DEALING WITH DRAUGHTS
There’s no point in spending money heating your home if cold draughts are cooling it down again. So stop up all the areas draughts can enter — you’ll save money and make your house a more comfortable place to live in at the same time.
Good ventilation is essential in any home — to prevent stuffiness or a buildup of condensation. But proper ventilation generally allows a degree of control over the passage of cold air from outside or hot air from within. Draughts, on the other hand, apart from being irritating and often uncomfortable, are uneconomic and wasteful. Been estimated that up to 15 per cent of all household heat losses can be blamed on draughts.
In centrally heated homes, draughts are often unnoticed, but in homes where rooms are heated from a single source, such as a coal, gas or electric fire, they are much more noticeable and annoying.
There are numerous causes of draughts in any home, and your first job is to find them. First look for the obvious ones — a badly fitted outside door, missing mortar around door or window frames, a weakly sprung letter box. All these can allow unwanted currents of cold air into the house.
1. If you suspect gaps or cracks around a door or window frame, you can often feel the draught of incoming cold air simply by running your hand up and down the area of the frame.
For draughts that are more difficult to locate use a lighted candle or smoking taper to detect the slightest breath.
2. If you use a taper, simply light it, and once alight blow it out. Move it gently over the area where you suspect there’s a draught and watch closely for any obvious change in direction of the smoke.
If you do the same with a lighted candle, the flame will flicker when cold air hits it but take care not to touch curtains or any other inflammable material.
Once you’ve located the draught, mark the spot with a pencil or crayon. Curing it depends on where the cold air is getting in. If it’s just a small crack around a frame, for example, you can probably effect an immediate cure by filling it with a wood filler, mastic or a flexible sealant as appropriate. Otherwise you may need to fit one of a variety of special draught excluders.
Check each room in turn, but make sure you close all doors and windows, and cover over any ventilators as you do so. Warning: Don’t be over enthusiastic in your efforts to keep out cold air.
Never seal opening windows or ventilators. It’s important that a room has adequate ventilation — particularly if you use a fuel burning appliance such as an open fire of gas heater. Without ventilation, the flame will rapidly use up all the oxygen in the air, possibly with harmful effects in the room.