How to Fix a Drafty Door and Windows

How to fix a drafty door

As it gets closer to the cooler months, it is a good idea to check for drafty doors and windows.  You will want to keep the warmer air inside and the cooler air out. If you have a drafty door and windows, it will be more noticeable.  You will feel the warmer air escaping and the cooler air coming in.  The great thing is that this can be easily fixed! 

You can fix a drafty door and windows with window insulation kits, a door snake, and foam insulation to name a few.  Let’s take a look at why this is important, how to check for a draft, and how to fix it.

Why This is Important

It is important to fix a drafty door and windows because much of the electric bill we pay comes from heating and cooling the home.  By fixing the issue, you can save money on your bill each month.  You may not think that a little draft has that much of an impact, but it sure does!  The heat must turn on and work harder because of a draft in the home, which causes it to run longer and increases the electric bill.

How to Check and Fix a Drafty Door and Windows

Not sure where to look for a drafty door or window?  One trick is to look between the wall and the doorframe.  If you can see sunlight, there is an area that needs fixing.  Another trick is using a candle. First, light a candle near an area you think there may be a draft and watch the flame.  If it bounces around or flickers, then there is a draft. 

Additionally, if you blow the smoke and it blows away, there is a draft. If you find there is a draft, then caulk the areas that seem to move in the interior and exterior parts of the door and window frame.

If you had a recent home inspection, home inspectors have additional tools like thermal cameras that can find areas of low insulation or sealing.

Fix the Door Alignment and Weather Stripping

A doors alignment is important not only for keeping drafts and critters out, but also for security.  You want to make sure that the door opens, closes, and locks properly.  Also, try applying thinner weather stripping and see if that helps.  If not, it may be a more complicated issue that you need to call a professional.

After fixing the door alignment, next use weather stripping to fix a drafty door.  This is a material that prevents leaks and drafts.  It does wear out over time and needs to be checked yearly.  Checking the gap between the weather stripping and the wall to see if it is drafty is a good idea too.

Underneath the door is a place to check for a draft. A simple trick is to slide a dollar bill under the door.  If it goes easily to the other side, there is a draft and you will need to fix it and add in a door sweep or door threshold. A common place these are missing is at the door leading into the garage!  If the bill doesn’t slide under then the area is secure.

Window Insulation Kits/Window Film

This is a kit that allows you to put the plastic film on the window and use a hairdryer to seal it make it stick to the window.  The good news is when the warmer weather settles in, it is easily removable.

Door Snake Can Fix a Drafty Door

A door snake is a weighted fabric tube that can be handmade or store-bought to push against the door and keep the draft out from underneath the door.

Insulated Curtains

These are heavy curtains that can keep the cold air out of the home.  The drawback is that they work better when they are closed and some people like to be able to look out the window. Many will use them in summer too to keep the hot sun rays out of the home.

How to check and fix a drafty door and windows
Check windows for drafty air

Re-caulking Can Fix a Drafty Door or Windows

Caulking wears off after a while so check in the early fall to make sure it still looks good around the walls and doors.  If not, fall is a good time to take a walk around the outside of the home and re-caulk before the temperatures drop.

Foam Insulation

Spray this to seal an area and not allow air in or out. It is used on doors that don’t have a snug fit when closed, but be sure to use this in an area that is unseen or can be covered with door trim. Unfortunately, the foam insulation is not the prettiest.

New Sweeps/Door Thresholds

Sweeps under the door keep the air from escaping the home and critters and hot/cold air from coming in. They do need to be replaced over time, so do the dollar bill trick listed above to see when that time might be.

Fireplace Damper

Keep the damper closed in order to keep out the drafts.  Also, think about getting a plug for the chimney or a cover for the fireplace. Many dampers can become easily frozen shut or open if not inspected and maintained properly.

Attic Hatch

The attic hatch needs to have a tight seal, so adding weather stripping or insulation around the opening is a great idea. Sagging may indicate that the tension springs need replacing or tightening.  

How to check and fix a drafty door and windows
Double-paned/Storm windows

Double-Paned/Storm Windows

These windows come in various types, but exterior storm windows reflect the heat better than clear glass windows and have a great air sealant. They are less expensive and do a great job, keeping the cold air out, cooler air in. 

Because they work so well, the investment you make in storm windows will make your electricity bill go down.  The heat is not lost from the home in the winter months and the air-conditioned air stays in the summer months.

Conclusion

Fixing a drafty door and windows can be easily done with the ideas listed above.  However, if you find you need assistance, contact us at Rivertown and we can help!  We can diagnose the issue for you and refer you to the right type of professional for the job.

We would love to hear from you! Leave us a reply below with any questions you have or additional ideas you may have about fixing a drafty door and windows. Also, learn about how we use thermal imaging on our inspections to detect areas of heat/cold air loss!

The Rivertown Team

Author The Rivertown Team

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