How to Check your House for Drafts

Check your House for DraftsThere are many ways to save energy and reduce your household energy bills. Upgrading to energy efficient equipment could help, and you may even be eligible for rebates. But you can take steps—right now—to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Saving energy means both saving money, and protecting the environment. You could make a simple start by checking your house or apartment for drafts.

Drafts waste energy

Drafts are air leaks in your home. Leaky windows and ducts, ill-fitting doors, and warped roofing all create drafts in your home. Drafts suck the lovely warm air out in the winter, and waste the delicious air-conditioned cool in the summer.

And as well as making you less comfortable in your own home, drafts cost you money. Your energy dollars waft outside with all the wasted energy.

Some homeowners can reduce their heating costs by up to 25% simply by sealing drafts.

How to find drafts

First locate the most common sources of drafts. These include:

  • windows
  • doors
  • electrical boxes
  • electrical outlets
  • plumbing fixtures
  • ceiling fixtures
  • attic hatches
  • ducts
  • fireplaces

Try to check for drafts on a windy day. Hold a lit incense stick near sources of drafts. If the smoke streams sideways, instead of rising straight up, you have found a draft. If you have an attic, repeat the process up there. And don’t forget the bottom of the doors.

Additionally, air is probably leaking out of your kitchen exhaust fan when it’s not in use. Other vents, like the dryer vent, could also be drafty.

Check for dirty spots on your ceiling, and the carpet below. This could indicate leaks in the ceiling joints, or floor joints.

Examine your insulation. Dirty spots there could also indicate drafts.

How to save energy by draft-proofing

Once you’ve found the drafts, you can seal them. Caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all the seams, cracks, and openings. Make sure your doors fit tightly.

Single pane windows are a source of wasted energy, either from drafts or simply loss of heat. Double-pane windows are the most efficient, but there are affordable alternatives. Inexpensive kits use the heat from a hair dryer to heat-shrink special plastic sheets over the windows. Heavy drapes also protect from drafts.

If you have a window air conditioner, make sure it’s sealed properly.

Cover your kitchen exhaust fan when you’re not using it, to keep the energy inside. And close the fireplace dampers, too.

Aside from these practical tips, make sure your family knows to shut the doors and windows!

When you’ve draft-proofed your home you’ll be more energy efficient, saving money and the environment.

Sources used in this article include:

The U.S. Department of Energy EnergySavers Tips on Saving Money & Energy at Home

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