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Double Glazing Draught Proofing: A How-to-Guide

With energy bills increasing and showing no signs of rates coming down, it is more important than ever to have an energy efficient home. Houses lose heat through a number of ways, and your house structure and other details will determine where you lose the most heat and where you can reduce heat loss.

For example, a poorly insulated roof is an area that will lose a large amount of heat, while windows and doors are also areas where a large proportion of heat is lost. Generally, when you upgrade your windows and doors for modern, double or triple glazed UPVC, you will be able to improve energy efficiency and reduce the likelihood of having draughts where hot air escapes.

However, older windows, windows that have been poorly fitted or structural problems can leave properties with problematic draughts. So, even if you have the highest quality double glazed windows installed, other factors can mean that you still get draughts that need remedial actions.

Here are some top tips for draught proofing your double glazing:

Check for any cold air around your windows and doors

The best way to determine whether you have areas around the windows or doors that require draught proofing, is to feel for a draught with your hand. Run your hand around the edges of your windows and doors and you should feel cold air on your palm if there is a draught.

There could be many different reasons for a draught, such as gaps between a door and the door frame or floor. Windows might have similar problems if the window has warped or the brickwork and plastering might not have a good finish around the edge of the window frames and there could be small gaps that are allowing heat to escape.

Once you have identified if there are any structural issues that could be fixed by a tradesman, you should get any necessary work completed to fix the gaps and prevent heat from escaping from these areas. You might be able to seal smaller gaps yourself using a window and door sealant.

Use draught proofing materials

You can buy draught proofing materials such as weatherproof strips that you can fit between the frame and the window, if this is where you can feel cold air. There are a few different options that you will find in any standard DIY store, including foam strips that are the easiest to fit. You can also buy metal and plastic strips that have small brushes or wipers attached to them that provide a further level of insulation.

You need to make sure that you are buying the right size of strip for the width of the gap. If the width of the strip is larger than the gap, the strip will get squashed and will not provide the draught proofing that you need. It could also cause problems when you are trying to shut the windows and could even increase the amount of heat loss.

Get blinds or thermal curtains fitted

An alternative way of preventing heat loss through windows and doors is to have thermal curtains fitted or blinds that provide a tight level of insulation on the inside of your windows. The accuracy of the fitting of curtains or blinds is very important, because if you hang a curtain rail that leaves a big gap then you will not get a lot of insulation from the curtains. Blinds need to fit closely to all of the edges of the windows to prevent gaps around the top, bottom and sides.

You should always close your curtains and blinds when the weather is cold, so that you can keep as much heat in your home as possible.

Replacing your windows

UPVC windows will usually last for around 20-30 years but over time, they will become less energy efficient. Older types of double glazing designs do not incorporate the modern technology that provides a much higher level of thermal efficiency.

The reason that modern double glazing has great energy efficiency is because the gap between the two panes of glass that is filled with argon gas is a poor conductor of heat. This means that less heat will escape through the windows compared to single pane windows without this level of insulation. Over time, the sealed unit with the gas enclosed can break and this will usually be easy to identify because there will be condensation formed on the inside of the glass unit.

If the seal is broken then your windows will not be as energy efficient so if you want to reduce heat loss, you will need to rectify the problem. You do not necessarily need to replace the whole window, as the seal can be replaced at a much lower cost. However, if there are other issues that are affecting your windows then it might just be the time to get your double glazed windows or doors replaced.

By replacing old double glazed windows with new designs that offer a higher level of thermal efficiency, you could considerably reduce your heating bills, making the upgrade a financial investment that will help you to save money over time. If your windows are not ready to be replaced, then the draught proofing methods described above should help you to reduce heat loss and therefore keep your energy bills lower.