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How To Draft Proof Your Home

Draught proofing costs and savings

It could cost between £200 and £400 to hire an installer to draught proof your home. It can be cheaper to do it yourself and, depending what needs doing in your home, could cost about £120.

Full draught-proofing could save you an average of £55 a year.

As well helping your heating bills, draught-free homes are more comfortable to live in, so you should be able to turn down your thermostat. Turning down your thermostat by just one degree could save you another £65 per year.

What is draught proofing?

Draught proofing is about blocking off gaps in your house that let hot air escape and cold air come in. In effect, you are stopping your heating system heating the air in the street.

How to draught proof your house, Do you need a profes­sional?

Draught proofing shouldn't be too much of a problem if you can deal with simple DIY jobs. However, some homes, especially older buildings with single glazing, will be more difficult to draught proof than others. This is when you could do with the help of a profes­sional.

What to draught proof?

Look around your house for unwanted gaps and where openings to the outside have been left uncovered. For example:

  • windows
  • doors, keyholes and letterboxes
  • chimneys and fireplaces
  • floorboard and skirting boards
  • loft hatches
  • pipework (leading outside)
  • cracks in walls
  • Ventilation

If you are applying a total package of insulation, it's important not to completely seal the building. Make sure you keep good ventilation in areas where there are open fires or open flues and in rooms where moisture is produced.

It is simple and very effective to omit sealing kitchen and bathroom windows to let out the steam and create sufficient ventilation. Instead, seal the inner doors to these rooms.

Sash windows

Sash windows, especially old single-glazed ones, are notorious for being draughty. Replacing single-glazed windows in your house with double glazing could save you £170 a year on your heating bill.

If you can't improve your windows, there are still solutions available to stop draughts.

Draughty single glazed windows are better upgraded to double or triple glazed but short-term solution include insulating window film.

Window foam seal - to be fitted around the windows. This is like a thick tape and comes in rolls in various colours. The tapes are easy to install as some are self-adhesive, and they're cheap.

Foam sealant. This is a special type of foam that can be sprayed into gaps around windows or doors. It's more expensive than the foam tape.

Metallic or plastic brush strips. These are more expensive than the foam tape, but should last longer.

Door seal

Draughts from external doors can come from a gap under the door, letterboxes and even keyholes.

Draught excluders can help with draught from doors and you can even make them yourself.

If you can feel cold air coming in from under your door, you can stop this draught by fitting a weatherbar or a door brush strip at the bottom of the door. These will act as a seal when your door is closed. Brush door seals also exist to fit around your door if that's where cold air is coming through.

Another way to stop draughts from under doors is to use a draught excluder that sits on the inside. These are often made of fabric and come in a range of designs. They can also fit at the bottom of a draughty sash window. All sorts of shops sell them, though you could make one yourself by filling a piece of fabric with old clothes or rice, for example.

Unlike a weatherbar or door brush seal, a draught excluder isn't fixed to the door and might not stop draughts while you're out, as it will be left where it lands when you close the door behind you.

You can also fit an ecoflap (or letterbox plate or brushes) on your letterbox to stop cold air getting in, without stopping your mail. A step further would be to block the draught coming from the keyhole. You can buy keyhole covers for as little as £6. They work by having a metallic disc that drops over the hole that can be slid to the side when you need to put the key in.

Loft hatches

It's worth stopping draughts around your loft hatch as heat rises and will escape through any gaps there. You can use foam strips, as you would for doors or windows.

Pipework

If you have holes around pipes leading to an attic, loft or outside, you could fill these in. Silicon filler should suffice for small gaps, while larger gaps might require expanding polyurethane foam.

More draught proofing

Other places that may lose heat around the house are listed below.

Cracks in walls - these can be filled with cement or hard setting fillers. If cracks start appearing, there could be a problem with your walls and you should consult a surveyor.

Old extractor fans - the fan outlet can be filled with bricks or concrete then sealed.

Chimneys and fireplaces - if you don't use your fireplace you could fit a cap over the chimney pot (best done by a profes­sional) or fit a chimney draught excluder. 

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