Minimizing Draughts in Your Home

WHEN the point of entry of that elusive and annoying current of air known as a draught has been located, an end can be put to it in a variety of ways. The trouble may be due to loose hinges and screws or the door itself. If this hangs incorrectly as a result of bad workmanship or the use of unseasoned timber (which, in drying, has shrunk and left a gap between the edge of the door and the jamb post), a strip of felt tacked down the rebate will almost certainly stop any draught at that point. But some study of the possibilities of practical repairs to the door should be made. Sometimes, however, warping and distortion, without rendering the door unserviceable, are not sufficient to justify the extensive repairs involved, in the elimination of a draught.

If the gap is unusually wide, a double thickness of felt may be required, or a strip of linoleum covered by a strip of felt. If that proves ineffective, the door should be increased in width by the addition of a strip of wood nailed or screwed to its inner edge, that is, the edge bearing the hinges. In some instances it will be found that the use of screws of the same diameter as the original ones, but ½ in. longer, will secure tlie hinges with- out plugging the holes. The door should then’ shut correctly.

If it needs force to close it, a shaving or two removed from the side on which the lock is fixed may be all that is necessary. This may not have to be done from top to bottom of the door; removal of a shaving of wood at the point where the binding occurs will probably give satisfactory results. Complications with the setting of the lock make it impracticable to take off more than a little from this portion of the edge, but it may be possible to put the matter right by sinking the hinges a trifle deeper into the door post, thus pulling the door closer to the frame. If the door cannot be shifted in that direction and it does not appear likely that removal of a shaving from the point where binding occurs will do the trick, the door must be taken down and the hinged side of the door planed, after removal of the hinges, of course. These will then need to be sunk a little deeper than they wore originally.

It may be the bottom of the door is at fault, a gap allowing wind to whistle in unchecked. A thick loose rug placed against the bottom of the door, on the outside, may be all that is necessary. Alternatively, a bag about an inch in diameter, and matching in length the width of the door, filled with sand, can take the place of the suggested mat. The bag can be made in any strong material, and provided it is carefully sealed after filling there will be no question of leakage of sand. It is not essential that this be placed outside the door; if the bag is made with a ½ in. flap it can be tacked to the inside of the. Door at the bottom. Alternatively of course, a strip of rubber may be secured to the bottom of the door.

An outside door may fail to make close contact with the doorstep, thus being partner to a draught. If the doorway is effectively shielded by a porch, an outer mat of sufficient thickness lodged at the VSK\\K\\<: door’s bottom edge may afford the desired barrier. If circumstances are such that an outer mat would be constantly exposed to rain, a length of wood screwed to the base of the door will fill the gap. Not only does this prevent a draught but it is a barrier to rain beating in underneath.

Loose window frames are a common source of draughts, wind whistling into the room through a gap where there should be a closer meeting between the top bar of the lower frame and the bottom bar of the top frame. This gap can be sealed by using a sandbag as described for blocking the bottom of a door, but of lesser diameter. Placed over the crack where the two sashes meet no draught will get past it. Or a length of stout brown paper can be rolled, and stitched, to form a plug for insertion in the crack, see Figs. 4 and 5.

Yet another remedy for a draught is a lath, or other thin strip of wood, tacked to the top bar of the lower frame and extending over the gap. With the necessary clearances cut in the lath there is no difficulty in opening the wrindow. A coat of paint to match the colour of the sash will render this inconspicuous.

That area of a floor not generally covered with linoleum or carpet may be an unsuspected source of draughts, which can come up through gaps between boards. The obvious remedy is to cover the bare surround with linoleum. If this is not desired, the cracks between the boards may be filled with strips of thin wood, or laths, which have been treated by plane to give a tapered edge. The thin ends of these lengths are then inserted in the gaps and driven firmly in with mallet or hammer. Using a nail set, drive any protruding nail heads into the floorboards. Then plane away the surplus edges of the strips until they are flush with the floor. The finished edges should then be stained to match the flooring.

For lesser gaps an easily worked filling is indicated. For this purpose, putty at once comes to mind, but it does not readily take a stain. Another filler for floor cracks consists of pulped paper and glue. To make this, newspapers are shredded and then soaked in boiling water. The soaking should continue for several hours. Then the liquid is poured away and the sodden paper scraps are kneaded between the hands until a smooth pulp is obtained. Place the pulp in a can.

Thin, hot glue is then poured over the pulp and the whole stirred with a stick. A table-knife or small flat trowel is a handy tool to press this filler home into gaps or cracks that need filling. When the pulp has been inserted it should be made very firm by pressing well in and adding more pulp to fill the space made. When it has dried, stain should be applied to match the boards. Several other fillers available at ironmongers will serve the purpose admirably if used according to the directions accompanying them.

A gap between floorboards and skirting, and many a chilling draught gains entry this way to a room, may be plugged with the same mixture, or with one of the fillers previously mentioned. Or ¾ in. quarter-round beading maybe nailed or screwed either to the skirting or to the floor, so that the gap is completely covered. Where pieces of this beading meet at a corner of the wall a neat mitre joint is easily made with a saw, and when finally in position a coat of paint to match the skirting completes a neat job.

Needless to say, the beading should be carried right round the room, or at least wherever the eye rests at floor level, for the sake of appearance. With a very old and uneven floor it may be found that even after the beading is in place there are still gaps here and there between the base of the beading and a sunken board. These must be filled in with one of the fillers already mentioned, or draught exclusion will not be really satisfactory.

Perhaps the most trying instance of a draught is presented by a bay window recess. These recesses appear to breed draughts, which are, upon occasion, sometimes difficult to trace. A curtain of heavy material hum>; from a rod to enclose the space completely is the quickest and most certain remedy here. It can be m?de to pull right across, or the curtains may be in halves, meeting with a generous overlap at the centre. This does not, of course, eliminate draughts, but during the hours of darkness the curtain is certainly efficient.

There are occasions when air must be let into a room on a generous scale, and at the same time even the least suspicion of a draught avoided, as in a case of sickness, when the patient will profit by all the ventilation possible. This can be managed, where sash windows are concerned, by pushing up the lower frame a distance of six or nine inches, the gap exposed at the bottom being completely blocked with a piece of board cut to fit. This can be secured in place with a couple of ordinary sliding bolts, making the removal of the board when the window is to be closed down a simple matter. When this scheme is adopted, fresh air enters the room gently by way of the gap between upper and lower frames and there is no suspicion of a draught.

There are people whose habit of never closing the door when entering or leaving a room appears to be incurable, and in whose trail a windy draught is inevitable. This annoyance is best met by the purchasing of a fixture which will automatically close the door, obtainable from most ironmongers. There are several satisfactory types from which to choose; attachment to both door and doorpost being equally simple in each instance.