Draught proofing your home
As the weather gets colder it can be all too tempting to crank up the heat to combat the cold draughts that enter your home. However, if your home is not sufficiently draught proofed then this can be counterintuitive as heat will be lost through gaps within your property and increasing the temperature will only lead to costly energy bills.
Whilst is imperative to control ventilation within your home, to prevent condensation and damp, it is equally important that you take time to draught proof your property to combat any unwanted air leakages and unnecessary heat loss. Homes are designed to allow air flow to prevent damp and stale air leading to illness.
A typical, uninsulated home can lose around 35% of heat through its walls, 25% through the roof and the remaining 40% is lost through doors, windows and the floor.
In this article we look at some of the most common areas draughts are found and what you can do to reduce them.
Windows can be the biggest source of draughts in your home due to poor construction. A simple solution to this problem would be to add a trim around the glass to fill in the gaps. However, this is unlikely to create a neat finish so investing in new glass that is exactly the right size may be a better option in some cases.
A poorly maintained sash window in particular can cause draughts equivalent to a small open window, which will not only make your home feel uncomfortably cool but waste money on your heating bills. Unlike the mainstream uPVC windows, sash windows can be particularly difficult to insulate. This is due to the fact that the wood contracts and expands and as they slide up and down, they rub and stick and can cause seals to rip off. Additionally, it is almost impossible to seal the space between two window halves. Due to the difficulties with insulating sash windows it is advised to seek professional advice as they can be remedied.
Sash Windows were often panted shut as a last resort to prevent draughts and the windows from rattling.
Draughts are often found on exterior doors especially timber which expands and contracts. A slight gap between the bottom of the door and the frame is common and can become the ideal location for draughts to enter your home. This can easily be fixed by adding a draught excluder brush strip along the base. These are perhaps more commonly seen on the exterior of a door but are just as affective on the inside too. A fabric draught excluder is also a quick fix for this problem, and with hundreds of different patterns and designs, there’s one to suit every home.
When thinking about draught proofing your door don’t forget about keyholes and letter boxes too. You may not think these small areas would cause an issue, but you would be surprised by the amount of air that can filter through. For your letterbox consider fitting an eco-flap, which simply attaches over your letter box to prevent draughts and bad weather from getting into your home.
It may be worth looking into fixing a pivoting cover over the keyhole too. This will stop any draughts coming through but still allows you to lock your door with ease.
Doors can warp over time, with wooden variants particularly susceptible. This is because they expand and contract depending on the weather. A long term option would be to upgrade your door to a newer uPVC or composite model. Though if you like your traditional door or are not quite ready for a new door just yet, then be sure to install draught stripping to protect your home. This may not fix your issue entirely (there could still be a little bit of a breeze), but it should go some way towards keeping the cold air where it belongs.
Before central heating was commonplace in the home, residents would use portiere rods (curtain pole) and interlined door curtains to keep the draughts out. Both of these solutions are relatively easy to install yourself and are still used in some homes today.
Old style cat flaps are notorious for being poorly insulated, so it may be worth investing in a new model that comes with weatherproofing built in. If upgrading is not an option then you can minimise draughts by using foam strips around the frame and installing a weather strip along the bottom edge, just like you would do for windows and doors.
Chimneys and fireplaces are aesthetically pleasing and provide a cosy atmosphere in your home. However, they can be extremely draughty especially if you have an unused fireplace. When not in use it may be worth installing a chimney cap that can be fitted over the chimney pot to keep the cold air out. Alternatively, a chimney draught excluder can be used – such as a balloon – which is inflated inside the chimney, preventing the cold air from entering.
Whatever method you choose to insulate your chimney it is important to remember to remove any draught-excluders before using your fireplace.
Loft Hatches are another culprit that cause draughts in the home. You can seal any gaps around the loft hatch to stop the warm air escaping into the roof cavity. Simply use the same foam strips, brushes and wipers that are used on windows and doors.
Floorboards and Skirting
Gaps in between floorboards and skirting boards could be taking in cold air, in particular on the ground floor of your property. These gaps can be blocked by inserting filler into the gaps. However, both can contract, expand or move slightly with everyday use, so a silicone based product (such as those containing mastic) will need will need to be used to withstand this movement. It is important to note that these will block gaps permanently so, if applying yourself, wipe of any excess with a damp cloth before it dries.
Canopy beds with curtains were used by Lords and Noblemen in Medieval Europe for warmth and privacy.
There’s one other option though……
If you want to eliminate the issue of draughts altogether then perhaps you should consider replacing those old windows and doors. Everest products are built with thermal efficiency in mind, made-to-measure for the perfect fit so there are no gaps that let cold air in your home or let the heat you are paying for escape. Whilst upgrading your windows and doors will undoubtedly be expensive, you’ll soon reap the benefits of lower energy bills and a warm, draught free home. 'Draught proofing your home'