If you love the character of an older home, you might be willing to put up with common issues like creaky floorboards and leaky faucets, all of which can be easily fixed with upgrades or even simple remedies (a little talcum or baby powder rubbed into the floorboards can cure a squeak, at least temporarily). But one thing you may not be prepared for is the drafts that often accompany older homes thanks to settling, deterioration, and subpar insulating products, just for example. Of course, even newer homes can suffer from drafts for a variety of reasons. But there are effective ways to draft-proof your home, whether you know precisely where drafts are occurring or not. Here are a few strategies to try.
You might want to start by performing a home energy audit, or more precisely, by hiring a professional auditor to assess your structure for you. Top-to-bottom inspection and testing will help to identify areas where air is being transferred between indoors and out, allowing you to figure out exactly where drafts are originating. And once you have this information you can begin taking steps to increase airtightness and insulation in order to alleviate the drafts that are giving you chills.
You can start with relatively easy and inexpensive solutions like adding weather stripping around windows and doors, as well as using sealant, caulk, or foam products around pipes, vents, and other problem areas. You can even seal up seams like those between the baseboards and flooring where air between the walls and in crawl spaces can seep out. And if some of the rooms in your home seem to be colder no matter how much heat you’re pumping through the HVAC system, get yourself some door snakes and shut the doors to these rooms.
Unfortunately, this is not a permanent solution for cold spots in your home if insulation is to blame. A home energy audit should also inform you of areas where the insulation is inadequate, causing cold and drafts in your home. And while adding insulation can definitely constitute a major expense, wouldn’t you rather spend the money in a preventive capacity rather than paying outrageous utility bills in the meantime and still dealing with drafts?
When you opt to upgrade insulation, say with modern, spray foam products that expand to seal cracks in the walls, you’ll not only see some of that money come back via lower utility bills, but you’ll also enjoy a cozy and comfortable home interior in the process. Don’t forget about windows. Upgrading to double or triple-paned glass can increase insulation in this common problem area.
Another area you might need to address is your HVAC ductwork. If it hasn’t been subject to appropriate air sealing and insulation, you could have leaks all over the house that are leading to drafty conditions, not to mention wasted energy and decreased output reaching your living spaces. So talk to your HVAC technician about inspecting, repairing, and/or upgrading the ducts in your home. You could just gain efficiency and air flow in the process, not to mention a home that is comfortable, inviting, and free of drafts.