By Sarah Fiess, registered architect + project lead of the Sustainability Victoria Smarter Renovations program
9 out of 10 homes are losing heat through gaps and cracks around doors, architraves, skirting boards and windows – ultimately wasting energy.
Did you know that if you took all the left-over gaps and cracks and put them together it could add up to the equivalent of a basketball-sized hole in your wall?
This basketball-sized hole can increase your winter heating costs by around 20% and cost you up to $160 per year.
Benefits of draught proofing
Draught proofing is finding and fixing draughts to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
Draughts are similar to ventilation – both let fresh air into your home. Good ventilation helps reduce condensation and damp and can help cool down a hot house. But draughts are uncontrolled – they let too much cold air in and waste too much heat.
The increased air flow also affects your comfort, as having uncontrolled air movement across our skin make us feel cold, which in turn affects our immune system.
Plug the gaps
To draught proof your home, you should block up unwanted gaps. But first you need to find them. The image below shows some common locations of draughts.
To find draughts:
- Look for obvious gaps, such as visible light under and around external doors and windows and for movement in curtains.
- Listen for rattles or whistling around external doors and windows, especially during strong winds.
- Feel for moving air around external doors, windows, fireplaces, vents, floorboards, built-in heaters and air conditioners, architraves and skirting boards.
Fix draughts around external doors
Many people overlook the significance of sealing around external doors. However, it is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to save energy. Install draught excluders under doors and draught strips along the door frame – most of these products are available from your local hardware store.
It is extremely cost effective to draught proof new and existing areas of the home when renovating. It should be a critical part of any renovation plan. Ask your builder to install draught proofing measures during your renovation. Or you can save on costs by doing it yourself!
Not sure where to start plugging the gaps in your renovation? Sustainability Victoria has developed the Smarter Renovations Planner to calculate a customised checklist for your renovation, with practical how-to guides to help you create a more comfortable home. Visit sustainability.vic.gov.au/smarter-renovations-planner
Tips for draught-proofing external doors
- When choosing a draught excluder consider whether the door opens inwards or outwards and the type of flooring it opens over (timber, carpet, tiles etc.). Make sure you select the correct excluder for your situation.
- If you need to seal around a door frame, check how big the gap is so that you can choose a seal that will fill the gap.
- Each door will use approximately 5 metres of weather stripping tape to seal, but is pays to measure the doors as well.
For more draught proofing tips visit sustainability.vic.gov.au
Sarah Fiess is a registered Architect and Project Lead of the Smarter Renovations program at Sustainability Victoria (SV). Sarah has trained in both Australia and Vienna which has built her passion for improving the energy efficiency of Australia’s existing housing stock. She specialises in helping people construct sustainable and energy efficient renovations.