One of the simplest ways to make your home snug and cosy in winter – and cooler in summer – is to stop the draughts. You could save on your energy bills, too.
If you use electricity or gas to heat or cool your home, then the last thing you want to see is the warm or cool air seeping out before you get a chance to enjoy it. It’s like money down the drain.
The good news? You can make savings on your heating and cooling costs by simply sealing a few cracks in and around your home. Getting rid of draughts – that is, the air that flows in or out through cracks and small openings in your home – is a simple, cost-effective way to reduce your energy bills.
Let’s take a quick look at how draughts work, so you’ve got a better understanding of why they should be stopped.
Unlike ventilation, which is the controlled passage of air to help with things like condensation or cooling, draughts are uncontrolled currents of air that flow in or out of your home. They are caused by pressure and suction.
In winter, there’s a pressure difference between the warm air inside and the cold air blowing around outside. The warm air is ‘sucked’ from inside to outside through all the cracks and crannies in your home and cold air rushes in to replace it. Vice versa in summer.
Draughts in your home: common culprits
You probably know where the draughts are in your home. They’re the zones that always feel cold even when the heating’s on – sometimes, you can literally feel the current of air flowing in through the room.
Some of the more common sites of draughts include:
- Around the edges of doors and windows
- Through gaps in floorboards
- Around the outside of air conditioners, heaters and evaporative cooling outlets
- Up chimneys
- In gaps between walls and skirting boards
If you’re not sure where the draughts are, you could try this trick (ideally, on a cold, windy day with the heating on). Walk through each room, close to the walls, holding a lit incense stick. Observe the smoke rising from the stick – if you see it blowing in an unusual direction, you’ve likely found a draft.
How to draught-proof your home
Once you’ve identified where the draughts are, you can do something about it. Fixing draughts is generally an inexpensive and easy job. The way you fix it can depend on where in the home the draught is and how permanent you want the fix to be.
Here are some tips:
- Sealing gaps and cracks – grab yourself some caulk from the hardware store and follow the instructions to apply it to any cracks in walls, around windows, in floorboards and so on.
- Add draught-stoppers to doors – whether you go for a quick fix like a door snake or a more permanent strip that attaches to the door is up to you.
- Cover vents and ducts – it’s possible that cold air is coming in through your air conditioning vents and other ducts. Ask the manufacturer if they come with specially designed covers.
The final word
If your home is a little leaky – with cracks or gaps in windows, walls and more – then you could be spending more than you should to heat it up in winter and cool it down in summer. Draught proofing your home is a quick, cost-effective way to plug the leaks and reduce your energy bills.