Older buildings don’t need to be draughty. Draught proofing your property is a fairly low-cost way to reduce heat loss and lower your energy bills. You can draught proof windows, doors and loft hatches, and use simple measures to reduce heat loss through unused chimney flues.
Draught proofing is a good solution as it won’t affect the look of a traditional building, but you must be careful to retain some ventilation. This helps to maintain indoor air quality and reduce the risk of damp and decay to the building fabric.
Sash and case windows in good condition shouldn’t need to be draught proofed. The little air they let out allows for good ventilation and avoids condensation building up.
General wear and tear may lead to too much air leakage. Draught proofing sash and case windows will reduce air leakage by up to 80%. This has a big impact on reducing heat loss.
Brush or foam strips are typically used – although brushes are generally thought to work better and last longer. A small amount of the window fabric will be lost when fitting the strips.
Add some curtains: full length, lined and well-fitting curtains can control draughts and reduce heat loss by up to 14%.
Ventilation may need to be checked after draught proofing. Trickle vents may need to be installed if the work is part of a refurbishment requiring a building warrant (listed building consent may apply).
Find out more in Sash and Case Windows: A short guide for homeowners.
To reduce heat loss from an external door, you can:
- draught proof around the door edge
- draught proof around the letterbox
- insulate the door itself
- cover keyholes
Internal doors don’t usually need draught proofing, unless rooms vary a lot in temperature.
Draught proofing may be unsuitable for fire doors or doors of special heritage value.
Insulate and draught proof loft hatches to stop warm, moist air from getting into the roof space.
Closing off an unused chimney to reduce draughts in winter is possible using an inflated ‘chimney balloon’. But you must make sure that the chimney is still well ventilated or it may develop damp.
Alternatively, you can temporarily fit a hearth board over the chimneypiece.