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How to check your windows for draughts

Posted: February 17, 2020

The ancient and outdated definition of draught, according to Wiktionary, is outhouse. While having your home attacked by unwanted gusts of cold wind won’t exactly make it as cold as an outdoor loo, it will affect your comfort levels and lead to a rise in heating bills.

Not only can draughts make it harder to keep your home warm, they can also create annoying humming sounds that drive you to distraction without knowing where they are actually coming from.

One of the most common areas for draughts is through your windows, so checking them is essential and there are several easy ways that you can do this.

Stop, look and listen…

The first thing that you should do is take a careful look at your windows. Check the sealing around the inside of your windows and frames, looking for any spaces or breaches in the putty holding the window in position. On the outside of the window, search for any sections where the caulking is damaged, leaving gaps besides the window frame.

Also, listen out for any whistling or humming sounds around the frame and try to locate the specific spot that they’re coming from.

Breezy does it…

After the initial visual inspection, the next thing to do is to run your hand slowly along the interior edge of the window and feel for a breeze. If you do feel anything, however slight, it’s likely that it’s caused by a draught.

However, not all draughts are caused by damaged caulk or a gap in the putty, it may be that the window has been loosely sealed.

A simple method to check this is to insert a sheet of paper between the frame and sash when you close the window. If the paper doesn’t rip when you pull it out, then that’s a sure sign that air can enter through the gap in the same way.

A candle in the wind…

The candle test is an ideal way to perform a more thorough check for draughts. Firstly, ensure that curtains, blinds, or anything else that might be flammable are out of reach and that any fans are turned off.

Then hold a lit candle close to the edge of the window and run it around the perimeter, watching the flame the whole time. If it moves or curves, it’s an indication of a draught. If you don’t have a candle, then an incense stick can be used in a similar fashion for this test.

The final curtain…

Hanging light curtains or some other lightweight material on the inside of your windows can also be used to test for draughts. Turn off anything that could circulate air in your home and close all the doors. If the curtains or material shows any movement then it’s likely to be caused by unwelcome air entering through a gap.

Taking your temperature…

Another method for detecting draughts is by using an infrared thermometer. This is a non-contact tool that is used to measure ambient air temperatures around the window frame. The infrared thermometer will register a colder temperature in areas where cold air is leaking into your property.

Tackling the draughts

Once you’ve located draughts in your windows, it’s time to do something about it – and soon! Not only will it affect the temperature of your home and interfere with you keeping cosy on these cold winter nights, but you will be paying over the odds on your fuel bills.

For opening windows, draught-proofing strips are available to buy from any good DIY store. Available in self-adhesive foam, metal or plastic options, be sure that the strip is the right size to fill the gap or these won’t be effective. For windows that don’t open, silicone sealant is the better option.

Out with the old…

If your windows are old and outdated, it might be time to replace them. New windows from Sidey are thermally efficient and our expert installation teams ensure that they are fitted to the highest standards for total peace of mind – and no draughts!

If you have a period property and replacing the windows isn’t an option, then secondary glazing is an ideal solution to draughty old windows. Fitted on the inside of the property so as not to change the external appearance, secondary glazing provides the advantages of double glazing and will help to eliminate draughts.

Find out more about Sidey Solartherm and Solartherm Plus windows.