There may be a question on many people’s minds this season: how can we heat our homes cheaply?
Rising energy prices on both sides of the Atlantic highlight the rising cost of living and learning how to lower energy bills is becoming a growing priority for many of us.
Knowing how to winterize a home is one of the most effective ways to reduce your expenses. Familiarizing yourself with expert-approved draft protection tips is key in this regard and can make a significant difference in colder seasons. And in many cases, these tips are surprisingly easy to follow.
Tips against drafts – to make your home more energy efficient, quickly
Knowing which type of heating is the cheapest to use is a great way to ensure that your energy costs are as low as possible for future winters or if you are renovating. However, this year you can anticipate cold weather and high energy bills with these expert drafty tips that can make a real difference in your home.
1. Fill the gaps around your door and window frames with silicone
According to architect George Omalianakis of GOAStudio London, one of the most powerful ways to warm your home is to protect windows and doors from drafts. (opens in a new tab).
But before getting to the frames, consider filling the gaps between the window or door frames and the masonry [such as the brick/block] it is inside. You can use silicone or expandable sealant to do this. “That’s where a lot of air escapes, so you have to focus on those gaps first,” says George.
Similarly, the architect recommends covering the gaps between the “opening” part of your window and the fixed part of your window with adhesive foam tape, like this one from Amazon. (opens in a new tab)to prevent drafts in your home.
2. Add wind strips to doors and windows
When exploring the world of front door ideas, draft exclusion might not have been at the center of your thoughts. Door color, yes. Door furniture, yes. Door stoppers? Not really. However, whether you are retrofitting an existing front door or installing a new one, the wind strips, which can also be used to fill and seal gaps in the opening portions of a window frame, can be transformative in keeping the cold out of your entryway. .
These wind strips are usually self-adhesive or easily attached with small screws, very affordable and easy to apply as a DIY.
These are Amazon’s best-selling wind strips (opens in a new tab) for doors – and, yes, they can be used on interior doors as well as the back of the front door to prevent cold air from circulating from room to room. They are easy to apply and remove in the spring when you want the fresh air to return. You can buy similar products suitable for your windows, but be sure to choose something that suits your window type.
3. Block drafts with old-fashioned cushion grids
As we said above, you shouldn’t just seal the bottom of your front door to keep drafts out. Interior doors, if they do not reach the floor, will increase airflow from room to room. Wonderful in summer, not so much in winter.
If you don’t want to (or can’t because you’re renting) attach draft strips to the bottom of doors, draft excluders will do. You can buy a cute dog door bottom. (opens in a new tab) like the one above from Amazon. Or we really like Fowong’s smart door draft excluders (opens in a new tab)also from Amazon.
4. Hang thermal curtains
Even if your windows are well sealed, glass isn’t as good an insulator as a solid wall, so you’ll often feel colder in a room with a large window or glass door. Although sunlight in the daytime can provide some relief and welcome natural warmth, this is not the case in all areas and all homes, and at night you will appreciate heavy curtains.
If you can buy beautiful, generous fabrics for your curtains, you will notice a difference, but you can increase the effect by lining curtains, existing or not, with thermal materials. You can buy thermal material by the foot, buy ready-made thermal curtain panels that attach with velcro (opens in a new tab)or you can buy fairly basic thermal curtains on Amazon (opens in a new tab). Like blackout materials, designed to keep light out, thermal materials are designed to reduce drafts and conversely retain heat.
“Shutters are another great way to improve window energy efficiency,” says Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys. (opens in a new tab). “When closed, they can reduce heat loss by up to 62% with single glazing.”
5. Tackling Keyholes and Mailboxes
Although the front door is the main draw problem, with perhaps exposed keyholes and mailboxes that allow free access to cold air, interior doors with keyholes can also let pass air currents.
The simple solution? Seal them with metal lids designed for the job.
Kamil Kowalsk, President of LimakWay Remodeling (opens in a new tab)suggests that adding insulation of all kinds can be worthwhile if you live in a particularly cool climate.
“Insulation can help reduce energy consumption and save money on heating costs. It also helps to improve indoor air quality, which can be beneficial for people with asthma or allergies,” says the expert. And in some cases, insulation doesn’t have to be complicated.
“There are many ways homeowners can add insulation to their home and make it more energy efficient,” says Kamil. “This includes installing new windows, adding drywall, adding new roofs, spraying foam on walls, installing reflective insulation inside attics, etc.”
6. Seal Unused Chimneys
Of course, in the winter you’ll want to use your fireplaces and wood-burning stoves to keep your rooms toasty warm, but there may be a chimney or two that aren’t being used that will still let in cold air and hot air.
There’s an easy do-it-yourself solution: chimney draft deflectors, which can seal out the majority of cold air, but not all of it, which could lead to dampness. Amazon sells basic fireplace balloons (opens in a new tab)but we really like Flueblocker’s sheep wool windbreakers (opens in a new tab)which are easy to put on and take off.
7. Make Original Wood Floors Warmer, Quickly
The original parquet is beautiful, but there can be drafts. A long-term solution is to pull it up and insulate it below, or fill in the gaps between the floorboards. But let’s face it, these are quick DIY jobs.
Instead, opt for a rug that’s thick and as large as possible – or two – which can go a long way to making a cold room feel warmer. Buying an inexpensive carpet underlay to go under existing, thinner rugs that you don’t want to replace will also add another valuable layer of insulation, and underlay can double the life of your carpet. Win win.
8. Don’t forget the access hatches to your attic
In some cases, the attic is one of the most valuable spaces in your home. However, if yours is accessed through a hatch in the ceiling, it’s worth insulating the top side of the hatch door to prevent hot air from escaping.
“Often the attic hatch does not fit well in the opening and hot air escapes up and into the attic space which is cold and very drafty,” says the architect George Omalianakis of GOAStudio London. “That means it sucks in air all the time.” He adds that you can also use a similar weather stripping product to fill in the gaps.
9. Close doors to rooms you don’t use much
Closing the doors to rooms you’re not using means you won’t have to heat them, and cold air won’t move into the rooms you’re heating. Closing doors to upstairs rooms during the day will have a similar isolating effect, as will keeping the door closed to the room you’re in – perhaps your home office.
What’s the biggest draft protection mistake?
“Remember that a healthy home requires a certain level of ventilation, which is even more important in humid areas such as bathrooms and shower rooms,” says architect George Omalianakis of GOAStudio London. “Draft protection is all about preventing uncontrolled ventilation, but always make sure you have allowed in draft vents and fans to provide controlled and beneficial ventilation.”