Uncontrolled leakage of air through gaps in dwellings, in general results in unnecessary heat loss and discomfort to the occupants from draughts. One of these routes is through gaps around windows and doors, and draught proofing can greatly reduce this leakage.

On cold windy days, which are very common in this country, draughts can be easily identified, by holding the back of your hand close to the perimeter of the door or window you will soon locate where the cold air is coming from.

However, it’s not just cold windy days when you will be losing your valuable heat, as the warm air you build up inside your property is leaking through gaps all of the time.

This can have a profound effect, with a typical home losing up to 20% of its heat air leakage.

Draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you £25 to £50 per year. Draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures – so you’ll be able to turn down your thermostat. This could save you another 10 per cent off your heating bill.

Draught proofing is one of the most inexpensive and effective energy efficiency measures for the home - yet it is too often overlooked. Only a quarter of the 22 million dwellings in the UK are adequately draught proofed. Yet draught proofing offers the quickest return, frequently paying for itself within a year and then saving year after year.

Draughts can cause major discomfort in the home, and for the elderly and very young this can be risky to health. Many older buildings in particular have poorly fitting doors and windows. Draughts cause cold damp air to be forced in as the warm air is drawn out. A lower temperature is acceptable in a draught free atmosphere.

There are many types of materials available - from brushes, foams and sealants to strips and shaped rubber or plastic. There are also often grant and offers available for draught proofing or other energy saving measures.

Draught proofing materials also guard against ingress weather and dirt which can damage internal decoration.

Good quality Draught proofing can also help reduce noise penetration.

Only durable draught proofing should be fitted and supplied by NIA members. As tested by the BSI to last for ten years. A 20-year guarantee is available on BS products supplied by DPAA manufacturers. A low quality product may have a very short lifespan and is poor value for money and effort.

Show your NIA installer where the draughts are coming from in your home. There are many types of product - for around windows (sash, metal, timber); external doors (including weather bars for door bottoms); internal doors - particularly kitchens, bathrooms and main living areas; the loft hatch, and even letter boxes, key holes and cat flaps! Products are made in many materials and can be aesthetically pleasing.

To ensure quality of fit to maximise comfort and energy saving benefits, employ a professional NIA installer, skilled in fitting a wide range of durable products to the BS Code of Practice 7880. A standard market price for a typical semi-detached house can be less than £200, before grants and subsidies. Look out for products carrying a kitemark or certified to British Standard 7386.

Always take into consideration the permanent ventilation requirements for fuel burning appliances.

If you are applying a total package of insulation, avoid completely sealing the building. Omit sealing kitchen and bathroom windows to let out the steam and create sufficient ventilation. Instead seal the inner doors to these rooms. Do not interfere with air vents for fires and heating appliances.