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Encompass® Insurance Insights & Articles

Sealing Your Home Against Air Drafts

Feeling a chilly draft inside your home? A cold draft is more than an uncomfortable inconvenience. Over time, it could cost you significant money on your heating bills. The same goes for drafts in hot climates — feeling the hot air come inside during the summer means your air conditioning must work even harder to cool your home.

Insulating your home from drafts and sealing it correctly could save as much as 15% on energy bills each year, according to EPA estimates. These tips can help you identify and fix draft problems:

Water forming on the corner of a window.

Identifying Air Drafts

Some signs are more obvious than others. You may notice:

  • Visible gaps around your door frame or window frame
  • Peeling paint around a door frame or window frame
  • Odors from outside entering your home
  • Drafts around an exterior door or closed window
  • Pests or dust entering from the outside near a closed door or window

While windows and doors are some of the most common air leak locations, air may also be leaking from attics, plumbing and pipes, or the chimney. If you live in a cold-weather climate, fixing these leaks is important to minimize the risk of ice dams, which occur when warm air in the attic causes the roof to warm and snow to melt. This melted water then runs down the roof and freezes, creating a dam of ice that may trap moisture and damage the roof. If you are concerned about attic air leaks, talk to a professional who can help identify and address these leaks to minimize the risk of ice dams.

Fixing Air Leaks: Should You DIY or Hire Professionals?

If you are experienced with DIY projects and home repairs, you may enjoy taking on this challenge. Otherwise, it may be easier to find a contractor to complete the project for you. An experienced contractor can also help you determine the location of additional air leaks and drafts in your home.

The presence of lead paint is an additional consideration when determining how to approach this project. If your home was built before 1978, you may need a professional to handle lead paint chip removal around window frames. A professional can also help with frame removal for more complicated window and door trims, such as decorative features.

Shrink-Fitting Plastic Over Windows and Installing Temporary Window Storms

In addition to resealing your windows and doors, another option is to shrink-fit plastic over the windows, also known as temporary window storms. When extended over the surrounding woodwork, the window film can be an inexpensive option for minimizing drafts and stopping interior heat loss during the winter months. Window film also helps to reduce moisture buildup on the window caused by condensation.

Home repairs and upgrades, such as resealing doors and windows, may impact the value of your home or the level of insurance coverage your home needs. Talk to your local independent agent to learn more about your coverage needs.

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