ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Winterizing Your Home: Stop The Drafts

Updated on August 28, 2009

With cold weather on the way, it's a good idea to start thinking about weatherproofing your home. There are all kinds of questions to address when considering winterization: What area of your home is the culprit in heat loss? Do your windows need to be replaced, or should you put your money into insulating the attic? Which materials are the best? You need to assess the ability of your home to guard against drafts, dampness and other conditions that lead to a chilly household, and smart decisions will need to be made regarding methods and materials. Whether the improvements you make are minor or extensive, they will surely cut utility bills and help create a warmer, more comfortable living space.

The best thing you can do to make your home more comfortable is to stop drafts; not just around windows and doors, but all around your house, at what weatherization contractors refer to as the thermal boundary. In concept, this is an insulated, air-resistant barrier between heated living space and unheated, nonliving space. In reality, it is walls, doors, windows, insulation, vapor barriers, the foundation and the uppermost ceiling of your home. Basically, all the structures and materials that keep warm air in and cold air out.

The tighter the construction of your home, the more continuous the thermal boundary, but it is typical of both old and new homes to have holes along the boundary line, often amounting to several square feet in area. These breaks, gaps and cavities let drafts enter your home through walls, under floors and by way of the cutouts for various pipes. This cold outside air then needs to be heated in order to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Sealing gaps along the boundary line helps put an end to the cycling of cold drafts, allowing existing insulation to be more effective and lowering utility usage.

Look for gaps in the thermal boundary in these common trouble spots:

  • Sill plate/rim joist joint (accessible from the basement or crawlspace)
  • Behind and below baseboards
  • Behind switchplates and electrical outlets
  • Around plumbing and ventilation cutouts (garden hose, clothes-dryer exhaust vent, etc.) as well as utility cutouts (cable TV, gas lines)
  • Around the interior and exterior casings of doors and windows

Take these steps to seal the gaps, and create a tighter barrier against cold drafts:

  • Narrow gaps (1/4 inch or less) are easily sealed with caulk (for exterior use, choose an acrylic type with added silicone), while wider gaps require a combination of caulk and foam backer rope.
  • Irregularly shaped gaps and holes are better sealed with an expanding polyurethane foam (Great Stuff is one brand to look for). Expanding foam is also a good alternative to caulk and foam backer rope in areas where it is physically difficult to work.
  • Add foam receptacle sealers to all electrical outlets located on exterior walls.
  • Maintain window and door weather stripping by replacing worn-out door sweeps and adjusting thresholds to keep out drafts. (Look for compressible neoprene weather stripping products because they hold up better than foam and cost only a few cents more.)
  • Maintain storm windows and doors for an additional layer of insulation that will pay off in utility savings and comfort. If you don't have them, consider purchasing some or use plastic-sheeting kits (the shrink-fit type works well and you can see through them once installed) until your budget allows for the purchase.

Taking the right steps will go a long way towards lowering your heating bills.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)