by Bob Vila
There’s a chill in the air — do you feel it? Rather than wait around for the mercury to plummet, take steps now to ensure that your home remains comfortable through the coldest months of the year.
Besides proper insulation and HVAC maintenance, I recommend taking a close look at your windows. Notorious for air leaks, windows can not only admit cold air, but also allow heated air to escape. There are many ways to seal such drafts — but first you’ve got to find them.
Locate the draft
Here’s a quick and easy method of testing the seal on your windows. First, walk through the house and close all the windows as tightly as possible. Next, light a candle. Hold the flame near each window, inches from the glass, slowly moving the candlestick around the seam between the window and its frame.
If, while your hand is still, the flame bends or flickers, then there’s probably an air leak. Mark the trouble spot with a sticky note so you can return to repair it later. Test every window in the house, marking each area where you suspect a draft.
For a more accurate diagnosis, hire a professional to perform an energy audit of your home. Though there’s a cost involved here, many local utility companies offer such services either for free or for a nominal fee. Check with the company that provides your electricity.
It’s certainly worth inquiring, since what professional energy auditors do is a lot more sophisticated than the candle method. They conduct thorough, room-by-room assessments — not only for window drafts, but also for any other instances of energy inefficiency.
Address the cause
Having pinpointed the locations of window drafts in your house, the next step is to seal them all up. There are several ways to get the job done. Some …read more