­­Rising energy costs can make a cold, drafty house a misery that grows increasingly expensive. Sealing your home with tight-fitting weather stripping can make you feel warm all winter long. You'll also enjoy the lower utility bills.

If you had a 6-inch-square hole in the middle of your front door, you would certainly do something in order to plug it up. Yet there are thousands of homes in which a 1/8-inch-wide crack exists all the way around the door, and this gap is just about the equivalent air loss of that 6-inch-square hole. Letting these cracks exist is like throwing dollars out the door or window. Fortunately, weatherstripping can reduce your heating/cooling bills by as much as 30 percent while reducing drafts that can cause discomfort.

Your home may or may not need weather stripping. Luckily, there are some very simple ways to find out. If you can feel cold air coming in around doors and windows on a windy day, you know the answer. If you are uncertain, you can create your own windstorm at the precise spot where you suspect air might be leaking. Go outside with a hand-held hair dryer and have a helper inside move his or her hands around the door and/or window frame as you move the hair dryer.

­ You may discover that all your doors and windows are airtight. Or you may find a door or window that is airtight around three edges but needs help along the fourth edge. What you will probably conclude, however, is that your home has several drafty areas that would benefit from weather stripping.

In this article, we'll show you how to install weather stripping on all parts of your house. We'll also examine the various types of weather stripping, which is our first order of business.