Common Causes of Household Drafts And Solutions To Fix Them


household drafts
UPDATED 10/24/2017
Did you know that a typical family wastes about a third of its annual energy budget on air that leaks through gaps and cracks in your home? During the winter, you notice these air leaks more and identify them as household drafts. Feel more comfortable at home this winter, by fixing the common causes of household drafts. 

Common causes of household drafts

When the temperature drops in Maryland, homes get cold quickly! Even with the heat turned up, you won’t feel comfortable if you have household drafts. You feel these more during the winter, but they’re also a summer problem. Drafts allow the heat to seep into your home when the temperature rises. As a result, you raise your air conditioner in the summer. In the winter, cold air finds its way inside. Therefore, the heat goes up. Either way, you pay more money when you have drafts in your home.

Finding and eliminating drafts in your home improves your comfort, lowers your winter heating bill, lowers your summer air conditioning bill, and improves your home’s air quality.

Here are some common sources of drafts, and ways you can fix them.

1. Windows
First, fix leaks around windows with caulk, weather stripping, and heavy curtains.

2. Doors
Second, add caulking, weather stripping, or a door sweep to the bottom of the door to solve many door draft problems.

3. Electrical outlets/light switches
Surprisingly, two of the biggest problem areas in the home are outlets and light switches. That’s right: outlets and light switches. That’s because switches and outlets are not airtight.

Most home improvement stores sell electrical outlet insulation. You install it behind the wall plates of outlets and switches.

In addition, don’t forget interior walls. There is roughly as much air leakage on interior walls as exterior walls.

The problem is two-fold. First, when running wires, contractors drill through the top and bottoms of walls, creating new areas for air to infiltrate your home. Even when sealed, they are not entirely sealed. Air from the attic, basement, crawl space, garage, and other unconditioned spaces find their way into your walls and into your home.

4. Pipes that enter the house through an exterior wall
Fourth, seal pipes that enter the house from an exterior wall with weather stripping or caulk.

5. Fireplaces
There is no doubt fireplaces add a great ambiance to a home during the winter. However, they raise your energy costs. For these reasons, ensure that dampers are closed and address gaps around the flue and between the drywall and chimney. A chimney balloon is one way to keep the cold air out, but just remember to remove it before you start a fire.

6. Attic access door
Adding weather stripping around the attic access door is a worthwhile investment.

7. Window air conditioner
If possible, remove the unit for winter or add weather stripping around the unit. Otherwise, you just create more gaps for cold air to seep inside your home.

Maryland Energy Audit solves household drafts

Every fall and winter, Maryland homeowners patching common household drafts. While this patchwork approach improves your comfort a little, an energy audit is most efficient. Plus, you won’t find all the sources of energy loss on your own. It takes specialized equipment and testing to reveal them.

During Minnick’s Healthy Home Energy Audit, the auditor tests your home’s performance identifying hidden areas of energy loss. In addition, you’ll receive comprehensive solutions to improve your comfort.

BGE and Pepco customers qualify for a $100 energy audit. That’s a $300 savings! Plus, earn up to $7500 in energy rebates through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Minnick’s is an approved BGE and Pepco contractor.

Overall, there are 10 reasons to get a Maryland energy audit!

The audit finds common household drafts, plus any other sources of air leakage. Drafts are not the only one. It may be your ductwork or inadequate insulation. An energy audit finds the definitive answers to your discomfort and high energy bills.

ENERGY STAR estimates the average homeowner saves 10-percent on their energy bills, by adding insulation and sealing air leaks.

After an energy audit, Minnick’s customers see energy savings quickly. Let us improve your comfort in your Montgomery and Howard County home! We also serve Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Prince Georges, and Baltimore City counties.