Is a winter draft forcing you to crank up the heat and increase your electric bill? Drafts are a common occurrence around windows and doors, especially in older houses where the wood expands and shrinks as the weather changes. Even newer houses can have drafts that can cause your heating bill to rise. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. That’s a lot of money and energy waste over the course of a winter!
A draft stopper is a tube of fabric and filling that either sits directly against the bottom of your door or windows. A double-sided one that slips under your door and moves with it is more ideal in high-traffic areas like the front door. Door draft stoppers also keep critters away and block out under-door light so you can sleep in on snow days. Instead of purchasing a draft stopper from the store, you may already have the items needed to make your own.
There are many options when it comes to the filling of your draft stopper. These include popcorn kernels, rice, beans, sand, pillow filler, cat litter, pool noodles, and others. Choose the filling that best suits your needs. Some fillings work better than others. If the draft stopper rips, some fillings are easier to clean up than others. Also, it may be easier to use something you already have at home.
Once you’ve chosen a filler, next comes the outer material. Eco-friendly options include old socks, pairs of jeans, sheets, pillowcases, or used t-shirts. Firstly, sew the outer material into a tube-like shape that is long enough to block the bottom of the door or window. Then, pour in the filler of your choice and sew the tube shut. Place the final product in front of a door or window and watch as the draft and energy waste are stopped. For more ideas, a simple online search can help direct you through different do-it-yourself projects like these.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022