Are you looking to boost your home energy efficiency? Start with Draught Proofing!
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy – and money – in any type of building.
Controlled ventilation helps reduce condensation and damp, by letting fresh air in when needed. However, draughts are uncontrolled: they let in too much cold air and waste too much heat.
To draught-proof your home, you should block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. Saving warm air means you’ll use less energy to heat your home, so you’ll save money as well as making your home snug and warm.
You can draught proof your home with simple DIY measures. The main areas of focus for draught exclusion are doors, windows, floorboards and chimneys
For windows that open, buy draught-proofing strips to stick around the window frame and fill the gap between the window and the frame. There are two types:
- self-adhesive foam strips – these are cheap and easy to install, but may not last long
- metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached, which are long-lasting, but cost a little more
Make sure the strip is the right size to fill the gap in your window. If the strip is too big, it will get crushed and you may not be able to close the window. If it’s too small, there will still be a gap.
For sliding sash windows, foam strips do not work well. It’s best to fit brush strips or consult a professional. For windows that don’t open, use a silicone sealant. If you’re thinking of replacing your windows, consider installing energy efficient windows.
Draught-proofing external doors can stop a lot of heat from escaping, and won’t cost you much. There are four main areas to consider draught-proofing:
- keyhole – buy a purpose-made cover that drops a metal disc over the keyhole
- letterbox – use a letterbox flap or brush, but remember to measure your letterbox before you buy
- gap at the bottom – use a brush or hinged flap draught excluder
- gaps around the edges – fit foam, brush or wiper strips like those used for windows
Internal doors need draught-proofing if they lead to a room you don’t normally heat, such as your spare room or kitchen. Keep those doors closed to stop the cold air from moving into the rest of the house. If there is a gap at the bottom of the door, block it with a draught excluder – you can make one stuffed with used plastic bags or bits of spare material.
If you don’t use your fireplace, your chimney is probably a source of unnecessary draughts. There are two main ways to draught-proof a chimney:
- fit a cap over the chimney pot – this might be better done by a professional
- buy a chimney draught excluder – these help stop draughts and heat loss through the chimney, and are usually fitted inside the chimney or around the fireplace (chimney sheep).
Its important to remember to remove the draught-proofing if you decide to light a fire!
- Floorboards and Skirting Boards
You can block cracks in your floor by squirting filler into the gaps. Floorboards and skirting boards often contract, expand or move slightly with everyday use, so you should use a filler that can tolerate movement – these are usually silicone-based. Look for the following products:
- flexible fillers
- decorator’s caulk
- mastic-type products
Fillers come in different colours, and for indoor and outdoor use. They block gaps permanently so be careful when you apply them – wipe off any excess with a damp cloth before it dries. Fillers may break down over time, but can easily be reapplied.
Check whether you also need to insulate between the skirting board and the floor.
- Loft Hatches
Hot air rises and gets lost in the cold space in your loft or attic, so it’s worth blocking off draughts around your loft hatch. Use strip insulation, as you would on a door.
You can fill small gaps around pipework with silicone fillers, similar to the fillers used for skirting boards and floorboards. Fill larger gaps with expanding polyurethane foam. This is sprayed into the gap, expands as it dries, and sets hard.
- Cracks in walls
You can fill in small cracks using cements or hard-setting fillers. These will work around electrical fittings on walls and ceilings and at ceiling-to-wall joists.