By Christabel - posted on August 16, 2013
Everyone wants a cosy home but it’s hard to keep warm when cold air finds its way around doors, letterboxes and windows. Draught proofing is a cheap and effective way to reduce your energy bills and make your home more comfortable to live in. Often these jobs are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) but, if you rent, always check with your landlord before starting any work.
The first step in plugging unwanted gaps in your home is to find them. Wait for a cold, breezy day to hunt for draughts. You should be able to feel the wind against the back of your hand. The most common places for draughts are:
- External doors – around the edges, under the bottom, through the key hole and letter box
- Windows – especially single glazed windows
- Loft hatch and cellar door
- Fireplace and chimney
- Between floorboards
- Between skirting boards and the wall and/or floor
- Pipes passing through walls, for example under the kitchen sink
You could make this project part of your spring clean.
Numerous products exist to help you achieve the desired results. The following are just some of the available DIY solutions:
- Door brush. Stops draughts under doors.
- Letter box cover. Stop draughts through letter boxes.
- Keyhole cover. Stops draughts through keyholes.
- ‘Rubber Fin’ draught proofing. Plastic/metal strips with a rubber ‘fin’. Nailed to door/window frames so that, when closed, the fin creates a seal.
- Self-adhesive draught proof strips. Rubber strips that stick on door/window frames. When closed, the door/window pushes against the rubber to form a seal.
- Flexible filler or caulk. Useful for sealing gaps between skirting boards and walls/floor.
- Flashboard draught proofing. Various products are available to push into gaps between floorboards.
- Expanding foam. Can fill large holes, such as around water or waste pipes coming through external walls.
- Hot water tank jackets. A multi-panel insulated jacket that wraps around the hot water tank/cylinder.
- Pipe lagging. Insulation designed to fit around water pipes.
- Temporary secondary glazing. Plastic film that can be fitted to window frames ahead of winter and removed for the warmer months.
- Reflective radiator panels. Moulded plastic sheets with a reflective coating that reduce heat loss when fitted behind radiators. They do so by reflecting heat away from the wall, trapping air next to the wall to act as insulation and creating convection currents with their ribbed surface to push heat into the room.
- Thermally lined curtains. Long, thick curtains that have plenty of folds to trap pockets of air provide great insulation during cold winter nights.
- Chimney balloons. Designed to inflate around the walls of a chimney to seal up those that are unused. They come in many sizes so choose an appropriate product for your chimney. The balloons are specially designed to ‘pop’ (more like slowly shrivel) if a fire is lit by mistake.
Our DIY guides offer instructions on:
If you decide to forge ahead with a DIY project, be sure that you don’t block essential ventilation, like air bricks, trickle vents, exhaust fans and soffit vents.
Learn about additional ways you can save money on energy payments or contact our advisers for more tailored advice.