Draughty windows and draughty doors are mostly caused by gaps in the envelope of your home. These gaps let the cold air from outside in, making your home much colder than it should be. Draughts are an annoying problem, but luckily, they can be very easily fixed. With a bit of DIY work you’ll find that your house is warmer, quieter and hopefully your heating bills will be cheaper too.
Fixing draughty windows
If you feel that your house can be a little draughty at times, it’s likely that those draughts are coming from your windows. However, even if you don’t believe there are any draughty windows in your house, it is always a good idea to check just in case. The best way to do this is on a windy day. Simply run your hand around the edges of the window to see if you can feel any cold air coming in. If you can feel cold air coming through, you will need to draught-proof your windows. There can be a number of reasons why you may feel a draught, but usually it means that the window isn’t closing properly. Don’t worry though, as there’s an easy way to find out what the problem is.
First of all, close your window and then look at the side where the hinges are located. If there’s a gap between the sash and the frame, it is likely that your hinges are damaged and they need replacing. Replacing window hinges is not difficult to do. Another test is to offer a small piece of paper around the window and see if you can feel any tightness with the weather-seal. You might find that the window hinges look okay, if this is the case, check the area around the window handles by sliding a credit card between the sash and the frame. If the card moves around, the lock needs to be tightened, but if the card cannot move then your lock is fine.
If the hinges and lock are fine, but you still feel a draught, a dropped sash might be the culprit. This problem is most common in windows with side openings. To check for this problem, close the window and then have a look at the top corner above the window handle. If you can see daylight shining through where the sash is meant to meet the frame, then the sash has dropped and will need to be adjusted.
It is important not to ignore any broken hinges, locks or handles. Damaged hinges stop the window from closing properly, meaning you’re letting in cold air and making your double glazed windows almost redundant. Broken locks and handles are a security hazard, as criminals will find it easier to break into your property. So it’s best to get these draughty windows fixed as soon as possible for more than one reason.
For additional draught-proofing, you can also seal your window frames using a variety of different materials. You can buy some draught proofing sticks. These are often self-adhesive and must be stuck around the window’s frame to prevent air from getting in. These come in foam, metallic or plastic brush – the latter two types will last longer but are more expensive to buy. You can also purchase some foam sealant, which you spray into gaps found around the windows or doors and between the brickwork.
Fixing draughty doors
Draughts can emerge from a number of areas in you doors. As previously mentioned, you can search for such gaps by running your hand around the edges of the door to see if there are any draughts coming through. However, if you often hear wind coming through your door’s keyhole or have noticed that your upvc letterbox rattles at times, you’ll want to get these areas draught-proofed too.
Gaps at the bottom of a door can be sealed off by fitting a brush or hinged flap draught excluder and any gaps around the edges can be fixed in the same way as you would your windows, as mentioned previously. If your letterbox is letting some air in, buy and fit a brush or flap, but always remember to measure your letterbox before you purchase anything. Draughts coming from keyholes can be stopped by fitting a purpose made cover, which is usually a small metal disc that just sits over the hole. Some horizontal based security key locks such as the Yale Platinum 3 Star locks are quite good and preventing air passage compared to the conventional euro cylinder keys.
It is also worth draught-proofing any inside doors that lead to a room that is not normally heated. For example, you might not always heat your spare bedroom or the kitchen. If you don’t draught-proof these doors, you’ll find that the warm air will simply escape into these cold rooms and the cold air will then circulate into your nice warm rooms. There is, however, no need to draught-proof doors that lead into heated rooms.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, fully draught-proofing your home could save you £55 a year on average, because your home will naturally be a lot warmer so you won’t have to spend as much money on your heating. If everyone did the same, the UK would save a whopping £180 million a year!
Of course, you can always pay a professional to draught-proof your home, but it costs half as much to do it yourself. Bear in mind that older homes will need a lot more work than newer homes. Luckily, the materials you need to carry out such jobs are pretty cheap to buy so depending on the type of home you own, it should only cost about £100 to fully draught-proof your property. Hopefully that will see an end to draughty windows and draughty doors at least for the immediate future.
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