Checking for and Eliminating Drafts

by April Reinhardt
(last updated April 24, 2019)

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. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Waterproofing Your Basement

While waterproofing your basement yourself may save you money, it can be laborious. If you don't address the source of ...

Discover More

Removing Hard Water Stains from Fiberglass

Fiberglass is easily scratched and etched, so before attempting to clean it of hard water deposits, read the precautions ...

Discover More

Removing Tile Adhesive from Tile

While you could remove old tile adhesive from tile with steel wool or a putty knife, you take the chance of scratching or ...

Discover More

Cordless, Compact, and Powerful! DeWalt's 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design. A great addition to the tool chest of any professional or DIYer! Check out DeWalt 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Heating Up a Cold Room

While it is tempting to do so, there are other ways of heating up a cold room besides turning up the thermostat. Try a ...

Discover More

Maintaining a Central Air System

During the hot summer months, a working central air system can literally be a lifesaver. That is why proper maintenance ...

Discover More

Maintaining an Oil Furnace

Many people forget about maintaining their furnaces until it is too late. The best time to get your maintenance done is ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 - 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)