How to DIY draught proof your home on a budget
11 February 2021 | Stephen Marcus
A warm, cosy living room during winter can be a magical place. So there’s nothing worse than a pesky draught, bringing in cold air to disturb the toasty comfort of the sofa! And it affects your bills, too. Leaky windows and doors allow heat to escape, which means you need to use more heating to warm the house back up.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to draught-proof your home, how much it costs, how it can help you bring down your heating bills – and lighten your carbon footprint, too.
What is draught-proofing? Why is it important?
Simply put, draught-proofing is about filling the spaces that let heat escape from your home, while making sure that it’s still ventilated with fresh air.
From your letterbox to cracks in the walls, any openings to the outside can let warm air out, and cold air in. And when it comes to boosting your home’s energy-efficiency, draught-proofing can be a cheap and easy way to get big results.
Top 3 benefits of draught-proofing
1. Keep your home warm and energy-efficient
As we’ve said, draught-proofing is one of the best ways to stop your home losing heat. This means that your heating will need to do less work to maintain a cosy temperature, and you’ll also use less energy. Draught-proofing can help keep a comfortable temperature in the summer, too, by stopping cool air escaping – especially if you have air-conditioning.
2. Cut down your fuel bills
If you’re using less energy, that means you’re being charged less too! It’s as simple as that – the more energy-efficient your home, the cheaper your fuel bills will be.
To find out more about cutting your fuel bills, check out our guide to being efficient with heating and hot water.
3. Lighten your carbon footprint
Another benefit of cutting your energy use is that you’ll reduce your carbon footprint, too. The less you use your gas-powered boiler, the less carbon that’s being released – a perfect example of how small tweaks can help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.
If you’ve got an electric boiler, why not switch to OVO to get 100% renewable electricity? We offer renewable electricity as standard1, and we’ll plant a tree for every year you’re with us. Get a quote in 2 minutes.
How much could you save by draught-proofing?
Here’s what you could save by draught-proofing different parts of your home:
- Windows and doors – around £20 a year2
- Chimney – £15 a year3
Plus, you can get away with turning the heating down a fraction more in draught-proofed homes. By turning down the thermostat a degree or 2, you’ll lower your energy use even further, and save yourself some money on bills. In fact, by turning down the thermostat by one degree, you can save £80 a year4.
Do I need to get professional draught-proofing?
It’s definitely possible to draught-proof your home yourself. As long as you’re comfortable doing DIY tasks, it should be fairly straightforward.
How much does draught-proofing cost?
Hiring someone to draught-proof your home should cost around £2005. Doing it yourself will be cheaper, but professional draught-proofing could save your home more energy in the long run. That’s because they’ll know all the right materials to use, so will likely do a better job at making your home more energy-efficient.
And with the savings we’ve shown you can make, you could still make back the money you’ve spent on hiring a professional. Here’s an interesting fact: if all the homes in the UK were properly draught-proofed, the country could save as much as £190 million in heating costs6!
Top draught-proofing methods
Whether you’re doing it yourself, or you’re hiring someone to do the work for you, here are the best ways to draught-proof your home.
1. Seal gaps
Here are a couple of ways to block those small gaps where heat can escape:
- Compression strips – also known as draught excluders, these are taped along the parts of doors or windows that close against a frame. It’s important to choose the right size, as they can stop the door or window closing if they’re too big. They’re easy and low-cost, starting at around £57.
- Brush strips – these keep dust from coming into your home, and they stop warmth from leaking out. To install one, you just need to measure the bottom of the door when it’s closed, then cut it to size, and position it so the bristles of the strip touch the floor, but don’t drag too much. Then just screw it into place. This one’s a quick and easy fix, starting at around £38.
2. Thermal curtains and blinds
Some curtains and blinds are specially designed to stop heat escaping:
- Thermal curtains – these are extra thick, and help to stop air getting in and out through your windows. It’s important to do your measurements carefully, so that your window is fully covered. These start from around £459.
- Thermal blinds – just like with thermal curtains, these use thicker material and are carefully fitted so they cover the whole window. These start from around £2510.
3. Carpets or rugs with underlay
If you have a carpet or a rug on top of your floorboards, then you’re already helping to stop heat escaping through the floor. But if you want to go a step further, try adding an underlay beneath. These start from around £3511.
4. Keyhole covers
Fitting a cover to your keyhole is a great way to smarten up your front door, while also stopping up another route for draughts to get inside. They’re easy to fit, and you can buy one for around £312.
5. Letterbox internal brush and cover
Likewise, adding a cover to your letterbox is a nice touch for your front door – with wonderful draught-proofing benefits to boot! Add an internal brush, and your post won’t be letting in any unwanted breezes. They cost around £1013.
Common areas where you find draughts – and how to stop them
There are a few different ways to draught-proof your windows, depending on your budget and what kind of windows you’ve got.
For most windows that open, you can use draught-proofing strips. These come in 2 different types:
- Foam strips – these are self-adhesive, so are easy to install, and cheap too.
- Metal or plastic strips – these have brushes or wipers attached. They’re more expensive, but will last longer.
There are 2 other kinds of window to consider too:
- Sash windows – if you’re in a period property with sash windows, foam strips won’t work well. We’d recommend using the metal or plastic strips instead.
- Windows that don’t open – use a silicone sealant to thoroughly block any gaps, as you don’t need to worry about opening and closing them.
To learn more about how to insulate your windows and doors, check out our ultimate guide to energy-efficient doors and windows.
As we explained in our top draught-proofing methods above, there are a few simple ways you can adjust your external doors. From covers for your keyhole and letterboxes, to a brush fitted beneath the door, they’re all affordable and easy to do yourself.
When it comes to internal doors, here’s what you need to remember:
- You should draught-proof doors if they lead to a room you don’t normally heat, such as your spare room or kitchen
- And you should keep those doors closed to stop cold air from moving to other parts of the home
- If there’s a gap at the bottom, try and block it – you could even do this by making your own sausage dog draught excluder!
- But remember, you don’t need to draught-proof internal doors between 2 heated rooms, as you won’t lose energy when warm air circulates between them
To learn more, check out our 7 easy ways to make your home more energy-efficient
While a fireplace can be a lovely feature of a living room, they often go unused nowadays. If you don’t use yours, then it could be causing you unnecessary draughts. Here are 2 ways you can draught-proof it:
- Fit a cap over the chimney – this is a neat terracotta lid for the chimney on your roof, to stop air flowing in or out. It’s usually best to get this fitted by a professional, and will cost around £15014.
- Install a chimney draught excluder – fitted inside your chimney or around the fireplace, this stops air getting in and out. They’re easy to fit yourself. Prices start at around £15 – and they can save you £17 a year on your bills, and cut your carbon emissions by 70kg15.
Draught-proofing floorboards and skirting boards
If you have a suspended timber floor using floorboards, rather than a hard concrete surface, there are probably some gaps between your floorboards, where heat can escape. And the same goes for the joins where your floor meets the skirting boards.
You can fill these gaps with a silicone filler, which can adapt to the movement of floorboards and skirting boards over time – as they tend to expand and contract from day to day. This costs around £3 to £516.
Lofts are cold, unheated and often not insulated – so it’s well worth blocking up any gaps in the loft hatch in your ceiling. The compression strips for draught-proofing doors are ideal.
And if you want to go one step further and insulate the loft itself, check out our ultimate guide to roof and loft insulation.
Draught-proofing cracks in walls
Depending on the nature of the problem, there are a couple different ways you can fix in a crack in the wall:
- Fill it in – use cement, or a hard-setting filler. These can work around any electrical fixtures in your wall or ceiling.
- Get it checked – if it’s a big crack, it’s worth getting a surveyor to take a look and see if there’s a more serious underlying problem. To find out how to insulate your walls, check out our guide to cavity wall insulation.
Other quick draught-proofing tips
Here are another couple of other easy ways you can stop draughts:
- Pipework – for small gaps around pipes, use silicone filler. For bigger gaps, you can use expanding polyurethane foam, which – as you probably guessed! – expands after you spray it, fills the gap, and then sets.
- Old extractor fans – if there’s a fan you no longer use, it could be worth filling the space with bricks or concrete blocks.
How does draught-proofing affect ventilation?
It’s important to keep ventilation in mind when draught-proofing, especially if a room has open flues or fires – where you need a steady supply of fresh air to keep your home safe. And in rooms that produce a lot of moisture, like kitchens or bathrooms, it’s important to stop the build-up of mould or condensation.
To see an inspiring example of how eco homes can combine fresh air with super insulation, check out our guide to Passive Houses.
Insulating other parts of your home
On top of draught-proofing, investing in insulation can be an amazing way to boost your home’s energy efficiency. Here are a few ways you can do it:
- Roof and loft insulation – fitted in either the joists or the rafters of your loft, this can save hundreds of pounds a year, and can cost as little as £50 for DIY installation. Find out more in our ultimate guide to roof and loft insulation.
- Cavity wall insulation – if your home was built after the 1920s, but before the 2000s, chances are you’ve got cavity walls. By filling them with insulation, you could save up to £160 a year on your bills. Find out more in our ultimate guide to cavity wall insulation.
- Solid wall insulation – if your home was built before 1920, you’ve probably got solid walls. Insulating them is trickier and more expensive than cavity walls – but you could still save hundreds of pounds a year on your bills17. Find out more in our complete guide to solid wall insulation.
- Double-glazed windows – when it comes to keeping your home warm, replacing old windows can make a huge difference. With the older single-glazed designs letting out as much as 60% of the heat in your home, upgrading to energy-efficient windows is worth considering. Find out more in our guide to double-glazed windows.
To learn more about insulation and saving energy, check out some of our other guides:
- How to insulate your home: costs, savings and grants
- The Green Homes Grant: get up to £5,000 for insulation and double glazing
- 120 ways to save and conserve energy
- 7 ways to make your home more energy-efficient
- The world’s best low carbon heating options
Want an energy supplier that helps you cut your bills and live more sustainably? OVO offers members tools to track their carbon footprint, and we offer 100% renewable electricity as standard19. Get a quote now, to see how you could save money while going green.
Sources and references:
1 The renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on REGO certificates and how these work.
2 Based on a typical gas-fuelled property in England, Scotland or Wales, calculated by Energy Saving Trust https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/draught-proofing/
3 Based on a typical gas-fuelled property in England, Scotland or Wales, calculated by Energy Saving Trust https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/draught-proofing/
7 Based on typical prices in Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/c/security-ironmongery/weatherstrips/cat840964
8 Based on typical prices in Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/search?search=brush+seal
12 Based on typical prices in B&Q. https://www.diy.com/departments/hardware/door-furniture/keyhole-covers/DIY820028.cat
13 Based on typical prices at Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/c/security-ironmongery/letter-boxes/cat840380?producttype=brush_letter_plate
16 Based on typical prices at Screwfix. https://www.screwfix.com/p/no-nonsense-wood-flooring-sealant-oak-310ml/50081?\_requestid=240523
19 The renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on REGO certificates and how these work.