rows of multiple chimney pots on roofs showing how many open chimneys there are in many properties and how many chimney balloons are required to block out wind noise

Get ready for winter by draught proofing your home

Winter. We’ve said it. You might not want to hear it but it will be on its way soon which means it is definitely time to start thinking about ways you can save energy without having to make your home an ice block (and no, we aren’t just going to tell you to wear more jumpers). One of the best ways is draught proofing.

Although we are only in September and at the start of autumn, the mornings are already getting a little darker and the temperature is already a little cooler. This means, of course, that are houses will be starting to get cooler too. And how do we solve that? HEATING.

Many of us have been working from home for several months now and although we may not have seen a significant rise in our energy bills, the months ahead could be a different story as we turn on (or turn up) our central heating. In fact, comparison site EnergyHelpLine has predicted that the average £98 per month UK energy bill could rise by about £29!

You can, however, ensure that you reduce this rise in energy costs. There are lots of ways but draught proofing is one of the least expensive yet easiest and most effective methods.

Let us explain…


What is draught proofing?

Draught proofing is basically covering gaps in your home to make sure it stays warm. By plugging these gaps it means that warm air stops flowing out of your home and cold air can’t come. That means you will be retaining more heat ensuring your central heating can work more efficiently.

Draught proofing your home means you can actually turn down your heating and, in some instances, turn it off completely!


How does cold air get in and warm air get out?

Through the gaps! Everything from your chimney, to under doors, keyholes, gaps in your floor boards and even plug socket gaps. Each house is different and will let in draughts from different sources, so it’s important to identify where the draught sources are in your home (keep reading and we’ll give you some great tips!).

The actual process of air-flow in a building is quite complicated as there are usually multiple ways in for cold air and ways out for the warm air. Any air that escapes your home needs to be replaced so when warm air is pulled out of your home through a gap, it will be replaced by cold air that comes in through other gaps.

Draught proofing stops that process happening and instead, the warm air is retained in your home.

There can be multiple sources of warm air escaping your home but here are some of the main ones:

  • Through a chimney
  • Through letterbox openings
  • Around windows
  • Around or under doors
  • Through keyholes
  • Through holes drilled for pipe work
  • Through electrical fittings
  • Through plug socket gaps
  • Through uninsulated walls
  • Through gaps between floorboards
  • Around loft hatches
  • At ceiling to wall joints
  • Through gaps behind beams


How can I detect where the draughts in my house are coming from?

A good place to start is your chimney. If you have an open chimney, this is likely to be your biggest source of warm air loss. We often use the analogy of an open window, and it is exactly like that. Just a very, very big window that is left open all the time! In fact, the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE) states that an average of 80 cubic metres of air travels up a chimney per hour!  The effect of the warm air escaping is even worse because of a process called the stack effect.

We talk about the stack effect a lot on our website, but it really is the key to why an open chimney lets so much heat escape your home. Chimneys are made so that when a fire is lit, the smoke will travel up and out of the building. However, chimneys aren’t robots and can’t tell the difference between smoke and just normal air so even if you don’t have an active fireplace, but have an open chimney, it will be drawing air out (often warm air made by our lovely heating systems) constantly. As we mentioned before the warm air needs to be replaced, so cold air will flow in from other leaky parts of the building such as keyholes, gaps around your doors and tiny gaps around your windows. Although these gaps are relatively small compared to your chimney (so small you might not be able to really see them), all these routes in for cold fair add up! If you block your chimney with a chimney draught excluder, like The Chimney Balloon, the warm air will stop escaping and the cold draughts will be lessened. Winning!

Stack effect in a house
Diagram courtesy of Building Science for Building Enclosures, 2005, J.F. Straube and E.F.P. Burnett, published by Building Science Press

Of course, even if you do draught proof your chimney, you are still left with other potential draught sources. These can be hard to find but we sell a great little device that can help you find them! It is called a Smoke Pencil and will shop you all those pesky, hard to find draughts that you wouldn’t otherwise find. Once you’ve found them the next step is to start draught proofing them!


What can I use to draught proof my home?

As we explained at the beginning, draught proofing is essentially covering a gap in your home that is letting warm air out or bringing cold air in.

Each source needs a different prevention method (which all essentially do the same thing by plugging the gap) so we’ve put together an easy guide for you which will help you identify what draught proofing measure you need to take for different sources:


Draught proofing methods


So, now it’s time to get winter ready and start draught proofing!

Check out our shop which has lots of tools to help you draught proof your home well – The Chimney Balloon (of course), Smoke Pencils and lots of other draught proofing tools too!

Happy draught proofing!