By Ellie Simmonds
Draught proofing your doors and windows is a quick, cheap way to reduce your heating bills. Use our expert tips to get your home feeling cosy.
Keeping warm air in and cold air out is the first step to a warm, cosy home, and can be a quick and affordable way to cut your energy bills.
The amount you'll save on your bills means that your draught proofing is likely to pay for itself in a few years.
Read on 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 too much to heat your home in the first place. Use our independent energy switching service, Which? Switch, to get a cheap energy deal.
Draught proofing costs and savings
Hiring a professional installer to draught-proof your home could cost around £200. Doing it yourself could cost much less, providing you have a good idea of what to do.
Draught proofing your windows and doors could save you up to £20 in energy a year, as well as making your home more comfortable to live in.
Plus, you might find you're able to keep your thermostat a little lower once you've draught-proofed your space. Turning down the thermostat by just one degree in a typical home could save you £85-£90 per year.
|Draught proofing costs and savings|
|DIY installation||depends on what you plan to draught-proof||£25-£50|
|Professional installation||around £200||£25-£50|
Draught proofing your home
Start by looking around your house for uncovered gaps and openings to the outside. For example:
- doors, keyholes and letterboxes
- chimneys and fireplaces
- floorboard and skirting boards
- loft hatches
- cracks in walls
- gaps around electricity fittings on walls and ceilings
Does draught proofing reduce ventilation?
If you are giving your home a total package of insulation, it’s important not to completely seal the building, as homes are designed to need some air flowing in and out of them.
Make sure you keep outside ventilation in areas where there are open fires or flues, and in rooms where moisture is produced like kitchens and bathrooms.
Don’t seal kitchen and bathroom windows – the gaps will let out steam and reduce the risk of damp. Instead, seal the inner doors to these rooms, so that once the doors are closed you know the warm air from the rest of the house isn't escaping.
Do you need a draught proofing professional?
Draught proofing shouldn’t be too tricky if you're happy to tackle simple DIY jobs. Most products should be available from good DIY shops.
Some homes, especially older buildings with single glazing, will be more difficult to draught proof than others. In these cases, you may find you could do with the help of a professional.
Head to Which? Trusted Traders to find a local installer who's been vetted by Which?.
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 between £95 and £115 a year on the heating bill of a typical home (depending on its size).
To make sure you don’t get overcharged for double glazing, 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. It's easy to install, cheap and available at larger DIY stores. However, it doesn't work well for sliding windows.
- Foam sealant: This special 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 foam tape, but should last longer.
Secondary-glazing film is a transparent tape that fixes to windows to create a double-glazing effect. However, we recommend you avoid using it.
We tested one of these films and concluded that there are better options available. We found that the film may need to be re-stretched periodically (with a hairdryer), which can be inconvenient. Plus, it can easily tear.
Cheap and easy draught proofing
Draughts from outside can come in through gaps under doors, letterboxes and even keyholes.
If you can feel cold air coming in from under an external door, you can fit a weatherbar or a door brush strip. These act as a seal at the bottom of your door when it’s 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. All sorts of shops sell draught excluders, or you could even make one yourself by filling a large piece of fabric with old clothes or rice.
However, because a draught excluder isn't fixed to the door, depending on where it lands when you close the door behind you it may let in draughts when you’re out.
Letterbox draught excluders are popular, as are letterbox plates, which stop cold air getting in without blocking your mail – they cost under £10.
A keyhole cover is a metallic disc that stops draughts and slides to the side when you put your key in – they cost about £3.
Draught proofing your loft hatch
As heat rises, it can escape upwards through small gaps around your loft hatch. Insulate these using foam strips, as you would for doors or windows.
To really protect hot air from escaping through the roof, you'll need to look at insulating your loft. Good loft insulation can cut the energy bills in a typical house by about £130 a year. Find out more in our guide to loft insulation.
Draught proofing pipework
Fill in any holes around pipes leading to a loft or outside – such as extraction pipes on your white goods. Silicone filler should be fine 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. Key trouble spots include:
- Cracks in walls: These can be filled with cement or hard-setting fillers. You should consult a surveyor if big cracks start appearing, as this could mean there's a problem with your walls.
- Disused extractor fans: Old fan outlets 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.
Following these draught-proofing tips will help make your home cosier and cut your energy bills.
For other ways to save, head to our guide on how to save on your energy bill.