It’s getting much cooler in the evenings now and you might be starting to feel any draughts you have in your home. A draft is usually a sign of inadequate insulation which allows cold air to enter a home while warm air will leave the same way.
On average 15-20% of the heat loss from a home will be as a result of draughts.
Some ventilation or airflow into a home is important. This is particularly true of rooms where high levels of damp air are generated such as bathrooms and kitchens. These should be ventilated to prevent the warm damp air collecting on colder walls and condensing which can result in damp and mould. Hydrostatic extraction fans work well in these areas. They are generally low powered and only come on when humidity levels are high.
Ventilation is also essential in rooms with open fires and open flues.
How to find draughts
A good way to start to find draughts in your home is to choose a cold breezy day, and walk around your home, holding the back of your hand up to the gaps around doors, windows, light fittings, your letterbox, loft hatches and cat flaps. External doors are often a priority; and you may also find draughts coming between the wall and the window/door frame, and windowsills. Chimneys can also be a source of draughts if not in use.
Dealing with draughts
There are different ways of dealing with draughts, many of which can be low cost and DIY. These include letter box brushes, door brushes for the bottom of doors and draught strips for around windows and doors.
Chimney balloons/sheep can be used for chimneys but be sure to follow the instructions and remember they are there.
Draughtex can be a good solution for filling in the gaps between floorboards and can be easily removed if needed: https://www.draughtex.co.uk/
A good reference is a guide from the Centre of Sustainable Energy: https://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support/diy-draught-proofing
Glazed areas and insulation
The glazed areas of your home (windows and doors) can be a source of heat loss, particularly if single glazed, or where double glazing is old or has failed (e.g. you have misting between the glazing layers).
Secondary glazing can be less expensive than replacing your existing glazing. There are a number of options which include:
- Glazing film – a sort of cling film attached to the window which needs to be reapplied each winter
- A sheet of Perspex material attached to the inside of the window. Designed well it can be reused each year. Magnaglaze is a version of this. It uses magnetic strips attached to the window frame, and strips attached to a sheet of Perspex cut to size. This allows the secondary glazing to be removed easily.
- A more expensive solution is to have an internal window fitted. This can be a solution in situations such as listed properties where double/triple glazing is not favoured.
Heavy curtains and thermal blinds can also help keep the heat in but remember not to let them cover the radiator.
Sources of information
There are a number of different sources of information if you want to find out more including:
- the Energy Saving Trust: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/draught-proofing,
- the Centre for Sustainable Energy: https://www.cse.org.uk/advice/advice-and-support
- and Devon Climate Emergency: https://devonclimateemergency.org.uk/individual-top-tips/;
- and locally on this website: https://tamarenergycommunity.com