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Home & garden.

How to draught proof your home

Draught proofing your doors and windows is a quick and cheap way to reduce your heating bills. Use our expert tips to help keep your home cosy this winter, and throughout the year.
Adam Snook
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Keeping warm air in and cold air out is a first simple step to a cosy home – and draught proofing 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. Use Which? Switch, our independent energy switching service, 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 may be a lot cheaper, but only if you have a good idea of what you need 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 between £85 and £90 a year.

 Draught proofing costs and savingsCostAnnual saving
DIY installationdepends on what you plan to draught proof£25-£50
Professional installationaround £200£25-£50

Draught proofing your home

Start by looking around your house for uncovered gaps and openings to the outside. Check:

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

Does draught proofing reduce ventilation?

Even if you're eager to draught proof your whole home, it’s important not to completely seal your property. There needs to be some air flowing in and out. 

Make sure you keep outside ventilation in areas where there are open fires or flues, and in rooms where moisture is produced, such as 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 door is 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 usually happy to tackle 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. 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.

Head to Which? Trusted Traders to find a local installer vetted by Which?.

Draught proofing sash windows

Sash windows, and 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 by trying the following:

  • Window foam seal: This is like a thick tape and comes in rolls of 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 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 hair dryer), which can be inconvenient. Plus, it can easily tear.

Cheap and easy draught proofing 

Draughts from outside can come into your home through gaps around doors, letterboxes and even keyholes.

If you can feel cold air coming in from under an external door, you can fit a weather bar or a door brush strip. This acts as a seal at the bottom of your door when it’s closed. Both 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, it may still let in draughts when you're out, as you can't guarantee where it'll land when you close the door behind you. 

Letterbox draught excluders are popular, as are letterbox plates, which stop cold air getting in without interfering with any mail deliveries – 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 – a cover costs 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 that lead 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 both these products up from any decent DIY store.

Other draught trouble spots

Draughts can appear in all sorts of places. Key troublespots 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 to 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.

Draught proofing tips for renters

If you are renting your home, it has to be fit for habitation and it’s your landlord’s responsibility to ensure this. If your house is too cold (or swelteringly hot) or damp, then this is a danger to your health and the landlord must make necessary repairs. 

There are exceptions to this rule, though. If you have caused damage to the property, either intentionally or through negligence, the onus is on you to fix issues caused. Visit our tenant rights guide to find out more about your statutory rights and tackling common renters' issues.

Buy an electric heater

An electric heater can give you concentrated heat when and where you want it. An electric heater can be a renter’s best friend: they’re versatile, quick to heat up and are easily transportable from one tenancy to the next. 

Their drawback is their high cost per hour. Electricity is much more expensive per kilowatt hour (kWh) than gas, and portable heaters usually run at two or three kWs. 

  • If you want a fast blast of heating, look for a fan heater. 
  • If you want longer heating that shrouds the room in warmth evenly, then look for a convector heater or a radiator (either oil-based or oil-free is fine).

To keep yourself comfortable, and to make sure your energy use is proportionate to your needs, buy a heater with a thermostat that’s proven to work. It’s the most important feature of any electric heater, and our tests show that quality varies widely. 

Heaters have to be fitted with thermostats now because of energy efficiency rules, but our test lab shows us that quality varies widely. Also make sure that electric heaters (sometimes called space heaters) are not forbidden by your contract. 

Read our electric heater reviews to find out which ones did well in our tests.

Manage your home’s humidity 

It’s important to strike the right balance between humidification and ventilation. This can be hard when your windows and doors are tightly shut to insulate your home. 

Your home will become damp and mouldy if you don’t limit the humidity that builds up through drying clothes, cooking and showering. A dehumidifier can help you keep damp in check. 

  • Damp traps, also known as moisture absorbers, are quick, cheap fixes that can suck in water vapour. They normally cost around £10 and are good for low-level condensation. However,  they won’t do much if you have a serious damp problem 
  • Dehumidifiers work more quickly and offer more control. Most have a humidistat that lets you monitor the humidity level and choose your preferred setting, striking an ideal balance. These usually cost over £100.

Find a model that will help you keep your home damp-free by reading our dehumidifier reviews