It's easy to tell when your home needs some extra protection against the weather - there's a chilly draft somewhere. When your garage isn't completely sealed from the outdoors, however, it can be a little more difficult to determine. Many people, after all, expect their garages to be drafty. Garages typically are not heated, and there's less insulation.
You may not spend as much time in your garage, but just because no one sleeps there doesn't mean it doesn't have to be sealed against the cold. In fact, your garage may be the largest area of heat loss in your home for the simple reason that you haven't thought about weatherstripping it. By allowing your garage to remain drafty and cold, your home's heating system ends up working overtime to counteract the heat being lost through the garage. At the same time, water and debris can find their way into the garage, too.
Your garage door can be the biggest culprit when it comes to losing heat through the garage. If there are any gaps between your garage door and the floor, the heat your furnace is generating could be indirectly slipping out underneath that door. The rooms that share walls with the garage won't retain heat for as long, which means you are wasting money as the furnace kicks back on sooner.
If you're concerned about heat loss through your garage, it might be worth determining whether your home could benefit from garage door weatherstripping. Before you invest in a garage door threshold seal or another form of weatherstripping, however, it's a good idea to check around your garage for signs that the door does indeed need weatherstripping.
Checking Your Garage Door
The first thing you should do to determine whether your garage door could use some new or additional weatherstripping is to conduct a quick visual inspection. Look for any gaps anywhere around your garage door where warm air can escape and cold air can get into your garage. The best way to conduct a visual inspection of your garage door is to stand inside your garage with the lights off during a sunny day. If you see any daylight anywhere along the bottom or sides of your garage door, it means your garage door needs more protection. If you don't see any light peeking through gaps in your garage door, that's a good sign - but it doesn't mean you're done.
Even if you don't see any obvious gaps between your garage door and the garage, it's a good idea to double-check by feeling around the seams with your hands. If you can feel a draft anywhere, that means there's a space for air to get in or out of your garage, which means your garage isn't as energy-efficient as it should be.
Checking Your Existing Weatherstripping
Your garage door may already have weatherstripping along the bottom to prevent heat loss, but that doesn't mean your garage will be protected forever. You should inspect your garage door's weather seals at least once a year to make sure they're still in good shape.
Check your garage door's weatherstripping for any signs that it might be sagging or peeling away from the bottom of the door. Any cracking or flaking visible along the weatherstripping is a good indicator that it's time to replace it. Even if your weatherstripping is cracked, flaking or sagging in a single location along your garage door, that means it's not doing its job properly and is allowing warm air to seep out of your garage. Meanwhile, rainwater, debris and even rodents can find their way into your garage.
While you're looking at your garage door's seals and weatherstripping, take time to check around your doorjambs and header. Even if your seals and weatherstripping are in good shape, they won't do much good if they're attached to wood that's rotting or cracked.
It might not be as easy to tell if your garage needs weatherstripping as it is to determine whether rooms inside your house are vulnerable to heat loss, but it's no less important. Checking your garage door for the signs that it needs new weatherstripping is an important step to take during cool weather, because a drafty garage is more than uncomfortable - it's potentially a waste of money, too.