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Cheap ways to reduce heat loss at home

By: Kees Rozemeijer, Founder of warmerinside.co.uk

Most people have experienced draughts in their home at some point, but it can be a challenge to discover where it is coming from. There are many ways to reduce draughts in your home that are simple and inexpensive. It will reduce heat loss so you’ll save money, meaning less money in the energy companies pockets and more in yours.

How to detect draughts in your home?

A draught in your home can be caused by several factors and originate from different sources. You may only notice them when the weather gets cooler in the winter months, or you may hear a whistling or humming sound.

Finding and sealing a draught will not only keep you warmer but save you money too.

Here are some ways to check for draughts:

Candle test

Using a candle is a simple and effective way to check for draughts. Before you light the candle, ensure the area is safe and any flammable materials are out of reach of the flame. Turn off any fans and air-conditioning and make sure all windows and doors are closed.

  • Light the candle and move it near the area where you suspect the draught is coming from such as a window frame.
  • Slowly move the candle around and watch it carefully. If the flame flickers, this is an indication of a draught.
  • Test the area several times to check for multiple draught sources. Your window could be well sealed in one area but not in others.
  • Mark the areas where the candle indicated a draught with pencil or tape as you go so you don’t forget where they were.

Curtain test

The curtain test is a good way to check where the air leaks are on draughty windows. Lightweight curtains will move when hung up at draughty windows, so you’ll be able to identify where any unwelcome air is getting in.

If the curtains move when the windows are closed, you have a gap that is causing a draught.

Stop heat loss at the door

 Often, the source of the draught is doors. This can be due to poor installation, age or damage over time. Both internal and external doors can cause draughts so try these tips to help find and fix the problem areas:

Mailslot Insulation

Most doors have a mailslot that is essentially a hole in the door. Not great for insulation – but necessary for daily post. A great way to stop draughts is with an insulated mailslot, they are designed to :

  • Keep the mail slot open only when needed with spring-loaded doors
  • Have dense brushes that keep out the cold air
  • Help to ensure the mail is pushed all the way through, rather than left in between leaving a gap.
  • Increase security

Insulated mailslots are easy to fit, are available from a variety of retailers and are fairly inexpensive.

Thermal Insulated Curtains

Installing a door curtain can add a stylish look to your entryways, but they aren’t just for aesthetics. Thermally insulated curtains are a great way to solve the problem of a draughty front door.

They are a good alternative to a draught excluder and they can be matched to your décor. Double-lined curtains made with thick fabrics such as velvet or faux suede work best.

Strips

Strips are a common weatherproofing solution that is easy to install. The weatherstrips are placed around the opening of the door or window to fill any gaps.

They can be cut to size and are attached with self-adhesive tape. Once installed, they will minimise heat loss and can prevent water from leaking in too.

Draught excluders

Doors need to have gaps at the bottom to allow them to open. But when this gap is too big, it can cause a draught. Draught excluders can be attached to your doors to minimise heat loss and prevent draughts from the gaps beneath the door.

They are often made from rubber or metal with thick bristles that still allow your door to open smoothly. They can also be placed on inner doors to reduce heat loss even further.

Stop heat loss at your windows with draught-proofing strips

Applying draught-proofing strips around your windows will seal any gaps around them, prevent draughts and reducing heat loss. There are two types available:

  • Self-adhesive foam strips – cheaper but not as durable.
  • Metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached – long-lasting but more expensive.

For windows that open:

  • Make sure the strip is the correct size
  • For sliding sash windows, fit brush strips or consult a professional
  • For windows that don’t open, use a silicone sealant

Draught proofing with window foil

Window foil is an easy way to prevent draughts and shrink-seals your windows using hot air (such as a hairdryer) to make them fit smoothly in the frame. Although it is not a permanent solution, they do work well.

  • Window foils are inexpensive
  • It prevents heat loss from the inside
  • Sticks to the window using tape
  • Can make windows appear murky
  • Wrinkles will be visible if fitted poorly

Reduce heat loss at your loft hatches

Heat rises, so you may be surprised at how much heat you can lose through your loft hatch. Insulating your loft is important but you also need to insulate the hatch. Here’s how you can do it:

  • If the hatch rests on the frame, but a seal or foam strip around the inside edge of where it sits to create a seal.
  • If your hatch is on a hinge you can put a compression seal or foam strip on the outside and inside edge so there is an airtight barrier when the hatch is closed.
  • Insulate the top on the hatch with foam or a plastic bag filled with insulating foam for extra insulation.

Insulate your pipework

When it comes to draught-proofing everything counts. Eliminate small gaps in your pipework by filling them with silicone fillers or expanding polyurethane foam.

Hot water and heating pipes should also be insulated and foam can be used in the rooms where no heat is needed to prevent pipes from freezing or sweating.

Extra tip: Foil behind your radiators

Simply fixing a sheet of radiator foil (looks like tin foil) behind the radiator can help to stop valuable heat from escaping. By fixing tin foil behind your radiators, you will reflect the heat back into your home. By using this handy kitchen essential you can:

  • Maximise the efficiency of your radiator
  • Stop heat from absorbing into your walls
  • Heat your home quicker
  • Easy to install
  • Save money and be kinder to the planet by heating your home more efficiently

After the cheap and quick solutions

In the UK, the quality of insulation has a poor reputation. But it is a great investment with multiple benefits. Professional insulation is essential for optimum energy performance and when installed correctly, it can be a quick return-on-investment by lowering your energy costs over time.

To find out more about how you can keep your house warm this winter, please visit warmerinside.co.uk

Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

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About

I’m Henri, and welcome to Eco Friendly Henri, an eco-lifestyle blog providing tips and advice on how to live a more sustainable life.

My blog includes eco swaps, top tips, product reviews, interviews with eco brands and influencers, renewable energy stories and more.

I have always been eco conscious but raising my three year old daughter opened my eyes to the fact that her generation will suffer if we don’t start making more changes to help protect the planet.

If you’d like to know more, please see my About page.

I hope you enjoy the blog.


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