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Incense Sticks Find Drafts We Miss

We’ve done a lot of caulking and weatherstripping since we moved into the apartment two years ago, and it’s made a big difference in the drafts we feel. But I knew there were some we still didn’t know about. So I pulled out an incense stick to help us find them. This is best to do on windy days. The movement of the smoke really let’s you see where the wind’s coming in. Two places where it showed a big problem: the gap below the cellar door and an old latch on the back door.

I can see the wind.

We’d already put sweeps on both the front and back doors, but we’d never considered that we’d need one inside the house. In addition to the cellar door, we decided to put twin draft guards on two closet doors, too. They’re not as attractive “as seen on TV,” but they stay in place really well.

The old, useless latch on the back door never seemed like much of an issue, but when we put the incense stick in front of it, the smoke blew horizontally. My finger disappeared completely inside the hole—it could go all the way outside, for all we know. Spray foam would probably be a good thing to use here, but it seemed wasteful to start a new can for this one spot. Instead, we cut off some of the leftover foam from the draft guards and stuffed it inside. Ta-da—no more draft.

I felt a silly wandering around the house with incense sticks, like I was trying to bless it or something, but it was actually really fun. And it worked.


Comment from Sharon
Time February 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I made myself a twin draft guard when we moved into this house a couple of years ago. The attic floor is insulated, except for the trap door in the closet of the baby’s bedroom. INSANELY cold till we got the draft guard in.

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time February 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

Kelly made one for her room, too. It seems pretty easy, and it really helps.

Pingback from Pragmatic Environmentalism
Time February 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm

[…] Tuesday I talked about using incense to find leaks. But an even better way to do that is with a thermal leak detector. I didn’t realize how cool […]

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