As energy requirements of a household in urbanized areas increases, the demand for more supply is increasing too. A gap in high demand and comparatively lesser supply has led to rise in energy costs. People around the globe consume large amount of electricity to maintain the temperatures at home – in summers, people spend on air conditioning and in winters they pay for keeping the home warm.
In spite of rising electricity bills, people remain unaware that they may be wasting lot of electricity on cooling or warming the home because of poor draft-proofing or draught-proofing.It’s estimated that gaps in the doors or window frames, open attics and other tiny outlets causes 10 percent hike in indoor heating costs for an average household. If you are thinking of draft-proofing your home, here are few instructions that’ll help
What is draft-proofing?
The concept of draft-proofing involves prevention of entry of cold air or loss of heat due to small outlets caused by damaged windows, doors, loft hatches, keyholes, electrical fittings, under floorboards, piping or other drilled holes etc. In simple words, the aim of draft-proofing is to make sure that no air could enter or escape the house from such outlets.
How to identify drafts in house?
Mostly, such vents are not visible easily.To identify them you’ll require additional attention and efforts. You can try one of the following methods to identify drafts:
- Use Flashlight
When it gets dark, throw flashlight on doors or windows that you wish to check for drafts. Another person should stand on the other side of the door and switch off lights of that room. Holes or other vents will be visible as light will pass through them. It’s one of the easiest ways to identify drafts in windows and doors.
- Incense stick test
For this test you will need to turn off furnace and water heater. Turn on the exhaust fan and hold a lit incense stick by windows or outlets. You can suspect a draft if smoke blows sideways in any direction.
- Thermal leak detector
Thermal leak detectors are available on online stores and they can be used to read surface temperature of walls, doors, windows etc. The readings will show how cold their respective surfaces are. If they are too cold, then begin searching for unwanted vents nearby.
How to Fix It?
A Do-It-Yourself draft-proofing project is likely to cost you anywherebetween £120 and £290. The costs will almost double if you chose a professional for this job.
So, if you don’t hate DIY tasks, then draft-proofing your house yourself will be a cheaper option. But it must be kept in mind that in some cases, like homes with single glazing, draft-proofing is a difficult task and often requires professional assistance.
Also, you must have appropriate knowledge of suitable materials used for quality and long lasting draft-proofing.
For drafting windows, you can buy draft-proofing strips that stick around the window frame to fill the gap between the window and the frame. But these strips don’t work well with sliding sash windows.
For Keyholes, you can use a purpose-made cover/disk that drops over the keyhole. A suitable flap will work fine with a letterbox. To obstruct gap at the bottom of doors, you can use a brush or hinged flap. Similarly, gaps around door edges can be fixed by fitting foam, brush or wiper stripes.
For openings less than 1/4–inch wide, you can buy the right caulk. For cracks between1/4 –inch and 3-inches, you should buy spray foam that suits for the job. For attic, make sure that insulation reaches the top of the floor joists.
Draft-Proofing must be carried out on specific time-intervals, since it is the nature of materials to degrade with the passage of time. Small drafts can worse over a period of time if not attended to. While, most of the draft-proofing is possible with DIY solutions, some specific ones may ask for professional assistance.