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 around £20 per year. Draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures – so you may be able to turn down your thermostat saving even more on your energy bills.
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.
Where are the Draughts Coming From?
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.
What is a draught?
Draughts are most commonly identified on windy days, when the external cold air penetrates the fabric of the building, thus displacing the warmer internal air causing noticeable discomfort. On non windy days where the internal pressure of the building is higher than the external pressure the warm air escapes through the fabric of the building causing heat loss, this is less noticeable but wastes valuable energy.
Where are the most common draughts found?
The most common place for draughts are around the frames of external wooden doors and windows. This is usually caused by either poorly fitted doors or windows, or seasonal variation. Other areas where draughts can be found are between the frames of doors and windows and the brickwork, also under the window sills. They can also be found where services or waste pipes come through the walls of the building draughts can be found.
How can I tell if there is a draught?
The easiest way to identify a draught is by wetting the back of your hand and passing it over the area where you suspect a draught may be, there should be a noticeable difference in temperature when a draught is felt. Alternatively draughts can be identified by a professional who may use a smoke pencil or match.
How long will draught proofing measures last that I have installed?
Providing that the draught proofing materials are installed in accordance with manufacturers instructions it would be realistic to achieve a life expectancy of between 5 – 10 years. However it would be recommended to look for products carrying the British Standard Kite Mark BS7386 these products can last up to twenty years.
What types of draught proofing materials are there available?
There is a wide and varied selection of draught proofing materials available. It would be recommended that you first look for products manufactured to BS7386. These will take into account seasonal gap variation and give you a long life expectancy, secondly ease of installation and finally ease of maintenance. There are products available that can even be painted or stained.
Will this affect my gas fire?
Most fuel burning appliances with more than 7kw output require permanent fixed ventilation; if you are unsure consult your Corgi registered gas installer before proceeding with your draught proofing installation.
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