Is Your Home Chilly? You Might Have Drafty Windows

Is Your Home Chilly? You Might Have Drafty Windows

With cold temperatures upon us, homeowners are hunkering down and trying to stay warm. If your windows are drafty, your home isn’t only chilly – you’re adding expense to your monthly utility bill as your furnace works harder to heat your home.

If you feel a chill in your home, there are some common areas that can let in a draft that you should check. Do a visual inspection of electrical outlets, switch plates, door and window frames, electrical and gas service entrances, baseboards, weather stripping around doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches, vents and fans.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends conducting a building pressurization test. The name sounds complicated, but it’s really very easy:

Turn off all combustion appliances such as gas burning furnaces and water heaters on a cool, windy day.
Shut all windows, exterior doors and fireplace flues.
Turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside, such as bathroom fans or stove vents, or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms.
Light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke wavers or is sucked out of or blown into the room, there’s a draft. You can also use a damp hand to locate leaks; any drafts will feel cool to your hand.
One of the most common areas to feel a draft is from your windows. If you can rattle your windows, this movement indicates probable air leaks. Obviously, seeing the light of day around a window frame is also an indication of leaks.

The best way to eliminate drafts from old windows is to replace them. While that may not be an option for every homeowner, there are a few things you can do in the meantime to cut down on the cold air entering your home.

Layered Curtains: Using heavy fabric and layered curtains over drafty windows can help keep the cold at bay. They can be somewhat expensive and often block out the sun’s natural warming rays.

Cellular shades: The honeycomb design of cellular shades acts as an insulation barrier to cold drafts. The benefit they have over layered curtains is that cellular shades still allow light in, but they don’t insulate as well.

Draft snakes: These are simple fabric tubes filled with insulating material. You place them along a windowsill (or at the bottom of a door) to prevent cold air from seeping in. They’re cheap and you can even make them yourself. But they only insulate the window sill, not the glass or frame.

Weather stripping: Just about every home improvement store sells kits for DIY weather stripping. They’re typically self-stick rubber strips that can be cut to fit your window dimensions. Though inexpensive, they often cheapen the look of your windows, and can damage the paint and leave a residue once you remove them.

Whether you provide a temporary fix or decide to replace your old windows, eliminating window drafts will go a long way towards keeping you warm and saving you money this coming winter.

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19 thoughts on “Not Cleaning Gutters Can Damage a Home

  1. With the home that I live in now, I think it would be a good idea to get the current siding replaced. There are a few spots where it’s falling off or missing and it really doesn’t look good. Now I don’t think that I could do it myself, so I would for sure have to get someone to come and do it for me. Seeing as you mentioned that the siding helps protect the exterior of your home, I wouldn’t want mine to get damaged or run the risk of potential damage.

  2. I love what you said about being sure the proper materials are installed under your home’s siding. Hiring a contractor to administer repairs to your siding is the best way to go because they have significant experience. If I were to notice damage on my own home, I would waste no time contacting a service to fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

  3. Pointing out that I should educate myself on the process when I decide to replace my window sidings is great advice to hear. I do agree that I need to be sure the proper materials are installed under the siding itself as you mentioned so that the services I’ll hire can guarantee that they did a decent job. If a reputable company will ensure proper cleanup is done as you suggest, I’ll consider hiring those willing to do the job for next week’s renovation project.

  4. The siding on my house is very worn and isn’t doing its job anymore. I’m wanting to get new siding installed and want to make sure I get the right contractor to do it. Thank you for suggesting that I should make sure the right materials are installed under the siding. I’ll have to keep this in mind as I search for the best roofer in my area.

  5. I really like that you point out that you should work with your contractor to determine how long your siding will take to be installed. My husband and I are wanting to get the siding on our house repaired and need to find the best contractor. I’ll have to do some research and find the best guy in our area.

  6. That’s god to know that a siding installation will take longer than a day. My siding is cracking in places, so I’m looking to repair it,. I’ll have to find a company that’s nearby so they can start working on it soon since it’ll take awhile to fix.

  7. Thank you for pointing out that you should make sure you’re educated on the siding process. The siding on my house is really needing to be replaced. I’ll have to look into finding the best contractor in my area to come and do this for me.

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