Is your home feeling colder than it should in winter, and warmer than it should in summer? When that happens, it’s a sign your home is dealing with draftiness. And those drafts aren’t just uncomfortable; they’re also expensive. Fortunately, with the right repairs, your home can be draft-free. Our team at Iron River Construction loves helping homeowners in greater Minneapolis and St. Paul enjoy home renovation solutions that give you excellent energy efficiency year-round.
According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, air leaks and drafts can drive your bills up by as much as 30%, leading to a lot of unneeded stress. Below is a graph from energy.gov on how we use energy in our homes:
Source: 2011 Buildings Energy Data Book, Section 2.0
To help you pinpoint your issue, here’s a list of 8 common draft causes and how to find them and fix them. Pro tip: We’ve included a couple of surprising areas you may never have realized could be making your home inefficient. That way, you can check them and save on energy and bills.
Let’s start with the most obvious cause of drafts in a home: your windows. Over time, window frames can get warped, moved out of alignment, or damaged by moisture. And old-fashioned glass isn’t as efficient as today’s double or triple pane options.
How to spot the problem: Place your hands over window frames. Do you feel a draft?
How to fix it: Minor issues can be improved with new caulking or weather stripping. Or, if your home is old, a window replacement can provide better insulation, beautify your home, and let in more light.
2. Exterior-facing Doors
Another obvious area where heated and cooled air can escape is through the seams of exterior doors. Doors can get pushed out of alignment. Gaps between the door and frame let in drafts.
How to spot the problem: Feel around the door frame for drafts. Look for large gaps between your door and its frame.
How to fix it: If the door is slightly off-kilter, a simple adjustment may be all you need to get it back in place. Add weather stripping to the bottom of the door. Installing a new storm door can provide added insulation too.
As a home feature that has to be open to the outside air to function properly, a chimney can also be a source of excessive drafts.
How to spot the problem: Feel around the fireplace for airflow. Do a visual inspection outside too. If needed, having the chimney cleaned and inspected.
How to fix it: Close the flue when the chimney isn’t in use. Install glass doors that close off the fireplace opening.
4. Attic and Eaves
Obviously, heat rises, so it makes sense that it can escape through your roof. Your attic and roofing system also have vents to prevent excess moisture from accumulating and causing problems. Old attics also may lack adequate insulation. And storm damage can cause sudden, unexpected holes in your roof.
How to spot the problem: Check the attic for proper insulation. If you notice sunlight peeking through, or if you notice missing shingles, that can be a sign of a faulty or damaged roof.
Did you know that the basements can be a significant source of energy inefficiency in a home? It happens because the top of the basement is above ground, leading to possible drafts and other energy inefficiencies.
How to spot the problem: Look at the exterior of your home (where the walls meet the ground) for cracks, holes, and other signs of damage.
How to fix it: Repair any gaps. If the basement is unfinished, consider finishing the basement and adding insulation.
6. Wiring Holes
We know — surprising, right? Your home’s many electrical outlets, light fixtures, cable hookups, and other wired areas can be drafty. This issue happens more than you might think, and it can make your home inefficient.
How to spot the problem: Feel around all these areas in your home to see if you notice airflow that shouldn’t be there. Make a note of wiring holes that are wider than needed, or are empty.
How to fix it: Close off wiring holes you’re not using. Install draft-proofing gaskets in outlets and fixtures. If needed, add spray insulation to areas that are drafty.
7. Flooring above Crawl Space
Just as heated and cooled interior air escapes through attics, it can also escape through flooring. Homes with improperly insulated crawl spaces can leak air through their ground floor.
How to spot the problem: Is your flooring unnecessarily or unusually cold? It may be a sign of an issue you need to address.
How to fix it: Have the crawl space inspected. Waterproofing and insulation can be installed to protect your crawl space.
8. Furnace Flues, Ducts, and Other HVAC Elements
It goes without saying, perhaps, but your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system is either going to add to your home’s energy efficiency or take away from it. The opening around the furnace flue needs to be properly insulated.
How to spot the problem: Do a visual inspection to see if flue and other elements are tightly insulated or not. Have your HVAC unit inspected regularly.
How to fix it: Add insulation as needed. Clean ducts and replace air filters regularly, as blocked ducts can also add to energy inefficiency, even if they don’t cause draftiness.
Improve Energy Efficiency with Wise Home Improvements
It’s easy to put off repairs and renovations, but often, investing in the right home solutions can boost your home’s energy efficiency significantly. This not only makes your home lifestyle more comfortable and enjoyable; it also saves you money that you can put toward other projects you’ve always wanted to do, like a beautiful and functional home addition, a new deck or other fun renovations that add even more value and delight to your home.
See how home improvements can help you get rid of those nasty drafts and make your home comfortable and energy efficient all year-round. Contact us for a free consultation and quote to learn more about your options for enjoying the home of your dreams.