- Save up to £50 a year by draught proofing your home, and get expert tips on installation
- Find out where you could be losing heat in your home and learn more about draught excluders
- Practical solutions for draught proofing your home including windows, doors, chimneys and pipework
Keeping warm air in and cold air out is a quick and affordable way to cut your energy bills and warm up your home. The amount you save on your bills means that draught proofing can pay for itself in a few years.
Read our expert advice on draught proofing to find out what you can do in your own home - from filling in gaps around pipes, to insulating your loft hatch. Plus learn how to keep warm air in without compromising on ventilation.
Make sure you're not paying more to heat your home in the first place - use our Which? Switch service to get on to the best energy deal around.
Draught proofing costs and savings
It could cost between £200 and £400 to hire an installer to draught proof your home. It can be cheaper to do it yourself and, depending on what needs doing in your home, could cost about £120.
Full draught-proofing could save you up to £50 a year.
As well helping your heating bills, draught-free homes are more comfortable to live in - so you should be able to turn down your thermostat. Turning down your thermostat by just one degree could save you an average of £75 per year.
|Draught proofing costs and savings|
|Cost||Annual saving||Payback time|
|DIY installation||about £120||up to £50||2 to 3 years|
|Professional installation||about £200-£400||up to £50||4 to 8 years|
How to draught proof your house
What to draught proof?
Look around your house for unwanted gaps and where openings to the outside have been left uncovered. For example:
- Doors, keyholes and letterboxes
- Chimneys and fireplaces
- Floorboard and skirting boards
- Loft hatches
- Pipework (leading outside)
- Cracks in walls
If you are applying a total package of insulation, it's important not to completely seal the building. Make sure you keep good ventilation in areas where there are open fires or open flues and in rooms where moisture is produced.
It is simple and very effective to omit sealing kitchen and bathroom windows to let out the steam and create sufficient ventilation. Instead, seal the inner doors to these rooms.
Do you need a professional?
Draught proofing shouldn't be too much of a problem if you can deal with simple DIY jobs. Most products should be available from good DIY shops.
However, some homes, especially older buildings with single glazing, will be more difficult to draught proof than others. This is when you could do with the help of a professional. To find a recommended installer, Which? members can check Which? Local for recommended traders in their area. The Draught Proofing Advisory Association also lists installers who are its members.
Draught proofing sash windows
Sash windows, especially old single-glazed ones, are notorious for being draughty. Not everyone wants to replace their traditional sash windows, but if you do then installing A-rated double glazing could save you up to £175 a year on your heating bill. To find out how much you should pay for double glazing and which company to use, read our guide to double glazing prices.
If you don't want to install double-glazing, you can still cut down on draughts.
- Window foam seal: This is like a thick tape and comes in rolls in various colours. The tapes are easy to install as some are self-adhesive, and they're cheap. They are available from larger DIY stores. However, these do not work well for sliding sash windows.
- Foam sealant: This special type of foam can be sprayed into gaps around windows or doors. It's more expensive than the foam tape.
- Metallic or plastic brush strips: These are more expensive than the foam tape, but should last longer.
We recommend you avoid insulating window film - also known as secondary glazing film. This is a transparent film that you tape onto the window to create a double-glazing effect. We tested one of these films and concluded it's an eco product you don't need. We found that the film may need to be re-stretched periodically (with a hairdryer), which can be inconvenient. It can easily tear, and you would have to buy a new pack if it did.
Find out what other eco products to avoid in our .
Cheap and easy ways to stop draughts
Draughts from external doors can come from a gap under the door, letterboxes and even keyholes.
If you can feel cold air coming in from under your door, you can fit a weatherbar or a door brush strip at the bottom of the door. These act as a seal when your door is closed. They are easy to fit yourself and are available online and in most large DIY stores - prices start from around £6.
Alternatively, you could use a draught excluder. They can also fit at the bottom of a draughty sash window. All sorts of shops sell them, though you could make one yourself by filling a piece of fabric with old clothes or rice. However, it isn't fixed to the door so, depending where it lands when you close the door behind you, it may let in draughts when you're out.
If cold air's coming in from around the door, you can buy a brush door seal - a pack of five seals starts from around £7.
You can also fit a letterbox plate to stop cold air getting in, without stopping your mail - they cost under £10. And buy a keyhole cover - a metallic disc that stops the draught and slides to the side when you put your key in - for about £3 to block the draught coming in through the keyhole.
Draught proof your loft hatch
As heat rises, it can escape through any gaps around your loft hatch. To insulate it, you can use foam strips - as you would for doors or windows.
If you want to save even more money on heating, loft insulation can cut your energy bills by about £180 a year. Find out more in our guide to loft insulation.
Protect pipework from draughts
Fill in any holes around pipes leading to an attic, loft or outside. Silicon filler should suffice for small gaps, while larger gaps might require expanding polyurethane foam.
You can pick these products up from any decent DIY store.
Other draught trouble spots
Draughts can appear in all sorts of places. Other key trouble spots include:
- Cracks in walls: These can be filled with cement or hard setting fillers. If cracks start appearing, there could be a problem with your walls and you should consult a surveyor.
- Old extractor fans: The fan outlet can be filled with bricks or concrete, then sealed.
- Chimneys and fireplaces: If you don't use your fireplace you could fit a cap over the chimney pot (best done by a professional) or fit a chimney draught excluder from any good DIY store.
- Floorboards and skirting boards: See our guide on how to stop draughts from floors.