Guide to Saving Energy at Home
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Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save energy and reduce your household utility bills.
By preventing cold air from entering your home and stopping warm air from escaping, draught proofing helps to retain heat and places less pressure on your home heating.
A draught can be described as a current of cold air that flows through a room. These currents are often unwanted and create a space for warm air to escape – affecting the temperatures in your home.
Part of what makes draught-proofing so easy is that it can be completed DIY. Tools can be bought from your local DIY shop. If you choose to get your home professionally draught-proofed, costs can be around £200.
Draughts occur when there are unwanted gaps in the construction of your property. To get rid of them, you’ll need to seal them.
When draught-proofing your home, you need to identify the areas that could be prime culprits for heat loss. These include:
Windows are a common area for draughts as they link directly to the outside. If they are not adequately sealed or insulated, they can allow cold air to enter. To help with this, you can fill any gaps around and between window frames using use self-adhesive foam strips. Metal or plastic strips can also be used; they can be more expensive, but they tend to last longer. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save around £20 per year on your annual energy bills by draught proofing your windows and doors.
Double glazing and secondary glazing are also measures that can be used to prevent draughts. However, they will be more costly than simple DIY methods.
Secondary glazing tends to be the easier and cheaper option as this simply involves adding glazing material, such as rigid and transparent sheets or semi-permanent glass, to the inside of existing window frames. Meanwhile, double glazing involves fitting two glass panes with a gap between them to form a barrier for insulation.
You can draught-proof both external and internal doors in your home. External doors can be fitted with keyhole covers, letterbox flaps/brushes and draught excluders and strips for gaps around and at the bottom of the door.
Internal doors that lead to cooler rooms can be draught-proofed by simply keeping them closed and fitting draught excluders where needed.
Gaps in your floorboards, particularly on the ground floor, can cause draughts. A solution to this would be to fill the gaps with a silicon-based filler that is capable of tolerating the expanding and contracting that takes place on the floorboards as a result of frequent use. Common fillers used for floorboards include decorator’s caulk, flexible fillers and mastic-type products.
Draughts can also form through cracks in your walls. You can fill these cracks with cement or hard-setting fillers to prevent the flow of cold air into your home. If you notice a particularly large crack in your wall, you should consult a professional as this could be a sign of a bigger problem.
Getting your walls insulated could provide you with further help in keeping cold air out of your home and maintaining your ideal temperatures. Depending on the type of walls you have, it could help you save up to £375 on your annual energy bill.
Loft hatches not only provide you with entry into your loft, but they also provide a space for warm air to exit as it rises. To help with this, it is usually recommended that you insulate your loft hatch using foam strips, just as you would with doors.
Loft insulation is a great way of reducing heat loss and increasing your property’s overall energy efficiency. It is estimated that this measure could save you approximately £250 on your yearly energy bills and lower your carbon emissions by 1030kg.
An unused fireplace could cause an unnecessary draught. You can rectify this issue by getting a cap fitted over the chimney pot by a professional. Alternatively, you could use a draught excluder such as a chimney balloon.
You should always ensure that you remove any draught-stopping measures from this area before using the fireplace. Draught-proofing your chimney when it’s not in use could help you save around £15 a year on your yearly energy bill.
You can fill holes around the pipework in your property that leads to your loft or outside. Small gaps can be filled with silicone filler, but you’ll need to use a solution such as expanding polyurethane foam for larger gaps.
Visit our Pipe and Tank Insulation page to find out more about reducing heat loss from your pipework.
Although some air currents can be unwanted, other areas in your home may allow air to enter intentionally for ventilation purposes. When draught-proofing, it is important that you do not block any intentional air openings and compromise your property’s ventilation.
Areas where ventilation is often intentional include:
Draught-proofing is often the first step in increasing your household’s energy efficiency. Other methods that can help include insulation and switching energy suppliers.
You can use our quick and easy comparison tool today to find an energy tariff best suited to your needs.
Alternatively, take a look at our energy guides to find out more about saving energy.