Draughtproofing Your Home To Save Money

Self-adhesive plastic-backed foam strips can be bought to put around door frames, sealing wide gaps. Peel off the protective strip and press the foam into place. Similar strips can be used in window joints. A more permanent way of achieving the same result is to use metal or plastic hinged strips which have to be pinned into the recesses.

The undersides of room doors need a different treat- FIREPLACE REPAIRS A fire should be contained safely, with air entering at the bottom and smoke drawn out at the top. This applies whether it is an open fire or a continuous-burning enclosed one. The lining of the grate is firebrick in sections. If part of this becomes so damaged that it needs replacing, the makers have standard parts available.

There is a type of fitting that goes across the bottom of a door. It has a bar which drops to seal the gap when the door is closed, but it lifts clear of the floor when the door is moved. Another type of sealer fits across the floor and has a flexible plastic piece at the centre which springs up against the door.

In some houses floor boards do not quite meet the walls and there is a gap under the skirting boards. On a ground floor, cold draughts may come up from the foundations. Carpet may cover the gaps, but, if not, thin splines of wood may be fitted under the skirting board or flexible mastic (as suggested for window frames) pressed in.

INSULATION

Draught prevention contributes to fuel economy. Of the various ways of treating the house to keep in heat, roof insulation is the most efficient, because hot air rises and may otherwise escape through the roof. If the loft is used as a room any insulation would have to be done in the slope of the roof, but otherwise it is better to put an insulation barrier between the ceiling joists, so heat does not go into the roof space.

To keep heat in at the ceiling level, there has to be a thick layer of insulating material. A thin layer will not be worthwhile. Such things as polystyrene tiles on a ceiling offer a small amount of insulation, but it is 100 mm (4 in) or more of insulating material that gives good heat retention.

Glass fibre makes good insulation and it is available in rolls, mostly about 400 mm (16 in) wide to suit the usual spacing between ceiling joists. If there are few pipes or other obstructions, this is the simplest effective loft insulation. Work it close into the eaves. Overlap where there have to be any joins.

Another material is mineral wood granules. This comes in bags and is emptied to a sufficient thickness between joists. Include a pad of insulation above the trap door. Do not insulate below a water tank as some heat rising there will help to protect it against frost. With heat held at the bedroom ceiling level, the loft will get colder and insulation of the water tank and pipes becomes especially important.

There are kits of glass fibre and other blanket material for tying around and over tanks. This needs to be at least 75 mm (3 in) thick to be effective and there must not be any gaps. Similar insulation must be carried around pipes. Bandage-like insulation material can be wrapped spirally around them and it may be advisable to apply more than one layer.

It is difficult to prevent freezing of outside water systems. Lagging pipes may have some effect and the use of polythene pipes may make bursts less likely than using metal pipes, but it is better to have a stop tap and a drain tap if possible, so that the outdoor system can be drained and isolated when frost is expected. If an outside standpipe is in use, the above-ground part, including the tap, should be boxed in so there is 100 mm (4 in) or more space for insulating materials.

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