Winter in Michigan is rough. There is plenty of snow, ice, and cold to go around. While there may be some blog readers that cherish winter weather, most of us want to experience it outdoors and not inside our comfy, cozy homes.
What happens if you find a draft in your home? How did it get there and how can you eliminate it? If you like saving money on energy bills, this is the perfect blog content for you.
The team at Kearns Brothers has helped countless Detroit metro homeowners with home exterior repair projects that are built to improve energy efficiency and keep the cold air at bay. Our company offers replacement windows, roof repair or replacement projects and more. We have the expertise to keep your family members happy during the frigid winter months.
In our blog, we will cover:
What drafts are and where are they commonly found
How to prevent drafts
Why you should take steps to stop drafts in your Michigan home
First, what is a Draft?
A draft is where there may be a gap, opening, or even some sort of structural failure where cold air can seep into your home. This freezing air can create problems with your heating and cooling systems, causing them to work harder to offset the cold (or warm) air penetrating your home.
The Most Common Areas You Will Find a Draft in your Home
There are several usual places where an air draft can occur. These areas may be very noticeable during cold snaps. There are DIY options and professional solutions to help slow or restrict air leaks in your home. We will go over some short-term solutions until a long-term solution can be put into place.
Draft Coming from Outlets on Exterior Walls
If you have plugged in your phone charger and felt chilly air on your hand, you are experiencing a draft around your outlets. This could be due to the age of your home or a gap in the insulation.
Heat loss around your window frames is a real problem. Drafty windows impact heating and cooling throughout the year. Homeowners may find a quick trip to the hardware store can act as a quick band aid until a window replacement project can be completed.
Drafts Around Exterior Doors
Finding a draft around doors is a common occurrence. They can occur from weather stripping deterioration, threshold damage, or gaps around the door frames.
Your attic is not supposed to be warm in the winter. If the access panel is an older variety, it can let cool air into your home. An air sealed attic access has two benefits, it will keep your living space warmer, and your attic colder (which will prevent ice dam formation). You may even experience air leakage around light fixtures that leak air from the attic space.
Tips on Eliminating Air Drafts in Your Michigan Home
Eliminating a draft often has several solutions; a quick DIY repair and a long-term solution. Any DIY repairs can help until it is time to undertake a bigger project.
Preventing Drafty Windows
A drafty window can be addressed by removing the interior trim around the window, removing old insulation, and using spray foam to fill the gaps.
Be sure to inspect the condition of exterior caulking. If it is old and falling apart, it needs to be replaced to prevent air and moisture penetration.
Finally, if your home has single pane windows, window cling can help reduce cold penetration, but a window replacement should be in order. Not to mention, if double pane windows have failed seals, then you can expect to replace your windows as well. The Department of Energy has plenty of information on the benefits of upgrading to an EnergyStar window.
Stopping Exterior Door Air Leakage
When weatherstripping or door sweeps wear out, that is a clear opening for cold air to penetrate your home. Not all door sweeps will work on any door. Before venturing to the hardware store (or looking online), get some door measurements (thickness and width of the door, and gap between the door and threshold).
Solving Outlet Drafts
Outlet gasket covers are a quick and straightforward way to insulate against chilly air coming in around your outlets. The covers are foam and homeowners simply need a screwdriver and a package of covers. Pop off the covers and insert the gasket and you are set!
Attic Air Leaks
The winter temperature in your attic should be cool/ cold. If you have experienced ice dams or felt frigid air coming from the attic, you may want to investigate replacing your attic entry door. Upgrading to a new door can provide higher insulation to prevent frigid air seepage into your living spaces.
How to Find Air Drafts in Your Home
Finding air leaks feels daunting, right? Do you need high-tech gadgets?
Not really, Michigan homeowners can find air drafts with several items that we all have lying around the house. Our team has provided three tips on how to locate air drafts in your home.
Flashlight Test- stand outside and shine a flashlight around the edges of your doors and windows. Someone inside should be looking for light shining around those edges. If you see a light, you have a leak!
Candle Air Draft- air can cause a candle to flicker. Take a lit candle and slowly move it around your door and window frames. Any flickering can be attributed to signs of a draft.
Dollar Bill Test- take a dollar bill and close it in your door or window. Gently tug on the dollar bill. If you can easily pull the dollar bill out of the closed door or window, you have found a place where air can penetrate.
What are the Benefits of Stopping Drafts
The main benefit of stopping drafts is saving money on heating and cooling your home. Michigan weather runs the gamut from hot summers to freezing winters. These extreme seasons often lead to homeowners running their furnaces or air conditioning. By addressing air drafts, you can prolong the life of your HVAC system because it will not have to work as hard.
Kearns Brothers is here to help with your exterior projects. Faulty windows, siding, and roofs can all cause problems with your home, creating air leakage opportunities. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation if you suspect your home exterior is ready for an update.
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