We’ve just had the second warmest September since records began in the UK, and October has been pretty mild too. But don’t be fooled, it’s going to get colder, so now is a great time to draught-proof your home. We’ve compiled a few tips to make this easier.
All homes need some ventilation but the difference between ventilation and draughts is that ventilation is a flow of air that is controlled. Draughts are gusts of cold air where you don’t want them. Cold air flowing in from either the outside, or an unheated area of the house will cause you to feel cold and turn your heating up. This in turn costs you more money and is bad for the environment.
Where do the draughts come from?
To answer this, take a good look (and feel) around your home. Places to check are:
- Around doors and windows
- Loft hatches
- Where pipes come in
- Keyholes and letterboxes
- Electrical fittings in walls and ceilings
- Skirting boards
- Suspended floorboards – the gaps between floorboards can add up to the size of an open window!
In my house, we even had some draughts coming in beneath windowsills.
Should I draught-proof every room?
There are some rooms where you should leave plenty of ventilation. These are rooms containing open fires or flues where not enough air flow could cause a dangerous build-up of gases. Rooms that are prone to condensation, like bathrooms and utility rooms, need ventilation so excess moisture can escape. Get a professional opinion if you need advice on this.
What can you do to draught-proof your home?
There are plenty of products available to help you draught-proof your home. Many are reasonably priced too, making it a cheap and very worthwhile endeavour. The main types are:
- Self adhesive foam strips
- Metal or plastic strips with brushes attached
- Letterbox flaps or brushes, and keyhole covers
- Fillers such as decorators caulk or silicone
- StopGap draught seal
- Good, old-fashioned draught excluder!
The foam strips work around windows and doors that are in use, and the brush-type strips are good for the bottom of doors. Fillers are suitable for around pipes and electrical fittings, and possibly loft hatches, depending on the size of the gaps. Fillers can be used for floorboards and skirting boards but won’t last forever due to the movement of the boards, ans can be messy and time-consuming to use for this purpose.
As well as sealing the gaps between floorboards in a suspended floor, StopGap will also seal gaps under skirting boards and around windows and doors that aren’t used. Maybe you have doors or windows that you only use in the summer – fit StopGap in the Autumn and just take it out when the weather warms and store it carefully for next time.
What wonderful things can I expect to happen once I’ve draught-proofed?
The first thing you’ll notice is how much warmer your home is. You’ll be reaching for thermostat to turn it down. By the time your next heating bill comes, you will have used less fuel and therefore saved some money – that’s money in your pocket, not the pocket of those pesky energy companies. According to Energy Saving Trust, just draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you £25-50 per year. And on top of all this, you get to bask in the good feeling that you are doing your bit for the environment. Not bad for a couple of hours and a few quid.