Introduction to Draught Excluding (Draught, Draft or just plain Daft!)
You might be surprised to learn the correct term is ‘draught’! Excluding draughts is the most effective way to start saving energy. Draughts are usually the results of small openings in building fabric. When cold air enters internal spaces via these openings it increases load on the heating system, therefore increasing the amount of fuel required to maintain a comfortable temperature. Draught excluders are an effective solution to combat unwanted cold draughts.
Understand and Diagnose The Cause
Cold draughts are often worse in winter because materials tend to contract when temperatures drop. Eliminating draughts is one of the cheapest ways to reduce heating costs. Areas that tend to create draughts include:
- Poorly sealed door and window frames.
- Base of walls, below skirting boards.
- Behind kitchen units, particularly around service pipework as it passes through the external wall.
It is important to understand that in some rooms, regular ventilation is essential. Areas such as bathrooms and kitchens require ventilation to remove water vapour before it condenses on internal surfaces. Extract fans in both areas should meet specific performance criteria in accordance with Approved Document F. Open trickle vents regularly if installed within window and door frames. It may seem counter intuitive to open trickle vents, but they serve an important purpose. As buildings and modern houses become more energy efficient, they trap air more easily. This can cause a build-up of moisture in rooms of the house. In the worst cases the air reaches a saturation point where it is more likely to cause condensation on surfaces within the building or house. Trickle vents are a passive mechanism to control and reduce levels of moisture and vapour to acceptable levels.
Draughts can become more noticeable during colder and windier spells. Take these opportunities to identify their source before installing draught excluders. A competent DIYer can install draught excluders, however, we would always recommend appointing a specialist if there is a budget to do so.
Draught Excluding Solutions
QLON manufacture a comprehensive range of draught excluders for windows and doors. It is important to assess each fitting before specifying and buying draught excluding products. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer and/ or supplier directly.
If your property already has QLON seals, or an equivalent form of draught excluder, but there is still a draught entering via the fitting, perform an adjustment check on the fitting. In some instances, the door and/ or window will need adjustment via its hinges to achieve a tighter seal around the fitting. Consult the manufacturer’s product information and maintenance documentation for each fitting.
Retrofit Draught Excluders
Retrofitting draught excluders into older, timber frames is also possible. This requires specialist tools and involves routing a special channel into the frame to accommodate the draught excluding seal. There are many aftermarket options available and it is worth taking the time to correctly specify appropriate draught exclusion for each fitting.
The Best Time to Address Draught Excluding
It is often an ideal time to address draughts while undertaking other works, such as replacing bathrooms and kitchens. After the old fittings have been removed, spend some time filling and repairing holes and/ or penetrations through the substrate wall. There are proprietary foam sealants which expand as they set. Cut back any excess material. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before applying these products around pipework and other service installations. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Eliminate draughts at the base of walls, where the plasterboard does not meet the floor.
Chimneys are a common source of problems in older properties. If, however, it is no longer in use consider sealing these areas. If it is still in use, ensure the chimney and fittings are correctly maintained by a competent person. Finally, if problems persist consider complete removal which will prevent leaks and draughts.
Further guidance is available on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
Let’s Build Something
Please drop us a note about your project via our contact form.