Save Energy is more than just a name to us – it’s also our mission. We truly want to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. That desire is part of the DNA of our company.
With that in mind, here’s a tip that will help increase the comfort of your home and help you save on your heating bill during these last few weeks of winter: hunt down pesky drafts.
Have you ever noticed one room or a section of a room in your house always seem colder? The likely cause is a draft – a flow of cold, outside air that enters your home through cracks around doors, windows and/or vents. If you can find the source of the draft, you can take steps to alleviate it. So, how do you find the pesky thing without taking a magnifying glass to every door and window? Here’s a quicker, easier way:
- On a windy day (and we get plenty of them), light a candle, tea light, incense stick or pluck a strand of hair (ouch!)
- Slowly move the candle, incense or hair strand around door jams, window sills and vents
- Look for flame flickers/smoke or any wavering of the hair strand not caused by your movement – BINGO! You’ve found the source of the draft.
Now what do you do? If the draft is coming from a window that opens, check the weather stripping. Do the same with any doors. Weather stripping doesn’t last forever and is susceptible to the elements. Overtime, it will break down. It can also get compressed which will lessen its effectiveness. If it looks worn, old, broken or doesn’t “spring back” when you touch it, replace it.
If replacing the weather stripping isn’t practical, you may want to place a draft stopper or rolled up towel over the problem area. (Amazon – no surprise – offers a wide selection of inexpensive options to fit doors and windows.)
If the offending draft source is around a sill, jam or vent, use silicone caulking to seal the area. Confirm you neutralized the culprit by repeating the candle, incense, hair trick.
The one thing you don’t want to do is seal with caulking a draft source that comes directly from a working window. You’re going to want to open that window come spring and summer. The dried caulking may make that extremely difficult.
One common source of drafts is the pet door. Inspect the door flap to ensure it seals tightly, as intended. If possible, put a curtain over the opening to help stop the draft from flowing deeper into the room.
Persistent drafts may be a sign that your windows are failing and need to be upgraded. In that case, give us a call. We’ll be happy to come take a look and see what type of replacement windows will be best for you and your home. We offer a wide selection of options from the top manufacturers to match any architectural style and fit any budget.
John Gorman is President and co-owner of Save Energy Company, the leading replacement window and door provider in the San Francisco North Bay Area. He is on the Board of Directors of Electric and Gas Industries Association (EGIA) and has served as Board President.