Tips to stop drafts in your home

The Workbench Life: Baby Blogs

Draft Dodging

By Ron Marr for The Workbench Life

Mother Nature specializes in home invasions — in the form of cold winter air disrupting your cozy abode. Since climbing up a ladder in the freezing cold air is uncomfortable, use these tips to stop drafts from the inside (and lower your heating bills while you’re at it!) until the weather permits a full inspection.

Become Incensed
Before stopping the nor’easter in your living room, you must first find its point of entry. Identify these spots by turning on all household exhaust fans and lighting an incense stick. Hold the smoldering stick in front of door and window frames located on exterior walls, dryer and air conditioning vents, electric sockets and cable TV outlets. Check the pipe entries under the bathroom and kitchen sink, phone jacks and mail flaps. You’ve found a leak when the smoke is sucked outside or blows into the room.

Almost Free Warmth
A long-term and low-cost solution for drafts is to place peel-off, foam weather stripping (1/8 inch or smaller) around door and window frames. Also attach it under the door and where the window meets the sill. Weather stripping makes an excellent, draft-stopping gasket around the edges of electrical covers.

No-cost fixes are almost as effective. Stuff cracks around pipes with sheets of newspaper. Additionally, placing layers of plastic bags under the leading edge of a window and shutting the window tight stops a persistent breeze.

The Cover-up

Tape sheets of clear, heavy-duty plastic over windows or apply shrink-film to create a nearly impenetrable barrier. Shrink film kits are available in the $10 price range (a set usually covers one to three windows) and are easily removed when winter ends.

A similar cold-stopping effect can be produced via garbage bags and painter’s tape, so long as you don’t mind a dark room.

Ron Marr is a long-time woodworker and luthier whose work can be seen at  He is also a frequent contributor to The Workbench Life.