Dodge the Draft to Protect Your Family from Winter Weather in Your New Home

Posted on 23 October 2013

It’s your first winter in a new house and you think you feel a draft coming from the windows.  The Natural Resources Defense Council says that up to one third of the heat in your home escapes from around the doors and windows.  Even in a new house, you can find air leaks, depending on the precision of the builder.  Keep your house sealed from the cold air by taking a few winterization steps.


Seal the Windows


Secure your windows by shutting and locking them securely.  Sliding windows that lock may have tiny gaps to allow easy opening.  Locking the windows will pull them together and close that gap.


Feel around the window trim pieces.  If you feel a draft, the builder may have left a space between the window and wall and covered it up with the trim.  Carefully pry off the trim and find the gap where the draft is coming from.  If the gap is less than one half inch, fill it with a silicone caulk made for sealing windows and doors.  If the gap is larger than one half inch, fill the gap with insulation material.


Seal the Doors


Any easy way to check around doors for leaks is with a dollar bill, states the Boston Globe.  Take a dollar bill, place it under the door and close the door.  If you can pull the dollar bill out easily, then you have enough of a gap to let warm air out and cold air in.


For a large gap, a long piece of rubber that secures to the bottom of the door, called a door sweep, should be used.  This piece extends from the door to the floor, sealing the gap.  For smaller gaps, narrower weather stripping is available.  Door sweeps should be used on any exterior door and doors to the attic and basement.


The Hazards of an Airtight Home


The purpose of detecting and correcting these leaks is to limit the heat loss, not prevent it entirely.  A completed sealed house could be dangerous.  Your new home is still ventilated so air can flow back and forth through the house to the outside with fresh air coming back in.  For you and your family to be safe, especially in a new home, carbon monoxide monitoring is important.  Services such as Lifeshield offer various monitoring devices to keep you safe in your new home.  These services will alert you to a build up of carbon monoxide in the case of a malfunctioning furnace or fireplace.


Check and Seal Other Openings


There are a variety of items that stick through the exterior wall of your house to the outside.  If not sealed where they meet the outside wall, leaks can occur.  Look for each of these items and check for any air leaks around them at the point where they exit the house:


  • dryer vent
  • water heater vent
  • bathroom fan vent
  • stove hood vent
  • skylights
  • solar tubes
  • pet doors
  • plumbing vents
  • fireplaces
  • attic fans and vents

Get an Energy Audit


The U.S. Department of Energy recommends doing an energy audit for a thorough evaluation of your new home.  Professionals will check the effectiveness of your heating and cooling ductwork.  They may also perform a blower door test on your home to find subtle leaks that are letting heat out.  With a new home, you would expect to see few problems.  But a couple of hidden air leaks could raise your heating bill and make parts of your home drafty.



This post was written by:

- who has written 408 posts on Write On New Jersey.

Contact the author

Leave a Reply

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors

Site Sponsors

RSSLoading Feed...

Live Traffic Feed

RSSLoading Feed...