If you're concerned about lowering your energy bills this cold season, you may take steps to insulate your home against cold air leaks. But one of the places you might not think to secure against cold air leaks is your garage's door. If the door's threshold or bottom isn't sealed or insulated properly, cold air can enter the garage and displace the heat inside it, which may increase your expenses. Here's how cold air leaks affect your garage door in the winter and what you can do to stop it.

How Can Cold Air Leak Into Your Garage?

Sources recommend that you seal or insulate your home against cold air infiltration in the winter. Leaking windows, doors and flooring may allow cold outdoor air to seep into your house over time. If your garage attaches directly to your kitchen or another room in the home, cold air can seep into it and affect your energy expenses. Unless you check or use the garage regularly, you might not notice that it has a cold air problem.

One of the first things you can do to secure the garage against cold air leaks is check its door for loose or damaged weather seal. Weather seal typically comes in rubber or another type of synthetic material and is designed to "seal" out hot and cold air, water and insects. Over time, rainwater, heat and dirt can damage, wear away or degrade the material, which allows hot air to leak into the garage in the summer and cold air to seep into it during the winter. Replacing the seal helps eliminate the issues above.

How Do You Replace the Seal?

Before you attempt to replace the door's weather seal, examine the quality of your garage door springs. You want to ensure that the door is safe enough to work on when you replace the seal. Sometimes, garage doors experience problems with their springs that may make dangerous during maintenance repairs or regular use. If the door squeaks or sticks in place whenever you lift and raise it, or if the springs appear cracked or disconnected from the door, contact a garage door specialist to help you complete your task.

If the door springs appear in good repair, you move forward with the task at hand. First, purchase weather seal or stripping material that meets the specifications given in your door's owner's manual. If you can't find the right brand, you may use universal stripping made for all types of garage doors. You should make sure that the universal weather seal is the exact length and thickness of the door's bottom, or it might not keep out cold air properly.

Also, obtain a 3- to 4-inch wide strip of threshold seal. It's generally recommended that you replace the threshold seal whenever you change the door's weather seal. If the weather seal is damaged, the threshold seal may also have issues. At any time that you have problems finding what you need, stop and contact a garage door contractor for assistance. It's important that you replace both seals correctly.

Once you have everything you need, move everything within the door's vicinity to another location. You need a clear area to work in. Next, use a screwdriver to remove or pry the old weather seal from the garage door, then discard it. Use a dry cloth to wipe down the length of the door's bottom to clean it. Place the new stripping on the door, then proceed with the threshold. Some sources recommend that you remove oil and other debris from the threshold before you install the seal. If the threshold seal doesn't fit properly, use a thin knife or cutting tool to trim it, then secure the seal with glue. Your garage door is now ready for the cold season.

If you need additional help with your garage door, consult with a contractor, such as American Eagle Garage Doors, today.