk and gun. Place the tube in the gun. To open the tube of caulk, cut an opening at a 45-degree angle. 
  3. If you’ve never used caulk before, this would be a good time to try a test. You can practice on a piece of cardboard or similar. 
  4. When you’re ready for the door, start from the top of the door frame and work your way down. Move slowly to apply the caulk, careful to apply a solid layer of caulk.
  5. When you’re done, moisten your finger from a faucet or just a damp paper towel. Run your finger across the caulk to smooth it. 

Method 5: Window Film 

If any of your exterior doors have glass, you’ll need this method. Heat can escape out the glass, so it’s worth it to insulate the windows! By the way, if the windows of your house are old, you may want to consider repeating this process on all of them.

Insulated front doors with window film

Materials Needed:

  • Window film kit
  • Window cleaning supplies 
  • Hairdryer
  • Utility knife

How to Install Window Film:

  1. Clean the glass portion or portions of your door. Wipe down the window and the sill. You’ll want it practically pristine before applying the film.
  2. Once they are sparkling, measure each window or windows. 
  3. On a flat surface, lay out the film. Don’t lay it out on the floor! Take your measurements and add 1 additional inch to the width and the length. Cut to those measurements. 
  4. Consult your kit’s instructions. Some film has an adhesive backing and others have two-sided tape. For those with backing, peel it off. With the tape, apply the tape to your window frame.
  5. Press the film to taut to the window. If your kit includes a squeegee, use it to smooth out any bubbles. If your film needs to be heated with a hairdryer, heat the entire window on a high heat setting from three inches away. 
  6. Once the film is secure, cut away the excess plastic. 

Conclusion 

When the temperatures drop outside, heating bills start rising. In order to battle the bill, your house needs to be properly insulated. In order to cover all your bases, you’ll need to take care of every door in your house. The front door, the basement door, the door to the garage – all need to be insulated. 

While you’re in the DIY mood, why not check out our other guides about cold weather projects?