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Keep warm – find and fix household draughts

How to find and fix draughts SEPTEMBER HEADER
Written by Molly Morris

As we head into autumn, it’s important now more than ever to ensure our homes and those of loved ones are draught-free. Not only to prevent from the cold, but also as an easy way to save energy and money. In fact, draught-proofing your home could save you between £25 and £50 a year, which might not sound like much, but can make a big difference for someone on a fixed income or budget.

If you can feel a draught in your home, there are several places it could be coming from:

Windows

If you have double glazing, you shouldn’t feel any draughts coming through your windows, as they’re seal units that are designed to keep heat and energy inside your house. A sign that the unit isn’t sealed is if condensation or mist builds up in between the two panes of glass. In that case, you need to get them seen to immediately, or look at getting replacement windows.

For windows that open, it could be that the locking mechanism is broken. A window that doesn’t close properly is a prime spot for draughts to creep in. Strip insulation can help, but it might be worth fixing the problem at its source.

Older, single-glazed windows are also increasingly likely to let in draughts as they age, as are wooden frames, as they can rot or warp, which then lets in cold air.

Curtains won’t actually stop the cold air from getting in through a gap, but they can act as another barrier between your warm house and the chill outside.

Doors

Most modern external doors should be pretty good at stopping draughts, but older doors can be problematic. There are a few main sections of your door that can let in draughts, like keyholes, letterboxes, gaps at the bottom and around the edges.

You can buy purpose-made covers for keyholes, flaps and brushes for your letterbox that are reasonably cheap and easy to fit. For any gaps, you can buy brushes, draught excluders or special strips that fit around the edges. Internal doors often have larger gaps—particularly at the bottom—so draught excluders are likely the best option.

Loft hatches

That big gap at the top of your house can be a real problem if not dealt with properly! The hot air in your house rises and can escape into the loft if not sealed. Using strip insulation can help with this, as can ensuring your loft hatch doesn’t have any gaping holes in it.

Chimneys and fireplaces

We’re only talking about unused chimneys and fireplaces here – obviously if you still use your chimney, then you absolutely don’t want to block it off!

Older chimneys can let in a lot of air (as you will often hear), but there are a few easy ways to prevent this. You can fit a cap on top of your chimney, or get special chimney draught excluders that also do the job. If you really want to stop the draughts, then you could consider filling your fireplace, though this is a much costlier job.

Vents

You may find that draughts are coming in through vents in your house. If these are unused vents, such as those following old gas fires or central heating boilers that have been taken out, then these can be blocked up using a vent cover or filled using polyurethane foam.

However, you don’t want to block up vents that are in use. For example, extractor fans in the bathroom or kitchen will help reduce moisture build-up, airbricks help keep wooden floors and beams dry, and trickle vents are often used in modern windows to allow fresh air into a room.

Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional should the job look a little overwhelming – staying warm this autumn and winter is most important!

Thanks to our sponsors Anglian Home Improvements for some great advice.

About the author

Molly Morris