Draft-Proofing Your Home to Help Lower Your Electric Bill

01.25.21

Is your home not as warm as you think it should be? Drafts could be the culprit. These tips will help you find and eliminate drafts to help you cut down on your electric and heating bill.

Common Areas for Drafts

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Chimneys
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Recessed lights and the soffit around these lights
  • Furnace flues or ducts
  • Basement rim joists (where the foundation and wood framing meet)
  • Attics and basements
  • Window or wall-mounted air conditioners
  • Electrical outlets
  • Ducts
  • Switchplates
  • Vents and fans
  • Exterior walls and outlets
  • Baseboards
  • Bare floors, especially wooden floors
  • Wiring holes (electrical outlets, cable TV, phone lines)
  • Pet doors
  • Knee walls (the sidewalls that support your attic rafters)
  • Plumbing vents

 

How to Find Drafts

 

Flashlight: This is a two-person job. Shine a flashlight at doors, window frames, and other areas of concern. If the person on the other side sees the light, you’ve found an air leak.

Dollar bill or paper: Place the piece of paper or dollar bill under the door. If you can slip the paper under the door without it dragging, then you have a draft.

Incense: Shut all windows, exterior doors, fireplace flues, etc. and turn off all appliances that have exhaust fans or create air disturbances. Light incense and hold it near potential drafts like the ones listed above. Pay attention to how the smoke acts. If it is sucked out or blown into the room you’re in, or it moves erratically back and forth, you have an air leak.

Thermal leak detector: If you suspect you have a severe leak, you may want to invest in a thermal leak detector. Thermal leak detectors read surface temperatures of walls, baseboards, doors, floorboards, etc. There’s a draft if the TLD reading is much colder than the air.

 

How to Get Rid of Drafts Now That You’ve Found Them

 

Door Draft Stopper

The easiest way to prevent door drafts is to purchase or make a draft stopper. Draft stoppers are available at online stores like Amazon, or you can order a more personalized version on Etsy.

Cracks ¼ Inch and Smaller – Use Caulk

Find a weatherproof, sun-proof, and freeze-proof caulk for tiny cracks that are ¼ of an inch and smaller. If the crack is exposed to outside air, be sure the caulk is made for outdoor use made with mold-free technology.

Larger Cracks Between ¼ and 3 inches – Spray Foam

Find a spray foam that comes equipped with a straw. Test out an area first to see how the foam acts. Once you are confident about using the spray foam, get spraying!

Bigger Issues? Fix Your Insulation

There are some problems caulk and spray foam simply cannot fix. If your insulation is inadequate, then caulking up a few cracks won’t make much of a difference in your home.

Fixed your air leaks and still having trouble heating your home? Call on us! At Stuart Pro Heating & Air, we are here to help anytime, day or night: 770.813.1316