Draught proofing your house can save you money

Draught proofing

  • Save up to £50 a year by draught proofing your home, and get expert tips on installation
  • Find out where in your home you could be losing heat and learn more about draught excluders
  • Practical solutions for draught proofing your home including windows, doors, chimneys and pipework

What is draught proofing?

Draught proofing is about blocking off gaps in your home that let hot air escape and cold air come in. In effect, you are stopping your heating system heating the air in the street - especially if you've got good home insulation as heat will be quicker to escape through any gaps.

Draught proofing results in a more comfortable home, as well as energy and money savings.

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
 CostAnnual savingPayback time
DIY installationabout £120up to £502 to 3 years
Professional installationabout £200-£400up to £504 to 8 years

How to draught proof your house

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.

Not a Which? member? Sign up for £1 for access to Which? Local and all the reviews on our site - ranging from boilers to wood-burning stoves.

What to draught proof?

Look around your house for unwanted gaps and where openings to the outside have been left uncovered. For example:

Eco flaps stop heat escaping through your letter box

An ecoflap can help save money by stopping heat escaping through your letterbox

  • Windows
  • Doors, keyholes and letterboxes
  • Chimneys and fireplaces
  • Floorboard and skirting boards
  • Loft hatches
  • Pipework (leading outside)
  • Cracks in walls

Ventilation

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.

Draught proofing sash windows

Sash windows, especially old single-glazed ones, are notorious for being draughty. Replacing single-glazed windows in your house with 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 can't improve your windows, there are still solutions available to stop draughts.

Draught proof windows to keep heat inside

Draughty single glazed windows are better upgraded to double or triple glazed but short-term solutions include insulating window film

  • 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 is a special type of foam that 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.
  • Secondary glazing film (or insulating window film) - This is a transparent film that you tape onto the window to create a double-glazing effect. Which? 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 review of eco products.

Stop draughts with a draught excluder

Draughts from external doors can come from a gap under the door, letterboxes and even keyholes.

Good eco stores and some DIY shops sell solutions for these draughty gaps.

Draught excluders can help stop heat escaping

Draught excluders can help with draughts from doors and you can even make them yourself

If you can feel cold air coming in from under your door, you can stop this draught by fitting a weatherbar or a door brush strip at the bottom of the door. These will act as a seal when your door is closed. They should be easy to fit yourself and are available online and in most large DIY stores.

Brush door seals also exist to fit around your door, if that's where cold air is coming through.

Another way to stop draughts from under doors is to use a draught excluder that sits on the inside. These are often made of fabric and come in a range of designs. 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, for example. 

Unlike a weatherbar or door brush seal, a draught excluder isn't fixed to the door and might not stop draughts while you're out, as it will be left where it lands when you close the door behind you.

You can also fit an ecoflap (or letterbox plate or brushes) on your letterbox to stop cold air getting in, without stopping your mail. A step further would be to block the draught coming from the keyhole. You can buy keyhole covers for just under £4. They work by having a metallic disc that drops over the hole - this slides to the side when you put the key in.

Draught proof your loft hatch

It's worth stopping draughts around your loft hatch as heat rises and will escape through any gaps there. You can use foam strips, as you would for doors or windows.

Protect pipework from draughts

If you have holes around pipes leading to an attic, loft or outside, you could fill these in. Silicon filler should suffice for small gaps, while larger gaps might require expanding polyurethane foam.

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 eco store.
  • Floorboards and skirting boards - see our guide on how to stop draughts from floors.

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