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How to check your windows and doors for draughts

In addition to low temperatures, this time of year also brings cold winds. That’s why this is an opportune time to make sure your windows and doors are ready for winter. If you can feel draughts in certain rooms of your home, it might be worth checking your windows and doors. Try these tricks for locating trouble spots.

Visual inspection

The easiest check you can perform is a thorough visual inspection. Go outside in the morning so you have the benefit of good daylight. Systematically check around the outside frame of each window and also the glass itself.

Next, go through the same process with the doors. Take note of whether there is a gap underneath each door. If there is, you might want to try adding a draught excluder. Don’t forget to check any glass panes within the doors. It’s also worth checking that your letterbox isn’t letting a draught in.

Once you’ve checked the outside, go back indoors and check from the inside. Any upper floors will also need to be checked from indoors. If you work normal office hours, you may find that it’s dark by the time you get home. If this is the case, you can either check at the weekend, or try one of the tricks below.

Shine a light on things

Isn’t it frustrating when you can feel a draught coming in but you can’t seem to find where it’s coming from? Fortunately, shining a light on problem areas is highly effective in finding those gaps in your windows or doors. Problems may include damage to a frame or poorly fitted features. It can sometimes be tricky to spot these issues, especially when daylight is in short supply. Luckily this tip works best on dark winter days.

Ask a friend to stand outside the window or door you’re checking. Then, go inside and shine a light at the fitting. Work systematically from top to bottom and make sure to shine the beam right into the edges and corners. If there are any holes or gaps, the beam of light will shine straight through to your friend outside.

Tissue paper test

If you don’t have a torch handy, you can perform a similar check with a piece of tissue paper. A normal tissue or a piece of toilet paper would be perfect for this. Next time you feel a draught, hold your tissue paper up and watch how it moves. If it’s just a slight draught, the paper will probably only flutter a little.

The next step is to move towards the area you think the draught is coming from. The paper may begin to flutter more, the closer you get. Eventually, you should be able to locate the problem.

Another option is to take your paper directly to each of your windows and doors. Slowly move it across the area, to see if it flutters. This is a good approach if you suspect a particular window or door of letting in draughts.

[Photo by Iwona Olczyk]