cold homes week

Cold Homes Week: Draught-Proofing

Today marks the first day of Cold Homes Week, which is a week of action organised by Age UK on fuel poverty and excess winter deaths. Age UK are calling on the government to reform its energy efficiency schemes to make sure that elderly people always have a warm home.

Every winter in the UK, one older person dies every 7 minutes from the cold weather. As energy prices soar and the government has not yet responded to Age UK’s request for schemes to help the elderly, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that your home is warm enough. The cheapest way of keeping your home warm is by draught-proofing.

Plug the gaps

Draught-proofing is one of the most efficient ways of saving energy. While it’s good to have ventilation in your home, you can’t control draughts and they waste heat, leaving your home feeling chilly. All you have to do is plug the gaps in your home that let warm air out, which will ensure that you use less energy as well as keeping your home toasty.

Common places to find draughts are:

  • Windows
  • Doors, including keyholes and letterboxes
  • Loft hatches

You should block these draughts, but make sure you keep adequate ventilation in places like kitchens and bathrooms.

DIY draught-proofing saves money

If you’re draught-proofing your whole house yourself, you’ll probably spend between £120 and £290. But if you want a professional to do the work, it could cost double this. As long as you’re confident, DIY draught-proofing should be simple, and you can pick up the materials you need in most DIY stores. If you buy products with the British Standard Institution Kitemark, they have a 20-year lifespan.

  • Windows: Cheap self-adhesive foam strips that are easy to install, but won’t last very long, or metal strips with brushes or wipers
  • Doors: Cover the keyhole, letterbox, and gaps around the edges and bottom
  • Loft hatches: Strip insulation
  • As well as keeping your home warmer, draught-proofing will save you between £25 and £50 per year, which is a saving not to be grumbled at. But the most important part of plugging your draughts is that everyone in your home stays happy and healthy.

    Age UK are encouraging people to take a selfie holding a lit candle and post it with their campaign message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, to remember the 40,800 older people who died from the cold last year. To find out more, visit their website.