Campus News

Stop air leaks in your house

During the winter, heating a house can be difficult, especially if there is air leaking from doors and windows. A little work can go a long way to stop those kinds of drafts.

An infrared camera is not required to find air leaks; instead use a lit stick of incense or a smoke or wizard stick. Hold the stick near the door frame or windows, and if the smoke moves then you have a leak.

Other areas for possible air leaks are electrical outlets and switch plates; attic doors; and around wires, cables and plumbing lines entering the home.

Some low cost home-improvement projects that will reduce drafts include:

  • Applying weatherstripping around windows and doors. The Department of Energy has a guide on weatherstripping at
  • Caulking around the wiring and piping that comes into a home. 
  • Sealing leaks around outlets and switch plates by adding foam insulation gaskets behind the plates.
  • Using a foam sealant for large gaps around windows, baseboards and other openings. 
  • Adding a “draft dodger,” which is a snake-like piece of fabric that sits against the bottom of a door to block any air that might leak under the door. Stores sell draft dodgers or they can be made easily enough with a rolled-up blanket or towel laid along the bottom of the door.