Draught proofing

Here's a simple test - hold the palm of your hand up against the windows in your home. If you feel cold air coming through, warm air is escaping. In fact, in a typical home 20 per cent of all heat loss is through ventilation and draughts.

Draught proofing is an easy, cost-effective way to reduce heating bills. Full draught proofing will save you around £55 a year for a DIY outlay of £50. Most materials are available from DIY stores. Check the quality of the products. It will affect their performance and durability. They should conform to the standard BS 7386.

There are several types of materials available.  The British Standard Institution can help you decide which is best for your home.

The most common draught-zones 

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

Exterior doors: Fit brush or hinged-flap draught excluders, fitted along the bottom of the doors

Interior doors: Cut draughts with ‘snake’ draught excluders, brushes or similar strips of material but remember leave kitchen and bathroom as ventilation is important

Unused chimneys: Chimney balloons are available from most DIY stores. Plastic bags stuffed with other plastic bags also work – remember to remove and let the air circulate in summer

Around pipework: Apply silicone mastic, wall-filler or expanding foam as appropriate

Floorboards and skirting boards: Fill the gaps with flexible fillers, clear or brown silicone mastic, decorators’ caulk or similar products

Cracks in walls: Use cement or a hard-setting decorators’ wall-filler

Redundant extractor fan outlets: These should be blocked up

Loft hatches: Use strips of draught excluding material fitted around the edges of the frame, and don’t forget to insulate the hatch itself

Lighting and electrical fittings: Plug the gaps around the fittings with wall-filler

Letterboxes: Fit flaps or brushes to keep the cold air out and the warm air in

Caution - adequate ventilation is as important as draught proofing - and essential