Are you eager to keep the warm air in and the cold air out in your home? Draught-proofing can be one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save on your energy bills.
Benefits of draught-proofing
Here are some of the key benefits of draught-proofing your home:
- Uses less less energy to heat your home
- Helps reduce condensation and damp
- Saves money on energy bills
- Makes your home warm and cosy
Top draught-proofing methods
There are several ways homeowners can insulate their property. Here are some things you can do to draught-proof your home:
- Seal gaps
- Weatherstripping tape
- Brush strips at the bottom of external doors
- Draught excluders
- Flexible sealant
- Compression threshold strips
- Thermal curtains and blinds
- Carpets or rugs with underlay
- Keyhole covers
- Chimney cap
- Letterbox internal brush or cover
Common areas to find draughts and how to stop them
Draughts from outside can make their way into your home through gaps under your doors, fireplaces, and even letterboxes. Search your home for uncovered gaps and openings to the outside; that way you’ll be able to stop warm air from escaping. Here are the most common areas where you’ll find draughts in your home:
- Loft hatches
- Chimneys and fireplaces
How to draught-proof windows
Self-adhesive foam or rubber strips can easily be attached to window frames. The rubber strips are the stronger of the two and much more hard-wearing. These can be purchased in a variety of sizes at your local DIY store.
Self adhesive strips
There are different types available including P and E profile seals that come in different thicknesses and quality, so make sure you choose the right type for your window. These are easy to attach to the inside of window frames, and do not require any additional tools to fit.
- Clean the window frame and ensure it’s dry
- Take a single strip and ensure it is long enough for one side of your window frame – cutting to size is important as if it is too long it will get caught when the window closes, but if it is too short it will leave a gap and the draught will escape
- Peel the backing paper off and gradually stick to the window frame as you go
- Avoid stretching or misshaping the strip as this will affect its efficiency
- Repeat for the other side of your window frame.
One disadvantage is that they are not as durable as other alternatives such as brush or hinged flap strips and don’t work on sliding windows. If you do own sliding windows you will need to look into other options.
How to draught-proof doors
External doors should be your main priority, as this is where cold air will most likely enter your property.
- Use a brush or hinged flap strip
As the biggest gap is usually between the door and the frame, you can use a brush strip draught excluder fitted to the bottom of the door frame. Measure the length of the bottom of the door when closed, cut to size so the bristles/flexible hinged strip touches the floor but doesn’t drag too much and screw into place.
- Use self-adhesive strips
Ensure the frame is clean and dry, cut to size and fit into place by gradually peeling off the backing and pressing the strip into place as you go.
- Use a fabric ‘sausage’ draught excluder
For a temporary fix for interior doors, the fabric shop-bought or home-made draught excluders will do the trick.
How to draught-proof keyholes
Keyholes can be a common source of draughts, but something as simple as a brass cover that pivots over the lock can be a great remedy.
How to draught-proof letterboxes
Fit your letterbox with a strong, spring-mounted flap. An additional interior flap or brush unit can also be fitted to neaten the appearance of the opening and of course, further reduce draughts.
Top tip: Remember to measure your letterbox before purchasing any materials to draught-proof letterboxes.
How to draught-proof floorboards
You can block cracks in your floorboards and skirting boards by squirting fillers into the gaps.
Remember, filling or sealing the gaps in floorboards may be noticable (unless you’re painting or applying dark stain). There are several methods to follow:
- Floor filler
Usually comes in a light tan finish and works well with lighter varnishes.
- Decorators caulk
Apply to the edge of the board and build until the gap is filled.
- Wood pieces
A more time consuming process, but with a more seamless finish. Cut strips of wood, apply glue, and using a soft mallet hit the wood between the gaps, sand and stain the boards.
- PVA glue and sawdust
Great if you’re re-finishing your tongue and groove floor after sanding.
- Stopgap or Draughtex
Can be purchased online or at your local DIY store. Draughtex is a soft, flexible dark roll. It mimics the natural shadows and movement of the wood so is usually more durable and long lasting. Stopgap comes in a springy plastic V shape and is applied simply. Also no need to sand/finish!
Top tip: Due to the natural contraction and expansion of floorboards and skirting boards, it’s important to use a filler that is flexible e.g. silicone-based.
How to draught-proof loft hatches
Heat rises, so it’s worth looking into the possibility of draught-proofing your loft hatch. You can insulate these by using foam strips.
- Draught-poof a loft hatch that rests on the frame: Use a self-adhesive foam strip across the perimeter of the bottom of the loft hatch.
- Draught-proof a hinged-loft hatch: Use a self-adhesive foam strip on the outer side, on the top of the loft hatch, and on the inside of the hatch frame so a seal is created when they meet.
Top tip: Insulate the top of the loft hatch with insulating wool. Simply glue a carrier bag to the top of the hatch, fill with the insulating material, and tape shut.
How to draught-proof chimneys and fireplaces
If you don’t use your fireplace very often, you could fit a cap over the chimney pot (best left to the professionals to get up there!) or purchase a chimney draught excluder. Just remember to remove these if you do decide to light a fire.
Other areas to insulate
Another simple way to minimise your home’s heat loss is to insulate the water tanks and cylinders in your house. Use a British Standard cylinder jacket to wrap around your hot water cylinder so it’s covered as much as possible, but be careful not to wrap too tight as this will reduce the effectiveness of the insulation.
For small gaps around pipework, you can use silicone fillers, and for larger gaps expanding foam will do the trick. Simply spray carefully into the gap, wait for the polyurethane foam to expand and dry fully.
How much could you save by draught-proofing?
Energy Saving Trust says that: “draught-proofing around your windows and doors could save you around £20 a year. Meanwhile, if you have an open chimney, draught-proofing it whilst it’s not being used could save around £15 a year.”
They estimate that if draught-proofing measures were installed, the average UK household would save £60 a year on heating bills. And if every home were draught proofed, that would amount to £190 million or the equivalent of heating nearly 400,000 homes with all that saved energy!
Importance of ventilation and airflow
If you’ve decided to insulate your home to get rid of those pesky draughts, it’s worth remembering that air still needs to flow out of your house, especially in rooms where lots of moisture is produced (kitchens and bathrooms).
To ensure you home still allows air to flow through rooms, don’t block or seal the following:
- Extractor fans
- Wall vents
- Trickle vents
- Under-floor grilles or airbricks
Looking for help and guidance with heating your home efficiently beyond draught-proofing? Contact Homeserve for a free online quote for a new boiler.