Expert Advice: how to banish draughts

Make your home toasty with our ten easy fixes for banishing draughts

Illustration Nicola Rew
Illustration Nicola Rew

As the cold weather descends, we offer ten tips on how to keep the heat in...

Despite being best associated with warm roaring fires, more often than not chimneys suck in cold air and let heat escape. A chimney balloon prevents this. ‘You inflate it with a pump about 30 centimetres above the fire opening until it fits snugly, then turn a hand-grip tap to lock it in place,’ says inventor David Woodman. You do need to temporarily remove it if you want to light a fire, but if you forget to it will just shrivel harmlessly. From £20, chimneyballoon.co.uk/

Fit Radflek reflectors to radiators. Laminated aluminium foil panels that hang from the brackets at the back, they reflect warmth back into the room and reduce heat loss through the walls by up to 45 per cent. From £21.99 for a three sheet pack, which fits up to six radiators radflek.com

Install Duette energy-saving blinds, which can reduce heat loss by up to 46 per cent according to the brand. Their honeycomb structure improves insulation by trapping hot air.£150 for a 60x40-centimetre blind, duette.co.uk

Make your wood-burning stove more efficient with a Firemizer, a flexible metal grid that reduces the burn rate of your fuel. Place it at the base of your stove; it works by slowing the air flow and conducting heat evenly across the fire to ensure all fuel is fully combusted.
£19.99, firemizer.com

Stop heat escaping through your floors, roof and windows with proper insulation


If you have sash windows, you can magnetically attach a made-to-measure, lightweight clear membrane to the frames during the winter. It forms an airtight seal in the same way as double glazing. Fitted by London-based company Window Skins, it’s also easy to remove. From £130 per square metre, windowskins.co.uk

Live in an old house? Take this sage advice from Patrick McCool, founder of Make My Home Green, which specialises in period properties. ‘Stop heat escaping through the floor by insulating suspended timber floors with a vapour-control layer to prevent condensation,
15 centimetres of flexible wool insulation, and a windproof breathable membrane on top’. From £95 per metre, makemyhomegreen.com

‘A metal keyhole cover, a letterbox brush and draught excluders for the gap at the bottom of exterior doors are all quick ways to protect your home from draughts,’ says Aled Stephens of the Energy Saving Trust, energysavingtrust.org.uk

If you have a pale carpet and it turns dark at the sides, it indicates a draught underneath. Lift the edges and use a sealant such as ‘Draught Ex Standard’ to fill in any gaps between the floorboards. £28.99 for a 40-metre roll, suitable for two to seven-millimetre gaps draughtex.co.uk

‘When draught-proofing a loft, many people ignore the hatch,’says Russell Smith, founder of Parity Projects, which specialises in low-energy refurbishment. ‘By packing insulation around it and on the back, you’ll stop heat escaping into the roof.’

‘There are around seven million properties in the UK that don’t have thick enough loft insulation,’ says Neil Marshall, who is chief executive of the National Insulation Association. ‘It should be a depth of 27 centimetres; the simplest and most cost-effective type to use is rolls of mineral wool, which you fit between the eaves and across the joists.’ nia-uk.org

This article appeared in the January 2017 issue of ELLE Decoration

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