12 Tips to Stop Drafts in Your Home

If you’re constantly bumping up the thermostat in an attempt to stay warm, and you’ve ruled out issues with your furnace, then it could be drafts.

Not sure if drafts are the problem?

A simple way to spot drafts is to hold up a candle near the window or door and see if it flickers. If this is your home, read on for 12 tips for preventing heat loss and eliminating drafts in your home

1. Redo caulking around doors and windows

Check for cracked caulking around your doors and windows. To stop cold air from seeping in, you must re-caulk any locations where you notice cracks.

Installing an insulating plastic film over your windows would provide an airtight seal and serve as an additional barrier between the outside air and your home.

An easy way to stop air leakage is to lock your windows. Even if a window may appear to be closed, it might be difficult to tell whether it is truly closed until it is locked.

If you are unable to lock your window, try fully opening it and then closing it once again. This will help you ensure that the window is still on its track. You might need to hire a technician to check your window if that doesn’t work.

If you see any dry or cracked caulking around your windows or doors, that’s a sign that they need recaulked. Inspect the exterior and interior window and doorframes every year to ensure a tight seal and prevent drafts. 

You can choose from a wide variety of caulking types. The best option is to use a premium latex caulk that can be removed with water.

Rubberized caulking is the best outdoor caulking since it lasts longer. Additionally, because of its flexibility, it adapts to the house’s normal expansion and contraction.

2. Replace any weatherstripping

It’s also advisable to update the weatherstripping and seal on doors and windows. This aids in preventing chilly drafts from entering. Additionally, expanding spray foam should be used to fill any large fractures and gaps larger than half an inch.

DIY homeowners can easily install weatherstripping around their doors and windows. Moreover, it comes with an adhesive backing for quick and easy installation. 

Tip: Don’t forget to measure all your doors and windows so you have sufficient weatherstripping to complete the job. 

3. Add door sweeps 

Add a door sweep to the bottom of any doors that have a draft. Simply install it on the back of the door so that it’s flush with the bevel of the threshold.  

Make sure that the door closes smoothly, and that the sweep brush doesn’t drag along the floor.

4. Add window film

Adding window film will only help on single pane windows, and it’s a temporary solution while you save up for new windows.  

To be effective, it needs to be properly installed with a continuous, smooth seal using double-sided tape so the air is effectively trapped. 

The idea is that the trapped air between the window and the plastic adds an insulating layer, similar to an extra pane of glass.

 5. Install insulated curtains

Consider installing insulated window treatments, like insulated draperies, layered curtains, cellular or roman shades. If you love the natural light, use a mix of cellular shades and draperies to achieve the best results because insulated drapes function best when they are closed.

6. Seal recessed (pot) lights 

If you have recessed lights in the top level of your home, holes were cut into the attic space in order to install them. Attics are notoriously cold. They should be the same temperature as it is outside. If pot lights aren’t properly installed, heat can escape into the attic, making your furnace work that much harder.

It’s important to make sure there is a vapor barrier in the attic, properly tucked and taped to seal around the pot lights and the original vapor barrier that was cut. And they must be the right kind of pot lights for insulated space-IC lights.

7. Seal your basement

Basements and crawlspaces can also be sources for drafts and air leakage. 

When you seal holes and cracks it will obviously reduce drafts and keep your floors warmer. Using expandable, low-expansion, polyurethane foam will help weatherproof and insulate around basement windows and doors.

To cover gaps and openings in basement walls, such as those surrounding gas vents, dryer vents, water ducts, electrical lines, and wiring that connect to the outer wall of the house, use silicone caulk.

If you have an unfinished basement or are planning a renovation, now is the ideal time to locate and fix all the drafts, as well as search for any signs of moisture.

It makes sense to ensure that your basement is free of air leaks and moisture before spending lots of money on a finished basement. 

If your basement is unfinished, there’s a strong chance that even with socks on, your bare feet will feel cold on the floors. Adding insulation beneath the flooring is the greatest technique to prevent cold air from permeating the floor.

 8. Insulate electrical boxes 

There should also be insulation around electrical boxes located on walls that are part of the home’s building envelope. A lot of the time the vapor barrier is poorly done or missing altogether and allows cold air to seep through. 

It’s common to find air leaks where a wire, cable, or pipe feeds into the house from the outside. Use caulk to seal up the hole for gaps that are a quarter-inch or less. For larger holes you’ll need to use foam insulation to plug the hole.

It’s not uncommon for contractors to slack on the insulation around plugs and light switches. The result? These spaces can become “wind tunnels”. When you remove the wall plate that’s around your plug or light switch you’ll probably see a gap between the electrical box and the wall it’s sitting in. Use insulation foam with a low expansion rate to fill the cavity.

9. Beef up your attic insulation

Ensure that the insulation in your attic is adequate. Attic stairs, exhaust fans, and minor gaps that allow cool air to penetrate into your home should all be sealed. The plywood or drywall in your attic can be sealed up by adding foam insulation and weather stripping.

10. Check your fireplace

Your chimney’s damper is designed to keep cold air out, but because they are normally composed of cast iron, they are only partially effective. When you’re not using the fireplace, you can restrict drafts from it by inserting a piece of thick foam insulation draped in attractive fabric at the opening.

11. Check your dryer vent

Clothing dryers are connected to a duct that goes directly outside — creating easy access for cold air to seep in. A clothes dryer vent seal can help keep out drafts when you’re not using the dryer.

12. Protect your home with landscaping

Planting shrubs and trees around your house can shield it from the wind during the winter and offer shade during the summer. For instance, if you put a tree in front of your house that is evergreen, it will shield it from the wind and prevent the cold air from directly hitting the windows and house.

The Most Efficient Way to Heat and Cool Your Home

Most Important Places to Insulate in Your Home

Top Ways to Increase Energy Efficiency in Older Homes