Design & DIY

Weekly Hack: Detect drafts

By Pegasene/Shutterstock

Is your cottage leaking? Air leaks cost you money: heating a gappy, drafty cottage is inefficient, and therefore, expensive. Some drafts are obvious—on a cold day, you feel them. Others are tougher to pinpoint. Find them using a homemade draft detector.


You’ll need:

A lit stick of incense*

A brisk, windy day


Shut all the doors and windows, turn off the furnace and all fans, and walk around the entire cottage with your smoking incense, passing it close to any spot where you think warm air might be getting out, or cold air might be getting in. Along with windows, doors, and the chimney, this includes exhaust vents; electrical outlets and switch plates; cable and phone lines; electrical and gas service entrances; floor drains; baseboards; the attic hatch; and the mail slot. If the smoke wavers, you’ve got a leak. No big: you can seal most trouble spots by weather stripping, caulking, or using foam sealant.

*If you don’t want to use incense, attach a thin piece of tissue or a feather to the tip of a stick or a coat hanger.


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