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Draught proofing

By Ellie Simmonds

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Draught proofing

Draught proof your doors and windows to cut your heating bills. Use our quick, expert draught-proofing tips to help keep your home cosy.

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.

Our expert advice on draught proofing will help you 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

It could cost between £85 and £275 to hire an installer to draught proof your home. It can be cheaper to do it yourself and, depending on what needs doing, could cost much less.

Draught proofing just your windows and doors could save you up to £25 a year. And as well as cutting your heating bills, draught-free homes are more comfortable to live in. 

Turning down the thermostat by just one degree in a typical home could save you £85-£90 per year.

Draught proofing costs and savings
  Cost Annual saving
DIY installation depends on what you plan to draught-proof £25-£50
Professional installation around £200 £25-£50

Draught proofing your home

Look around your house for unwanted gaps and uncovered outside openings. For example:

  • windows
  • doors, keyholes and letterboxes
  • chimneys and fireplaces
  • floorboard and skirting boards
  • loft hatches
  • pipework
  • cracks in walls
  • around electricity fittings on walls and ceilings

Draught proofing vs 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.

Don’t seal kitchen and bathroom windows – this lets out the steam and helps create ventilation. Instead, seal the inner doors to these rooms.

Do you need a draught proofing 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 trustworthy, local installer, you can use Which? Trusted Traders. The Draught Proofing Advisory Association also lists installers.

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 £35 and £110 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. The tapes are easy to install as some are self-adhesive, and they’re cheap. They are available from larger DIY stores. However, they don’t 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. You tape this transparent film onto the window to create a double-glazing effect. 

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. It can easily tear, and you would have to buy a new pack if it did.

Cheap and easy draught proofing 

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. 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. You can also fit one at the bottom of a draughty sash window. All sorts of shops sell draught excluders, and you could even make one yourself by filling a piece of fabric with old clothes or rice. 

However, a draught excluder isn't fixed to the door. So 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 also popular. You can also fit a letterbox plate to stop cold air getting in without stopping your mail – they cost under £10. 

And you can buy a keyhole cover. This is a metallic disc that stops the draught 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 through any gaps around your loft hatch. Insulate it using foam strips, as you would for doors or windows.

If you want to save even more money on heating, loft insulation can cut the energy bills in a typical house by about £140 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. 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. 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.

Following these draught-proofing tips will help make your home cosier and cut your energy bill. Now see other ways to save on your energy bill.

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