Draught proofing your home

What is Draught proofing?

Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and more efficient ways of saving energy and money.
Draughts are good for getting fresh air into your home and also helps reduce condensation and damp, but draughts are hard to control while they also let cold air into your home.

To draught proof your home, you can block any unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. Doing so will reduce the energy that is required to heat your home, allowing you to reduce energy bills and save money.

How much could you save by draught proofing?

If you were to fully draught proof your home, you could save up to £55 a year. Draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures – so you’ll be able to turn down your thermostat. This could save you another £65 per year.

Interesting fact about Draught Proofing:
If every house in the UK used the best possible draught proofing, We would save £180 million per annual year, and enough energy to heat nearly 930,000 homes. 

Where can you find draughts?

Draughts happen where there are unnecessary gaps leading to the outside cold. You should check:
  • Loft hatches
  • Doors - Including the edges, key hole and the letterbox
  • Windows
  • Pipes leading outside
  • Electrical fittings - Such as mains power sockets
If you can block these and it doesn't block ventilation to where it it required such as open fires then you can shave off 10% of your energy bills!

Do you need a professional?

You do not need a professional. You can install draught proofing materials for around £100, where as a professional can charge double. However, older homes with single glazed windows can be harder to draught proof so it becomes more suitable for a professional. 

A professional is a professional for a reason. They should know exactly what materials to use and where. Thus potentially improving your savings and efficiency. 

What draught proofing materials do you need?

There are many DIY stores that sell Draught proofing materials. However, look for the Kitemark.
This Mark shows that the product is made to a good standard.

Windows

For windows that open, you can buy draught proofing strips to put around the window frame and fill the gap between the window and the frame. There are two types of draught proofing strips available:
  • Self adhesive foam strips. These are cheap and easy to install.
  • Metal or plastic strips. Can be made of metal or plastic with foam strips or wipers attached. Longer lasting than self adhesive foam strips but can cost a little more.
For sliding sash windows, it is best to fit brush strips or consider seeing a professional. 
For windows that do not open, it is recommended to use a silicon sealant.

Doors

Draught proofing outside doors can prevent a lot of heat from escaping from your home and will only cost a few pounds. Regarding the doors, there are four things to think about:
  • The keyhole - Small, but still lets cold air in and warm air out. You can get a purpose made cover.
  • The letterbox - You can use a letterbox flap or a letterbox brush. Be sure to measure your letterbox before hand! Not all mailboxes are the same size.
  • The bottom gap - Using a brush or hinged flap draught excluder can help
  • Gaps around the edges - install foam, brush or wiper strips like those used for your windows.
Inside doors that lead to rooms that you do not normally heat will need draught proofing. 
Inside doors between two heated rooms do not require draught proofing as there should be no cold air to effect the rooms. 

Chimneys and fireplaces

If you don't use your fireplace, your chimney is a big source of your unnecessary draughts. There are two main ways of draught proofing your chimney:
  • Fit a cap over the chimney pot - Recommended to have a professional do this.
  • Buy a chimney draught excluder
Be sure to remove the draught proofing before lighting a fire.

Floorboards and skirting boards

You can block cracks using an appropriate filler that you can put between the gaps. Floorboards being wood, often contract or expand so be sure to use a filler that can work with this. Usually silicon-based is appropriate. Look for:
  • Flexible fillers
  • Decorators's caulk
  • mastic-type products

Loft hatches

Hot air rises and gets lost in the cold space in your loft or attic. So if it's possible to draught proof your loft hatch, you should. That will prevent your warmth going into the loft which is no need. 

Cracks in walls

Not only are cracks not good for the building structure, but it can also cause quite a draught. You can fill these cracks with cement or hard setting fillers. If the crack is large you should consider consulting a surveyor or builder to see what caused the crack.

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