Keep the Drafts Out
And the Warm Air In
As we approach the holidays we would like to give a few tips on how to keep your homes nice and cozy and save money on the heating bill while you are at it.
If your home feels like it never gets warm even though your HVAC system is constantly at work then it’s probably time to search for cracks and crevices where cold air is entering your home. We know Draft-proofing the house can often be a lot of work and occasionally a lot of money but we are going to try and keep the tips as simple as possible.
Remember to latch/lock all of your windows during the winter.
This may seem like a fairly obvious one but not everyone remembers to check that they locked their windows after letting in the fresh air during the summer and fall. While most windows these days will stay closed without a latch, making sure the latches are fastened actually does a lot to help keep your house airtight. A quick double check of all of your windows could save you months of warm air leaking out.
2. Make sure the weatherstripping on your doors is still functional
Taking a quick peek at your weatherstripping and making sure that there are no gaps is a must for a properly draft-proofed home. Often a quick tightening of a screw or a good wipe down of anything caught in the rubber or bristles can fix a lot of the problem. However if there are any rips or tears it may be time to replace some of the strips.
3. Cracks in the caulk
If you spot cracks in the caulk around your doors or windows you may want to consider replacing the damaged parts with new caulk. However if you are unable to do this immediately placing wool blankets over the site of the damage can help to keep the cold air out. Another option could be to get heavy curtains that reach down to the floor to help insulate the house and keep the cracks in the window caulk from releasing cold air into the rest of the house. While this may be a chore that takesa good amount of effort it shouldn't break your bank. A caulk gun often only costs around twenty dollars at Lowes while the caulk itself only costs around fifteen dollars per container (and unless you need to re-caulk your entire house, you should only need one).
4. Cracks, gaps and holes in the attic
One way to make sure your attic doesn't send cold air into your house is by insulating and weatherstripping the attic door. However another option may be to fill in gaps in the attic itself. If you have any leftover insulation lying around you can take pieces of this to plug up the edges of square holes with cylindrical pipes running through them (which is a pretty typical site in most attics). For smaller cracks you can also use caulk to fill the gaps but for larger cracks you probably want something more substantial like foam sealant.
5. Chimneys and Flues
Chimneys are often the source of drafts in the house. It can be hard to fully fix this issue if you plan on having a fire burning through the winter but it can be managed. When the fire is out it helps drastically to have an air tight door on the fireplace and being sure to keep this latched when the fire is not in use. It may also be worthwhile to keep a chimney stopper around especially if you only happen to have an open fireplace.
6. Any other entrance to the outdoors (Dog Door, bathroom/Kitchen fans, piping/elecrical in the laundry room etc.)
Lastly and entrance that leads from the inside of your house to the outside world should either be weatherstripped, insulated or repaired. This is probably one of the more expensive issues because most of these openings have a purpose that requires them to have access to the outdoors. Weatherproofing these things often takes a lot of time and effort and if they are letting in a draft they may need to be replaced for more weatherproof models altogether.
Overall draft proofing a house is usually a pretty big chore but if you go for the more permanent options then you won't have to worry about it every year, which may be worth the effort. That being said, if you are unable to take on such large tasks it can be perfectly easy to temporarily weatherproof just for the winter, just be sure to have some extra wool blankets, insulation scraps and a caulk gun on hand.