Last updated Wednesday 30 April 2008

Whistling windows? Plug those gaps

A draughty house is quickly and cheaply remedied by a visit to the DIY shop. Once it's snug, you'll start saving CO2 and cash.

If you're feeling nippy at home, draught-proofing is one of the most cost-effective CO2 cuts you can make. Heat loss from draughty doors and windows can leave you about 20 a year out of pocket, so sealing up gaps will usually pay for itself within five years, as well as saving up to 155kg of CO2.

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Photo: Draught-proofing

Saves up to 155kg of CO2 a year

276 Bloomers are doing this

CO2 reduction 1 out of 5

Cheapness 2 out of 5

Popularity 3 out of 5

Cost 30 - 90

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How will it make a difference?

Most homes lose around 20% of their heat via draughts and poor ventilation. Plugging gaps could save a large amount of this, so it's well worth your time. A thorough DIY sealing job will cost around 90, but it can be done for as little as 30 and could save 20 a year - so it's often worth the outlay even if you don't own your own home. There are even grants available to cover the cost.

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How do I do it?

  • Find out where the draughts are coming from: gaps between floorboards, and around door frames, loft hatches, windows and pipes are the main culprits
  • Measure up external doors and windows and buy draught seals from the DIY shop. Seals are usually made from self-adhesive foam, rubber or brush material
  • Get a brush-style draught excluder for your letter box
  • Seal unused chimneys with newspaper or a purpose-made chimney balloon which inflates to block up your chimney. Remember to take them out again should you decide to use your chimney
  • Draw your curtains at dusk for extra draught exclusion and keep them behind radiators, otherwise you're just heating the window
  • Curtains wearing thin? Sew a layer of heavy lining material inside them or pay someone to do it for you
  • Windows still draughty, but can't afford double glazing? Cover them in a clear plastic film (available at DIY shops) that tightens over the pane when heated with a hairdryer
  • If you have wooden floorboards, fill the gaps between and around them with an acrylic sealant. (You can also insulate underneath the floor)
  • Once the draughts are plugged, it's important the house is still ventilated. In kitchens and bathrooms, you might need an extractor fan if condensation is a problem

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Ecoflap, UK 2008-10-18

Try an ECOFLAP for your letter box. ECOFLAP helps weather the storm for todays climate. No brushes, seals or springs necessary
Will help save on energy bills. What is the point of having all those energy saving devices only to find there is a slow trickle of heat through your letter box
This is what it is all about.

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Glossary terms used on this page
CO2, or carbon dioxide, is made up of the elements carbon and oxygen. It exists quite naturally in our atmosphere, as part of the carbon cycle. Everyday processes in the plant and animal world both add CO2 to the atmosphere and take it out. However, because it is a greenhouse gas - meaning it affects the temperature of the earth - the exact level of CO2 is important. Burning fossil fuels releases CO2 into the atmosphere, hence the anxiety that extensive use of these fuels is causing climate change.
Draught proofing
Draught proofing is the process of filling in unwanted gaps in the fabric of a building to reduce the heat loss and discomfort they cause. Common sources of draughts are gaps round window and door frames, places where pipes enter the building, ill-fitted floorboards, letter boxes and even keyholes. Materials used include foams, brushes and thin sections of rubber, plastic or metal.

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