Keeping your home warm and heating it efficiently is so much easier when you don’t have draughts creeping in. And if you draught-proof your home effectively, you could save money on your bills too. Leaky doors and windows mean heat will escape – however well you’ve insulated – and you’ll need to use more energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
If you want to nip draughts in the bud, read on to find out how to draught-proof your home yourself, how much it might cost and how much it might help you save.
Most homes will have plenty of areas where cold air can creep in (and warm air can leak out) – from chimneys to keyholes. So draught-proofing is about filling or covering those gaps. When it comes to boosting your home’s energy efficiency, and saving on your energy bills, draught-proofing can be a cheap and easy way to get pretty big results.
Here are some of the main reasons to draught-proof your home:
1. It’ll keep your home at the right temperature
Draught-proofing’s one of the best ways to stop your home losing heat and getting chilly. And in summer, it can stop cool air escaping, keeping your home comfortable.
2. It’s more energy efficient
With effective draught-proofing, you’ll use less energy as your heating won’t have to work as hard to maintain the right temperature. So you’ll use less gas for your boiler, and less carbon will be released.
3. It can save you money on your energy bills
If you’re using less energy, you’ll save on your bills. Simple as that.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save around £60 a year on your bills just by draught-proofing your windows and doors. Add in your chimney, and that’s another £90 a year!
And because draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures, you could even turn your thermostat down a degree. This could save you as much as 10% on your heating bills each year, according to WWF.
Hiring someone to draught-proof your home costs around £225, according to Energy Saving Trust. Professional draught-proofing should save you money in the long run, as an expert will know the right materials to use and will fit them properly. This can make your home much more energy efficient.
You can draught-proof your home yourself, though. This will probably be cheaper, and can still be very effective. If you’re giving it a go, here’s how.
Below are some of the common areas that can let in draughts or let warm air out of your home – and how to draught-proof them.
Blocking those small gaps where heat can escape is your first draught-proofing step. There are a couple of popular products which will do most of the work for you.
Compression strips – These are taped along the parts of doors or windows that close against the frame. It’s important to choose the right size, as they can stop the door or window closing if they’re too big. They’re easy to install yourself and cost from around £5¹.
Brush strips – You’ll have seen these at the bottom of doors. They stop warmth from leaking out of your home (and can stop dust coming in, too). Measure the bottom of the door when it’s closed, then cut the brush strip to size and position it so the bristles touch the floor, but don’t drag too much. Then just screw it into place. They start at around £3².
Keyhole and letterbox covers – Even little gaps like keyholes and letterboxes can let heat out of your home. You can buy keyhole covers for around £3³, and letterbox covers with an inbuilt brush for around £10⁴. Bonus – these can look really smart on your front door too!
Draught-excluders – These are particularly good for internal doors. You’ll probably have seen those sausage-dog draught excluders blocking the gaps at the bottom of internal doorways – they can be a really good way to keep heat in the rooms you use regularly. And remember – just closing your internal doors if they lead to a room you don’t regularly heat can be useful too.
As with doors, it’s all about blocking or sealing up any gaps where heat can leak out. There are a few different ways to draught-proof your windows – which you use will depend on your budget and the sort of windows you have.
Draught-proofing strips – You can use these for most windows that open. There are two different types: self-adhesive foam strips (you’ll just need to be careful if you have sash windows, as these might not work) and metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached. These are more expensive, but can last longer – and are better for sashes.
For windows that don’t open, you can use a silicone window sealant to thoroughly block any gaps.
Thermal curtains and blinds – These are specifically designed to stop heat escaping, with an extra thick lining. When you’re measuring up for them, make sure your window will be fully covered so there are no gaps where warm air could leak out.
Make sure your carpets and rugs have underlay – Bare floorboards aren’t very thermally efficient and can be a major cause of draughts, so any carpet or rug you have on them is going to help. But adding underlay can really help insulate your floors. It starts from around £35⁵ so can be a worthy investment.
Draught-proofing floorboards and skirting boards – If you prefer the look of timber floorboards, you can still make them more resistant to draughts. You can fill the gaps where they meet the skirting board with a silicone filler, which will be flexible and let the floorboards move and shift over time. These are available at DIY stores and cost around £3 to £5⁶. You can also fill the gaps between them with a special dust and resin mix, plastic tape, or wood slivers – or get a professional to.
While fireplaces can look lovely, you might well not use yours – and it could be bringing a draught into your living room. But there are ways you can draught-proof your chimneys.
Chimney cap – You can pop this terracotta lid on top of the chimney on your roof, to stop air flowing in or out. It’s usually best to get this fitted by a professional, for about £150⁷.
Chimney draught excluders – You can fit this inside your chimney or around the fireplace to stop air getting in and out. They cost from £15 – but they can save you £17 a year on your bills, and cut your carbon emissions by 70kg⁸. Impressive!
Your loft’s an area you’re unlikely to heat, unless it’s converted and used regularly. Attics can often be chilly and un-insulated, so it’s a good idea to block up any gaps in the loft hatch that could be letting in breezes. You can use the same compression strips as you do for draught-proofing doors to do this. To make sure you make your home as energy efficient as possible, though, it’s sensible to get your loft properly insulated.
You can lose a lot of heat through the walls in your house. It’s always a good idea to get them insulated, but patching up cracks or gaps that could be letting in draughts is also a good plan.
Cracks – Depending on how big the crack is, you could do this yourself with a hard-setting filler. But if it’s a big crack, call in a surveyor to see if there’s an underlying problem.
Pipework – Where pipes leave your walls (the soil pipe, or water pipes, for example), you can use a silicone filler. For bigger gaps, you can spray expanding polyurethane foam – this expands, fills the gap, and then sets.
Extractor fans – Make sure yours is fitted snugly with a silicone sealer. And if there’s a fan you don’t use anymore, it’ll probably be more draught-efficient to brick up the gap than keep the old fan in place.
Obviously you want to stop unwanted draughts and breezes entering your home – but you also need to make sure there’s a supply of fresh air. This is especially important if a room has open flues or fires, where you need a steady supply of air to keep your home safe. Kitchens and bathrooms also need fresh air to stop mould and condensation building up.
The kind of ventilation you should keep – and keep clean and unobstructed – includes:
If you’re going to invest in draught-proofing your home, so all that nice warm air doesn’t seep out, you’ll also want to make sure your heating system is working as efficiently as it can.
An annual boiler service is one way to do this – it can be a great way of catching any issues early before they get more serious. All our boiler cover plans include an annual service as standard, so you can be sure that the effort you’ve put into draught-proofing doesn’t go to waste.
¹ Based on typical prices in Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/c/security-ironmongery/weatherstrips/cat840964
² Based on typical prices in Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/search?search=brush+seal
³ Based on typical prices in B&Q. https://www.diy.com/departments/hardware/door-furniture/keyhole-covers/DIY820028.cat
⁴ Based on typical prices at Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/c/security-ironmongery/letter-boxes/cat840380?producttype=brush_letter_plate
⁶ Based on typical prices at Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/p/no-nonsense-wood-flooring-sealant-oak-310ml/50081?_requestid=240523