How to Detect a Draft in Your Home

Throughout the winter months to come, you might start to experience cold spots in your home. Not only will this have a negative impact on your comfort level, but it could also cause your furnace to work harder than it needs to keep your home warm.

When these cold spots occur, it’s a good idea to do some searching for drafts. Drafts are air leaks that allow hot air to escape and cold air to get in. The easiest way to find drafts is to simply walk around your home and look for them. Of course, knowing where to start can help you with this process and give you a clue as to where to focus your winter weatherproofing.

Here’s a quick look at some of the places in a home that are most susceptible to drafts:

  • Windows: Start with the windows. Place your hand over closed windows, and see if you can still feel any cold air coming through. There may be leaks in old windowsills that get worn down due to sunlight exposure. If you see damaged wood or cracked glass around the edges, you should seal them up.
  • Doors: The next place to look is exterior doors around your home. Check the doors for drafts. Heat may be able to pass through the opening at the bottom of the doors or through the doorframes themselves. You can replace screen doors with storm doors to help decrease airflow, and you can install door sweeps/weatherstripping at the bottom of doors to prevent air from leaking through.
  • Attics and basements: Attics, basements and eaves are the portions of a home that experience the greatest amount of heat loss. Older homes tend to have inefficient insulation in these areas, which can result in attics and basements becoming drafty. Consider improving your insulation or finding ways to seal off these areas during winter.
  • Chimneys: Chimneys are always going to be drafty, because you can’t exactly seal them off if they’re going to be used. If you feel cold air coming through, you can check and see if there are any leaks. The problematic leaks are ones that occur around the brick and edges of the fireplace.
  • Exterior walls: Check the exterior walls of your home, and see if there are any visible cracks. You might also consider inspecting around outlets. Many drafts are capable of leaking through outlets on exterior walls.

When you do find drafts in the home, there are several options to patch up the leaks. The first is to use caulk. You can find a variety of caulking compounds on the market. Depending on the location of the leaks, you can use permanent or temporary caulks. Make sure it’s water- or solvent-based. You can use weatherstripping around windows, doors and other movable pieces, and you can beef up the insulation in vulnerable areas of your home.

For more information about how to detect a draft in your home and then employ the proper winter weatherproofing tactics, contact us at Rapids Plumbing & Heating, Inc.