4 Ways to Detect Heat Loss from Windows & Doors This Winter


Why Am I Always Cold?

Heat is like a defiant escape artist, always on the look out for low-quality windows, poorly sealed doors and walls without proper insulation. Once set free, heat will carry your money and your cozy interior off to unsheltered places, cold and expensive. You’d think that your pocketbook and bare feet would be quick to notice. Yet, countless homeowners gradually experience this unfortunate reality during the winter months, a pricey realization which becomes more and more obvious over time. By understanding heat and knowing how to detect its loss, you’ll have proper insight to the various challenges that come with keeping your home comfortable and cost-effective.

How to test your doors and windows for drafts

      • Hand Test: Put your hand up while walking by your home’s doorways. If you’re feeling cold air slip between your fingers, heat might be slipping out your door and out of your house. 20% of your home’s heat loss can come from doors and windows, but that percentage—named by international associations—will vary based on how many doors and windows you have in your home (and how large, small or insulated they are).


    •  The Antiquated Candle Test: If you have a candle around, light it and hold it up to a closed door or window—not too far away and not too close. If the candle flame flickers and sputters, that’s bad news; if the candle goes out, the news is far worse… You need a new door. Do the draft test, and see for yourself. Drafts entering your home through these crevices shouldn’t to be taken lightly. A few of your options are to cover up these entry and exist ways with insulating materials, or improve the door’s trim or sealing. The candle test is an old trick, but it still works!

How to put your window and door frames to the test

      • For Wooden Frames: Look around for your screwdriver, and take a few taps to your window or door frame. The screwdriver will help you determine how supple the wood is. Some homeowners will find their frames to be far too soft, a sign of gradual decay. Soft wood does little to stop heat’s escape, a reason why many homeowners have abandoned solely wood-framed windows altogether. Hard, dense wood is best for framing your doors and windows – that or a hard, durable plastic.


    • For Plastic Frames: Feel around all window edges adjacent to the wall. Whereas the candle test might work here, it’s easier to feel around for nooks and crannies that allow cold air in and warm air out. Wood can bend and warp, making it a nuisance. However, even “sealed,” ridged plastic—if set incorrectly—can be  problematic. A material that refuses to bend is durable, but likewise it’s a material that will never conform to dips or irregularities in a wall.

Don’t Touch That Thermostat!

Heating your home isn’t about constantly turning up the heat, it’s about keeping your home efficiently insulated. Doors and windows play a huge role economically, and knowing how to test their effectiveness will save you time, money and cold feet. For more information on winter’s assault on your abode, check out our previous post: “JACK FROST CAN BUILD ICE DAMS RIGHT OVER YOUR HEAD.”