How to Reduce Draft in Your Home

A house that has not been draft proofed can never be kept really warm and comfortable. And there is nothing more unpleasant than icy cold drafts whistling around you on a cold winter's night.

Although draft proofing can be time-consuming, it is not expensive. In fact, under normal circumstances you can look forward to recovering the cost of adding full draft proofing to a house within three years.

Plan any work sensibly, since there are circumstances in which it is not advisable to eliminate all drafts completely. In kitchens and bathrooms, for example, you will want to seal off major drafts, but minor ones help ventilate the area and combat condensation.

Fuel-burning appliances need ventilation, so you should consult your fuel company for advice before applying any draft proofing in areas where these are sited.

In rooms that are heated by electricity or central heating radiators, it is still advisable to leave the odd window untreated, since the normally small amount of draft from this will ensure that the room does not become stuffy.

When you are working out what draft proofing materials you need, doors and windows should be top of the list. But do not forget other areas such as mail slots, keyholes and, of course, those major culprits like floors and any disused chimney flues.

For window and door frames, you will find there is a variety of different materials to choose from, the simplest and cheapest being self-adhesive foam and brush strips. Supplied in rolls, they are simply stuck to the appropriate place on the frame so that the door or window closes against them.

Other, more expensive devices include V-shaped lengths of plastic, phosphor bronze or aluminum, which are pinned to the frame. The door or window then compresses the V shape when shut, sealing out any drafts.

For the bottom of doors you also have several options. All are simple and quick to fit, although some are more sophisticated and more effective than others.

The basic type is a strip of wood, metal or plastic housing a rubber, brush or plastic insert that grazes along the floor covering when the door is closed to form a sound seal. You just cut it to length and pin or screw it to the door. If you have the type with pre-drilled screw holes, you should trim where necessary from both ends to ensure the remaining holes are evenly spaced. You can, of course, drill new holes in the strip if you have to.

There is also a rise-and-fall excluder, which will lift above the floor covering as the door opens and then fall back into place when the door is closed. Another type comes in two parts, one fitting to the bottom of the door and the other to the threshold. The two parts interlock when you close the door.

On the front door, make sure you fit a mail slot flap and keyhole cover. Newspapers left in the slot can let in quite a draft, but you can overcome this problem by fitting a special excluder. This comprises a plastic frame housĀ­ing brushes, which will mold themselves around any shape pushed through them.

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