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Draught Proofing

Draught Proofing

Draught proofing is one of the most effective changes that can be made to a building to reduce energy use by keeping warmth inside the building. Controlled ventilation is important for the function of a building and needs to be kept, but excessive draughtiness can cause problems for inhabitants. Ventilation helps to reduce condensation and damp by letting fresh air in when needed and keeping air moving. When draught becomes excessive or uncontrolled however, it lets in too much cold air leading to wasted heat. To ensure adequate ventilation, any areas of intentional ventilation such as extractor fans, underfloor grilles or airbricks, wall vents or trickle vents should not be sealed.

Effective draught proofing can be done by sealing up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. This can be through doors, loft hatches and chimney flues. Windows can also be sealed up, for more information, please see the window sections.

More information can be found here:

Doors

For doors, draught proofing will primarily need to be done to external doors only, unless there is significant temperature variation amongst internal rooms. Similarly, fire doors or doors of special historical/heritage value shouldn’t be draught proofed. For suitable doors you can:

  • Draught proof around the door edge using fit foam, brush or wiper strips
  • Draught proof around the letterbox using a flap or brush
  • Insulate the door itself- a thin layer of suitable insulation material can be added to the doors panels
  • Cover keyholes with purpose made covers

More information can be found here:

Loft Hatches

Significant amounts of heat can be lost by letting warm air escape out of a loft hatch or by letting cold air in from the roof area- especially if you have an insulated loft or roof space. If the loft is getting insulated, draught proofing the loft hatch should be done at the same time otherwise the loft insulation will be less effective.

If the loft hatch rests on a frame of the loft entrance you can simply put a compression seal or foam strip around the perimeter of the bottom of the loft hatch. When the hatch sits in place, the seal should ensure that all draughts are stopped.

If the hatch is hinged and swings down you will need to put either the compression seal or the foam strip on the outside perimeter on the top of loft hatch. You will also need to put an equivalent strip on the inside of the hatch frame so that the two strips meet, creating an airtight barrier to stop the draughts.

For additional measures you can insulate the top of the loft hatch to ensure no heat is lost through this space. This can be a fairly simple step of attaching insulation materials to the top of the hatch.

More information can be found here:

Chimneys

A chimney can be a large draw of warm air out of a room, whether or not it is in use. The amount of this air this might be depends on a variety of factors such as building height and outside temperature which becomes known as the "stack effect". To reduce this effect there are a few options you can take.

One affordable option is to put a draught excluder in the chimney which blocks the passage therefore stopping air getting pulled out. This can be specifically designed chimney balloons or chimney sheeps. 

Another option is a a chimney cap or cowl which covers the top of the chimney and can stop excess air getting pulled out as well as providing protection from nesting birds and other debris.

More information can be found here:

Related guide

Windows

Advice on how to improve the energy performance of the windows in your building.

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