Draughts are a common problem in Australian homes, especially with older buildings where you tend to find more small openings around your windows and doors. You’ve probably heard of draught proofing as a solution. Unless you work in the industry, it's easy to be confused about how the process works and what types of draught seals work the best.
- So, how does draught proofing work?
- How much of a difference can it make?
You may be thinking of a DIY project to stop draughts around your windows and doors or investing in a new window system. Before you do this, make sure you understand what draught proofing is, how it works, and what you should expect from different solutions.
What Is a Draught?
If it’s difficult to keep your home warm in the winter, you probably have a draught problem.
In a well sealed, well-insulated building, heat stays inside and the cold air stays outside. Your interior feels comfortable and warm and your energy bills are nice and low.
But, if you have a draughty home, the cold air currents from outside are seeping in through small openings around your windows and doors. Some of these spaces are easy to see, like the gap between the bottom of your front door and your floor. Others you would never notice without close inspection.
Here’s the thing – cracks form in different places because the materials in and around your windows and doors deteriorate over time from moisture and pressure.
Also, the building itself moves, causing gaps around your windowsills and between or underneath the sashes.
Ultimately, you’ll have to address these openings in order to stop the draughts.
What Is Draught Proofing?
Draught proofing is the process of identifying and closing those gaps so you can stop the cold air currents from entering your home. You seal the opening with a special type of material like foam or brush seals, which are made from fine mohair to help slow the wind down.
Rubber seals are also used which can help improve the acoustics of your home by blocking out some noise pollution along with air currents.
The problem is, you want to make sure you are using the right draught proofing products and installation for your windows and doors or you’ll run into problems.
For example, foam, which you apply with a self-adhesive tape, is going to fall off as soon as you open your windows.
A lot of people put brush seals around their doors. But this type of seal isn’t very effective unless used where you can compress the brush hairs down to almost nothing. For instance, you can use these seals in the middle rail of a double hung window where they work like a charm.
Otherwise, rubber draught seals are usually a better option.
Even with rubber, you want to be careful how the seal fits with the door or you’ll end up with a big gap anyway. This occurs in spots where the floor may be curved – a common issue with concrete flooring. You also want to make sure the draught proofing won’t come off or won’t cause the door to stick.
How Does Draught Proofing Work?
Draught proofing works by stopping the cold air currents from coming in your home. When you diminish these currents, you don’t need as much energy to heat your home.
You’ll also have a more comfortable interior – even with the heat off. This means no more chills when you sit down to read a good book or watch a movie.
Your draught seals, when used correctly, make you much less dependent on heating to keep your home comfortable in the winter. In order to get the most effective draught seal, however, you should expect:
- A tight fit for minimal openings;
- A quality draught seal like rubber, which does a better job than foam, brush seals and fabrics;
- A permanent seal – you don’t want to have to put the sealing back up every time you want to aaaopen your windows, nor should draught sealing be an annual job.
Draught proofing should be done once to enhance your windows and doors. It shouldn’t diminish the look or function – no clunky external sealing and nothing that makes your windows or doors difficult to open.
At Thermawood, draught proofing comes as a standard part of our Retrofit Double Glazing system for timber windows and doors. We machine the seals directly into the windows and doors using special tooling. When we’re done, you can’t even see the seals but you’ll feel the difference.
How to Find Draughts
If you aren’t sure if draughts are responsible for your high energy bills and chilly home, just put your hand up around your windows and doors. You’ll feel the cold current. You may also be able to see the air flow.
Try holding a stick of incense around the edges of your windows and doors. If the smoke from the incense is blown around, you’ve identified a draught.
How to Stop Draughts
In order to stop draughts, you have to block the air currents. This means you need a draught proofing solution that can neatly seal around your windows and doors without leaving extra gaps and without ruining the aesthetics or functionality. Be careful of some draught seals – if they aren't going to stay on or aren't going to give you a tight seal then you'll still have winter draughts to contend with.
By draught proofing during the retrofit process, your draught seals are seamlessly built in at the same time you have your windows insulated. It's like the icing on the cake. This method gives you all the benefits without any of the potential drawbacks.