There are a lot of simple measures that can be taken to stop draughts and improve the heating capabilities and overall warmth of your home. We all know what a draught is: the unwanted passing of air between the outside and the inside of a building. This leads to unwanted heat loss and breezes, forcing us to use additional electricity as we attempt to better regulate internal temperatures. If you’re living in a house that was constructed before the 1980s, there’s a good chance your home will have multiple draughts that require attention. Even if you’re not, all homes require regular upkeep and maintenance as they age, so knowing what to do before a problem
occurs will keep you better prepared.
There are several major areas of heat loss in a home. These are our windows and doors, through elevated floors, and via un-insulated wall and ceiling cavities. Some of these places are easier to address than others. Insulating your walls, for example, is a major undertaking, while stopping air from passing beneath a door requires a single trip to a hardware store.
By now we’ve all heard about the benefits of insulating our ceiling, and, undoubtedly, it’s one of the most effective things we can do to improve the insulating qualities of a home. The same can also be said for putting insulation beneath your feet. If your home is elevated off the ground, there’s a good chance you’ve got a timber floor. Timber floors look fantastic and they add a lot to a home, however, over time the individual boards will shrink slightly, allowing cool air to rise from below. If you have this issue, you’re probably already aware of it because you’ll be able to feel the air as it squeezes between the boards. Underfloor insulation will stop this from happening. Basically, your floor insulation will keep the cool air out, and your ceiling insulation keep the warm air in. It’s a great combination.
When it comes to your windows, consider lighting a candle and moving it around all the seals (watch for your curtains and blinds). If the flame flickers at all, then you’ve got a draught. Small air leaks can be addressed with some sealant or putty, depending on your window type. Also check your latches and hinges, making sure the windows close tightly (without sticking); if any are broken, replace them. Some types of curtains also have insulated linings, these are particularly useful for blocking draughts and cutting down on heat lost through thin windowpanes.
Doors can also be troublesome. Self-adhesive strips of foam or rubber can be installed around the door frame so that doors close snuggly; similarly, weather seals or brush seals can be installed at the bottom of doors to stop air from coming in underneath. For older homes, keyhole covers are also available for older style door locks. Interior doors can be draught proofed with the time-tested floor sausage, or if the gap is large, with an interior door seal.
Ultimately, there is never a bad time to consider draught proofing your home. However, it’s often a good idea to have these issues addressed before winter sets in and draughts become uncomfortable. Areas that have previously been draft proofed should be re-checked every once in a while, ensuring employed measures are still effective.