Nothing chills a cozy home like unwanted cold air seeping through windows and doors. If you're feeling a draft, it may be time to do more than just layer on your warmest knits—especially since drafty spaces can lead to a drastically increased heating bill. But before you call in a professional (and cut a check), try one of our DIY solutions. Ahead, six ways to fix drafty windows and doors—and get your home back to a comfortable temperature in no time.
Create a Draft Dodger
Cramming a towel at the base of a leaky door or window doesn't always cut it. The solution? Create your own draft dodger to stop outside air in its tracks. All you need is some cotton fabric, a sewing machine and kit, and a filler. If you're going for a more decorative approach, try using leftover upholstery or drapery fabric to help tie the room together. As for the filler? You'll never guess what we like to use: recycled newspaper cat litter. Trust us—it's dust-free, moisture absorbent, and works like a charm. Follow our easy tutorial to make yours in less than an hour.
If you're looking for a fast fix but don't want a sewing project, try weatherstripping. These store-bought silicone strips not only seal out drafts and dust, but are also simple to install. Just place them on the inside rims of your windows and where the lower sash meets the sill. For doors, you can find peel-and-stick strips for less than $20 at your local hardware store.
Caulking is one of the most cost-effective fixes on this list—and practically pays for itself. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when used correctly, the cost of caulking will be offset through lower utility costs within one year. Use caulk to patch up small cracks and gaps around window trims and where the trim meets the wall. You can also use temporary caulk, which can be easily removed when warmer weather hits and you're begging for breeze again.
Fix Cracks with Nail Polish
Find a crack in your window in the dead of winter? Apply clear nail polish over it for a quick fix that'll keep your window intact until it can be replaced in the spring. Clear weather-seal tape also does the trick.
Seal Air Out with Plastic Wrap
A surprisingly effective way to stop drafts (and stat) is to seal windows with plastic wrap. The plastic will naturally cling to the window frame; apply heat using a hair dryer to seal the deal. Full disclosure—this solution isn't aesthetically pleasing, but it's a surefire way to get the job done.
Double Up on Window Treatments
If you're looking for a longer-term fix, it's best to invest. Rachel Hyslop, director of channel marketing at Springs Window Fashions, recommends installing side panels to help protect the gap between your window and existing window treatment, where a draft is likely sneaking through. Side panels, particularly ones made of thicker fabrics like velvet, provide a reliable second layer to shades. "So, you've got that undertreatment and then that second insulated layer that you can pull over at night, just to help keep that cold transferrent down when the temperatures really dip."