Checking for and Eliminating Drafts

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 8, 2015)

Have you ever found yourself on the couch on a cold night, ready to watch your favorite movie on TV, only to become distracted by cold currents of air? Unable to concentrate on the movie plot, you soon stop the DVD player, forego watching the movie and, instead, spend the remainder of the evening investigating the source of the cold draft.

If you find that your home is drafty, it is more than a mere inconvenience. Drafts caused by air coming in through loose window and door seals, and ill-fitting insulation within walls and around pipes, can raise the cost of your energy bills. Follow these guidelines for checking and eliminating the drafts in your home and remove the inconvenience, while also lowering your bills:

  • Doors. Inspect all outside doorframes, including thresholds. When I stand in our kitchen and look at our front door during the day, I can see daylight between the threshold and door. To cut down the draft during winter and to save the loss of cold air during summer, we place a rolled blanket at the bottom of the door. Optimally, however, the threshold should be replaced.
  • Windows. Examine all windows for drafts. Hold a feather in front of the frame to detect breezes and caulk or install weather stripping as needed to cut down the draft. Take care not to caulk the window permanently shut, however. Window treatments with layers can also be fashionable and not just functional. Hang heavy drapes or curtains at drafty windows, using several layers, if necessary.
  • Fireplace. If you have a fireplace, check for drafts around the unit. Make sure the flue is completely shut, except when you have a fire burning. If you do not use your fireplace, stuff the damper with insulation or a rolled rag.
  • Outside. Install storm windows instead of screens or replace old windows with energy-efficient, double- or triple-paned windows.
  • Air conditioners. During cold weather, remove window air conditioners. Even if you cover the air conditioner, cold air can still circulate through the vents. Removing the machine and closing the window can easily eliminate the draft.

Some other measures for eliminating drafts include insulating attics and crawl spaces, shutting off unused rooms, installing plastic sheeting over windows (both inside and out), using caulk around ceiling fixtures such as lights and fans, sealing vents and ductwork, and sealing the cracks around your dryer vent.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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