What draught excluders are available?

How to draught proof your chimney

Chimneys are probably the single biggest contributor to draughts in the home. A single chimney loses around 5% of household heat, and many homes have multiple chimneys. There are several products on the market at varying prices. These include inflatable chimney balloons, “Chimney Sheep” that comprises a thick wad of felted wool on a handle, and various types of perspex or fibreglass units that fit across the entire front of the fire.

If you purchase an inflatable chimney blocker, make sure it is not made of PVC. If you accidentally light a fire, this could give off dangerous fumes. The original Chimney Balloon is made of food grade tri-laminate plastic and will shrivel on exposure to heat and fall into the grate. The Chimney Sheep is easier to fit into solid fuel open fireplaces, and easy to remove if the fire is to be lit. The Fireplace Heatsaver and similar products are most suited to fireplaces that have multiple vents or vents at floor level, as they will all be blocked off at the same time. These three chimney draught exclusion products have been tested by BSRIA for efficacy.

diagram illustrating consequences of blocking the chimney to air flow. Cold air is prevented from sinking down and warm air is prevented from escaping upwards
When the chimney is blocked cold air is prevented from sinking down and warm air is prevented from escaping upwards.

How to draft-proof your door

Fit adhesive draught exclusion material to seal gaps around the edges. There are many types to choose from.  If you want an environmentally friendly version then try wool strips.

four rolls of door and window insulation strip made of felted sheep wool

Use a door draft stopper along the base. The easiest us to use a floor cushion type that sits against the door – select one that has some weight to it so it stays put.  If there is a large gap under the door then you can fit a foam type one that slides under the base, or a fit a brush to the base of the door.

A large door draught excluder filled with Herdwick wool is a robust draft stopper. The cover comprises a paisley swirl of confident greens and blues

Key hole draught excluders can easily be fitted to old-fashioned key-holes that let the wind whistle through. Escutcheon metal keyhole covers are widely available, or there are key hole covers fitted with tiny draught excluder brushes, similar to those on letterbox covers.

a brass keyhole cover

Fitting a letterbox draught excluder is a simple DIY job that can make a significant difference to the comfort of your home. You should also check your cat flap and make sure this is one that closes securely.

How to draught-proof windows

Use draught sealing strips for gaps around windows. Heavy curtains are great for keeping draughts out at night. Even light voile curtains can make a difference, and still let light in during the day.

How to draught proof sash windows

Sash windows are notoriously draughty and are difficult to draught proof using conventional window seal products. A DIY option is to fit a clear roller-blind which can be designed to fit any window. Another alternative is to have a professional sash window insulation company fit draught proofing in such a way that the sash windows are still functional.

A sash window with sandstone lintel. The angle is from ground level looking up to a first floor window so gaps between the top lintel and the window casing can be seen

How to draft proof your loft hatch

Many lofts have piles of rockwool insulation, but none on the hatch cover itself. Insulate the cover with more insulation, and seal the gap with a draught excluder.

How to insulate your loft hatch: apply a strip of compression insulation to the frame that the board fts into. This will stop a lot of the draught. But you will still be losing heat through the thin board of the loft hatch. One way to insulate this is by cutting a piece of loft insulation to a bit smaller than the loft hatch cover, then cutting a piece of heavy duty plastic a little bigger than the loft hatch cover, then stapling it firmly in place. Another way is to fit rigid foam board insulation onto the hatch cover. If the opening is a standard fit then you can purchase a ready-made insulated loft hatch cover.

How to draught proof around pipe work

There can often be holes drilled through exterior walls for pipe work to fit through, which haven’t been properly sealed around. Fill these with expandable foam, decorators caulk, or sheep wool insulation. Please don’t block vents that have been put in to provide ventilation for appliances. They’ve been put in to stop you dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. If there’s a gale blowing through them then look for another gap in the house that the air is escaping out through, which may be causing more cold air than is necessary to be pulled in through the vent. Like a chimney, for example.

How to draft-proof floors and skirting boards

You’d be surprised by how much of a draught can be caused by gaps in your floorboards, especially if there’s a void underneath. The best thing is to prise off all the floorboards and fill the gaps between the joists with insulation. The Q-Bot is a device which can insulate under the floorboards without lifting the entire floor.  If that’s a bit much then seal the gaps with a floorboard draught sealer. Bare floorboards can look lovely but be a significant source of draughts and heat loss. If you don’t want to carpet wall to wall then having rugs over floorboards that are particularly draughty will make a noticeable difference.

an antique turkish wool rug on old floorboards

How to draught proof electrical fittings in ceilings or walls

Older style sockets can be blocked by simply fitting child safety plugs into them. Modern electrical sockets are integral units so less of a source of draughts. Ceiling down-lighters can be a source of draughts that are difficult to seal without causing a fire risk but there are products that are like plastic domes that fit over the downlight, over which loft insulation can be laid.

a close up of a gable end with stone cladding, with a visible hole with cable coming out of it.