December 2015 was unseasonably warm, however winter still has time to descend across the country and it’s at this time of year that patching draughts becomes an exercise in warming your house in an effort to reduce heating bills as well as making your home more cosy and welcoming.
There are several areas where draughts are likely to develop; and all of them are influenced by your windows and doors. Whilst good ventilation is a bonus in summer (we sell trickle vents and double stage keeps for this reason), draughts in winter drain energy and cost money. There are a number of areas where draughts can start to appear:
An ill-fitting letterbox with scraggy bristles is one of the first places draughts can be felt in the winter months. Replacement letterboxes come in a few standard sizes – quite often you are able to enlarge the opening no matter what your door is made of should you find the fit is not quite right. Whatever the situation it is best to ensure the tightest fit possible as this will reduce the possibility of airflow into your home. Thicker, more robust bristles within the sleeve also provide a longer-lasting barrier to the elements.
Given the configuration most modern door locks this is becoming less of an issue, however should you still have a traditional mortice lock, or similar set-up then the enlarged hole could well be a source of draughtiness. Metal keyhole covers are a cheap and easy-to-fit solution and present a barrier over the internal keyhole.
The rubber gaskets that form the seals around your windows and doors will compress and perish over the years. If your doors and windows feel draughty there’s a very simple test you can conduct with a piece of paper to see if it’s your gaskets that need replacing. Open your window, put a sheet of paper in the opening and close the window again. If you can pull the paper out without too much effort then your gaskets would benefit from being replaced.
If the draughts are coming from windows that don’t open; or from around the glazed panels within your doors; you might find that the seal between the frames and the glass is starting to perish. The most effective solution in this instance is- unfortunately – to replace the whole unit; however you could try adding extra sealant using a gun and a thin layer of extra silicone sealant as a cheaper option. Alternatively some companies do sell replacement glazing panels for UPVC and composite doors. Some businesses may offer replacement glazing beading, however it is worth remembering that unless you know the original manufacturer it can be virtually impossible to identify a correct replacement (especially given these seals are specific to specific profiles, many of which are now obsolete).
Doors and windows ‘drop’ for a couple of reasons – where timber frames are concerned this is often linked to warping with age and exposure to the elements. Where UPVC and composite (and in some instances timber) frames are concerned, this can often be linked to hinge failure. If there is a noticeable gap between the frame and the window or door when it is shut you may well find that you would benefit from replacing the hinges to ensure a tighter fit.
Hopefully one or more of these aspects may help you to reduce the draughts felt through your home. Much like when you’re outdoors there is an element of ‘wind chill’ to draughts. If you can solve the problem you might find that you’re able to lower the temperature of your thermostat. This – coupled with the fact your heating won’t have to work as hard – could see savings of around £100 a year (depending on the measures undertaken and how bad the problem was in the first place)
If you would like further information and guidance on the best solutions for your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.