Draughts make your home cold and uncomfortable. And they waste heat which can push up your energy bill. Draught proofing your home is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save energy.

You may want to get professional help, but draught exclusion is cheap and easy to do yourself. There are lots of DIY draught proofing options available. You could save £25 to £50 a year and maybe more as you could keep your thermostat turned down too.

Where to look for draughts

First you need to find the draughts and gaps around your home. Here’s where to look:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Chimneys
  • Floorboards
  • Skirting boards
  • Keyholes and letter boxes
  • Pipework coming into your home from outside
  • Loft hatches

Don’t forget that your house needs some air to keep it fresh and stop it getting damp. Open fires, boiler flues, air bricks and rooms like bathrooms need ventilation.

Person using a sealant gun to apply a foam seal around a window

Draught proofing windows

Windows bring in light, but can let out heat especially if they're old. For a window that doesn’t open, seal the edges with some silicone sealant.

For windows that do open there are different draught strips. Which one you use depends on the type of window you have:

For casement windows you can use self-adhesive foam or metal or plastic strips. Self-adhesive foam is the cheapest but it’s not long-lasting.

For sash windows it’s best to use a brush seal or get in a professional. Replacing these windows with double glazed ones may be more effective than draught proofing.

How to fit a foam seal

  1. Cut off 50-60mm piece to test it. Fit it to your window and check a credit card slips comfortably between it and the window frame when the window is closed. If it doesn’t it’s too tight. If the card falls out, it’s too loose.
  2. Measure your window and cut the foam seal to the right length with scissors.
  3. Clean and dry the window so the foam excluder will stick.
  4. Apply the foam seal as close to the edge of the window as possible. Make sure you can still open and shut the window easily.
Diagram of a draught-excluder brush fixed to the bottom of a door with evenly spaced screws and cut to the door’s exact width

Draught excluders for doors

Outside doors can be draught proofed with a brush or hinged flap draught excluder.

How to fit a door brush

You can pick up a door brush from a DIY store. You’ll need a saw, drill and screwdriver to do this job:

  1. Measure the width of your door and cut the brush to fit.
  2. Put the brush at the bottom of the door, so the brush just touches the floor. Mark where you need to drill.
  3. Drill holes into the door and screw lightly in place.
  4. Test you can open and close the door easily. Tighten the screws to make it secure.

You should also draught proof inside doors if they lead to rooms you don’t usually heat (like a utility room). Why not make your own draught excluder to do this? A pair of tights filled with old socks is a cheap fix. If you’re crafty there are many different draught excluder designs you can sew together yourself!

Keyholes and letterboxes

Cover your letterbox with a brush excluder or flap. Remember to check the size before you buy. And make your keyholes draught proof with covers that drop a metal disk over the hole when not in use. You can pick up a letterbox or keyhole draught excluder from a DIY store for a few pounds.

A chimney cap, which looks like an inverted ceramic flower pot, capping the chimney of a red-brick house.

Chimney draught excluders

A fire is nice and cosy in the winter, but when you’re not using it, heat escapes up your chimney. There are a few ways you can stop this happening.

Chimney cap

If you’re not planning to use your chimney, you could get a chimney cap fitted. It’s best done by a professional and involves fitting a cap onto the top of the chimney.

Chimney balloon or draught excluder

A chimney balloon is one of the cheapest ways to temporarily block the draught from your chimney. Place the balloon in the chimney, inflate it until it fills the space and you’re done. Then all you need to do is deflate it when you want to use your chimney again.

A chimney draught excluder is also a temporary device. But they’re semi-rigid so cost a bit more. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit different chimneys.

Draught proofing floor and skirting boards

Floorboards and skirting boards will sometimes have cracks. Fill these with something like a decorator’s caulk or flexible filling. They come in various colours so you can make sure they blend in with your home décor. Make sure the filler can cope with the floor and skirting boards expanding and contracting.