January 26, 2017
IT HAPPENS EVERY WINTER. You go to bed for a good night’s sleep, and realize that it is really cold in the room. You check your furnace, and it seems to be working just fine. What is going wrong, and why? Drafty bedrooms are as much a factor of your windows and doors as an inefficient furnace. With a few handy solutions, you get rid of the drafts and ensure a more comfortable night.
In theory, the structure of your home is very effective at keeping the home’s heated air inside. In practice, the situation is more complicated. When you have air leaks around windows and doors, air can enter directly from outside. This makes your bedroom feel very drafty in the winter, and turns the space around summer windows into a stifling area. Air leaks on exterior walls can compromise your indoor air quality, as well, aggravating allergies and making you feel miserable. Ultimately, you want to block the drafts as much as you can, using insulation for windows and doors, as well as effective window treatments.
The idea of window insulation can be a bit of a misnomer. In fact, windows are some of the most energy-inefficient aspects of your home exterior. Where the rest of your home has layers of thick insulation to slow the process of heat loss, your windows only have a couple of panes of glass. Air leaks make the problem even worse. The United States Department of Energy estimates that as much as one-third of the heated air in your home is lost through the windows and doors. Eliminating air leaks with a good window seal is crucial. Add weatherstripping to your window, as well as caulking in the cracks around the outside of the window frame.
Sealing the gaps around your windows and doors is thankfully fairly inexpensive and easy to do. Weatherstripping is a line of foam or rubber padding that you can put in your window or doorjamb and quickly change it out as needed. If you see permanent cracks or gaps around the doorframe, you could add caulking inside them to get a full door seal. Make sure that your door opens and shuts tightly, without being difficult to shut completely. If you observe a gap at the bottom of the door, consider adding a door draft stopper. It will provide an extra layer of door insulation without becoming a tripping hazard.
There is only so much you can do to cut down on the drafts around your windows without replacing them. New windows are often more efficient, with glazing and protective film to reduce heat loss in the winter – but they can be expensive.
Fortunately, window treatments can help provide that additional barrier without forcing you to buy new windows. Insulated curtains are designed to be thick enough to block the drafts from entering the room. They are installed close to the window to limit airflow around them. The Department of Energy notes that good draperies, installed properly, can cut heat loss by as much as 10 percent.
Keeping the cold air out of your bedroom during the winter requires a bit of time and some handiwork. By beefing up your window insulation and ensuring a good door seal, you will bid farewell to the drafts and get the warm bedroom you always wanted.