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.
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
depends on what you plan to draught-proof
Start by looking around your house for uncovered gaps and openings to the outside. For example:
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.
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. You can find a tradesperson using our Which? Trusted Traders service. Use our tool below to find a tradesperson near you.
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).
If you don’t want to install double glazing, you can still cut down on draughts:
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.
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.
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 .
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.
Draughts can appear in all sorts of places. Key trouble spots include:
Following these draught-proofing tips will help make your home cosier and cut your energy bills.