Anyone who’s ever tried to curl up in front of the television, only to find a persistent and elusive gust of cold air is coming from somewhere, will understand how annoying draughts can be. However, draughts aren’t bad simply because they make us uncomfortable. They can also escalate the home’s running costs as we crank up the heating to compensate for the cold air.
Which windows suffer from draughts?
Modern double and triple-glazed windows should not require draught-proofing. If they do, there’s a problem.
If you’re the owner of an older, listed property however, you might not be able to obtain the necessary planning permission to make the switch to double or triple-glazing. Fortunately, there are ways of repairing the damage caused by draughts, and slowing – if not halting – their development.
Where is the draught coming from?
In order to locate your draught, you’ll need nothing more advanced than a candle – just run the flame around the edges of a window you suspect to be draughty. When the flame moves, it means that it’s being pushed around by incoming air. If you’d like to do this more easily, or you have a lot of windows you’d like to check for draughts, you might consider an electronic draught-detector – these are a special sort of thermometer which works like a barcode scanner – run it around the edge of your window, and when there’s a sharp drop in temperature, it’ll let you know.
What can I do to get rid of the draught?
Once you’ve located the draught, you’ll be able to do something about it. This something usually comes in the form of a replacement compression seal. These rubber strips are designed to grip the side of the window, and will compress under pressure. You’ll need to cut yours to size and glue it to the window frame – following which, it’ll form a tight seal whenever you close your window.
Such seals aren’t appropriate for sliding sash windows, as they’re designed to be squashed rather than rubbed against. Instead, you’ll want to use brush-strips. These will sit alongside the interior of your window, and allow them to slide against them bristles, which will still help exclude the majority of the draught while ensuring the window can still be opened.
If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to fill a pesky gap, then a gun of silicone sealant will probably work. Simply point the nozzle at the area where you need a draught excluded, and fill it with sealant. Then close the window in order to create a tight seal. It’s important you cover the part of the window that comes into contact with a special release agent in order to prevent it from sticking before the sealant sets. Gunned silicone is undoubtedly an effective solution, but it’s one that relies on the right technique. If you know what you’re doing, however, it can work very well.