Air leaks cause drafts
If you feel chilly in your house – even with the heat turned up, chances are your home may have air leaks that are causing drafts. Even if you have a newer, efficient furnace, those drafts are contributing to higher heating and cooling bills because you just paid to heat or cool that air that is escaping. By eliminating those unwanted air leaks, your home will not only be comfortable year-round, but you can actually save up to 10-percent on your energy bills!
Common culprits for drafts are windows and doors, attics, outlets and light fixtures, as well as chimneys. You may already know where your problem areas are – or perhaps you need to enlist the help of an expert by having a home-energy audit performed. Many utility companies offer this service at reduced prices or no charge – they’ll do a thorough inspection of your home and help you prioritize your projects to help you save energy and money.
Common drafts come from windows that need proper caulking or the old caulk removed and replaced. This can be a project tackled by any homeowner – just make sure you properly remove all the caulk before adding a new product. And the caulk from both the inside and outside needs to be inspected. Heavy curtains can contain the draft, but really provide no long-term solution. If caulk doesn’t do the trick, you may need to consider window-replacement.
Weather seals on doors can wear out over time allowing air to easily sneak in around the door frame. A tiny 1/8-inch gap around a doorway is the equivalent of a 5 ½-inch hole in an outdoor wall, so you’ll want to take care of any door leaks you have. Fortunately, attaching new weather seals can ease the drafts without the expense of replacing the entire door and can be a DIY project. Another fix is to add a door sweep, which fills the space at the bottom of the door. Consult your local hardware store to choose the best products for your door. If this doesn’t help, consider adding a strong storm door for an extra barrier to the outside elements.
Heat loss is common through the eaves of attics and this can usually be minimized with proper insulation. Check to see you have the right level of insulation for your attic to help reduce any heat loss.
Outlets and Fixtures
Sometimes you can feel drafts from outlets along the outside walls of your home or through fixtures in your ceiling. You can purchase draft-proofing gaskets for your outlets from your hardware store and easily reduce the air leaks with these simple gadgets. You can also add insulation behind the junction boxes of your light fixtures to help block any air leak. Turn off the power, of course, before tackling any projects with the outlets or lights.
By definition, chimneys are drafty (giant hole leading to the roof of your house). So shut the flue and close the doors to your fireplace when not in use. Easy fix for a draft.
Quit bundling up this winter because your home is so drafty and chilly. It’s worth the time and effort to identify and seal those unwanted air leaks in your home – not only for your family’s comfort, but for saving money and energy as well!
For home maintenance and comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.