Draught Busting DIY Tips

Draughts can account for around 12% heat loss from a house. Also, draughty houses are not very comfortable to live in. Fortunately, a lot of draughts can be remedied fairly cheaply and are simple enough for DIY. Read on for some useful tips.

So where do the draughts come from? Most old houses have cracks and gaps which hot air can escape from, and where cold air comes in. Common sources of draughts are gaps around doors and windows, letter boxes, loft hatches, unused chimneys, around pipework entering an external wall, through floorboards (above suspended floors with an air flow underneath – you have this if you have air-bricks visible outside at ground level), around electrical fittings (e.g. plug sockets) and along skirting boards.

Gaps can be fairly easy to plug. But please NEVER block boiler flues, air bricks and trickle vents (above windows), and avoid over draught-proofing in kitchens and bathrooms where some ventilation is needed to allow damp, stale air to escape.

Windows: Use foam, metal or plastic draught-excluding strips, or brush seals for sash windows. Temporary secondary glazing film is another option.

Doors: Fit brush strips along the bottom of external doors to close the gap to the floor but still allow the door to open. You can also add a fabric snake draught excluder – buy one or make your own. You can seal other parts of the door against the frame with foam, metal or plastic draught-excluding strips.

Letterbox: Install brush seal on internal side of letterbox.

Unused Chimney: You can seal the chimney with a chimney balloon (from DIY store, various sizes) or a plastic bag stuffed with newspaper. Remember to unseal the chimney in the summer to let the air circulate.

Around pipework entering external walls: Use silicon sealant (small gaps), wall filler or expanding foam (larger gaps).

Floorboards and Skirting Boards: Fill in the gaps with clear or coloured silicon sealant, flexible filler or decorator's caulking.

Loft Hatch: Use foam strips to make a seal around the loft hatch. Don't forget to insulate the loft hatch by sticking insulation (eg thick layer of polystyrene) on the back.

Cracks in walls and gaps around electrical fittings: Use wall filler, eg polyfilla

All these products are available from DIY Stores and Builders Merchants.

Happy draught-busting!