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Keep out the cold! Five tips for draught-proofing your home

Draughts can make your home cold and unpleasant in the winter months, but you can do something about them

1. Fitting weatherstripping tape will make windows and exterior doors less draughty. Weatherstripping (usually self-adhesive foam tape or brush or wiper-style strips) is used to fill the gap between the frame and the moving parts of a window or door, but it’s important to get it right. If the strip’s too thick, it may stop the window or door closing properly, and if it’s too thin, there will still be a gap. Original sash windows are notoriously draughty, so you may want to get a pro to draughtproof (and refurbish) them. Weatherstripping can even be used around the opening to your home’s loft hatch to keep out draughts from above – to insulate the hatch door/cover, fix a thick piece of polystyrene or rigid insulation material to the back.

2. Minimise draughts at the bottom of an exterior door with a brush-style strip – simply cut it to fit and screw it in place, but don’t fit it too low or it will drag on the floor. Exterior doors should also be fitted with keyhole and letterbox covers/flaps to stop cold air coming in. For extra insulation at this time of year, fit a curtain pole above an exterior door and use a heavy or thermal curtain on it.

3. Interior doors should be draughtproofed if they lead to a room that isn’t heated. Keep the door closed so the cold air stays in the unheated room, and cover any gap at the bottom of the door with a fabric ‘sausage’ draught excluder.

4. While striped and varnished, waxed or painted original floorboards are lovely, they can be draughty. This may not be a problem upstairs because heat should rise from the rooms below, but downstairs there’ll be a void between the floorboards and the ground below (which is important for ventilation), resulting in cold air coming through the gaps between the boards, especially in winter. Filling the gaps helps and there are specialist products for this, but the boards move slightly every time you tread on them, so only time will tell whether the product will continue to move with the boards or be dislodged.

PA / thinkstock

5. Chimneys can be very draughty, so if you have an unused fireplace, get a roofer to cap the chimney. For fireplaces you only use sometimes, a chimney balloon is a good idea. This is inflated inside the chimney to help prevent draughts coming down the chimney and into the room, but make sure you remember to remove the balloon before using the fireplace.

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