Draft; the word alone is enough to send shivers up the spines of most homeowners (no pun intended). Come to think of it, this is a pretty accurate saying, because that is exactly what drafts do. These have got to be one of the most annoying problems one can encounter. They happen to the best of us, and can oftentimes unfortunately do get the best of us. After spending what can seem like an eternity of searching, the air is still coming in from somewhere. Sound familiar? Before you call it quits, there are some helpful tips you can utilize to get rid of that draft problem once and for all. This is not a job for the lazy or unmotivated though, especially if you live in a larger home (more potential for air leaks).
In order to get rid of the issue, you should be prepared to perform a thorough inspection of all your doors, windows and any other areas where the draft could be coming from (cracks, holes, attic, basement, etc.). It is always a good idea to keep your eyes on the prize; for motivational purposes, just know that a draft-free home is one that feels more comfortable and which saves you a lot of money. Energy-efficiency is one thing every homeowner needs to take seriously, because it can have a serious impact on your bank account at the end of the day. That being said, here is what you need to know about how to detect, fix and prevent drafts once and for all.
What to do if you have a Draft Problem
- Manually inspect every possible culprit area; walk through your house and pay close attention to any hot or cold zones (i.e. near windows and doors).
- Run your hand around the edges to see if you can feel air coming through. If you are unsure or if the draft appears to be undetectable, hold a lighter near the crevices. If the flame goes out, you know air is leaking.
- Buy a tube of caulking and insert it around the entire base of the window/door frame. Bear in mind that even newer energy-efficient windows are known to have draft problems caused by insufficient or poorly installed caulking. Another great product to use is rope caulk. This simply unravels and can be rolled down the frame as you go along.
- Shrink wrap your windows; plastic film is always a popular option, but bubble wrap actually works better. It has been found to greatly increase R-values and is cheaper than most commercial sealing kits. In addition, it is very easy to install and take down. Simply spray the surface with a small amount of water; the wrapping will stick and can easily be pulled off later on.
- Weather strip both doors and windows. For the base of your doors (common draft problem-areas) you can buy a foam barrier or cut a piece of fabric the width of the door. Be sure to leave enough slack so the cloth touches the floor.