Cold house? High gas bill? Our tips for making your home cosy this Autumn

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By Dorch_People | Monday, September 26, 2011, 16:05

Home Improvement isn't all wallpaper and new kitchens.  It can be ensuring you and your family are comfortable and warm during the colder months.  It is quite amazing how much wind whistles through our homes, wasting our increasingly expensive heating.

Dorchester People have lots of ideas and links to products that can save you money on lost heat.

If every household in the UK used the best possible draught proofing, every year we would save:

  • almost £200 million
  • enough CO2 to fill nearly 225,000 hot air balloons
  •  enough energy to heat over 260,000 homes

For those of us who want to 'do it ourselves', the first thing to do is to a draught check.  This can be done by walking around your home with a lit candle (safety first, be aware of curtains and soft furnishings).  Watch the flame to see if it flickers when you hold it near any windows, doors, letterboxes, loft hatches, pipe work leading to the outside, chimneys, floorboards etc.  Stick a post it or make a mark on the offending area and you will be able to locate it again easily.

Found a few trouble spots? 

Windows - Not all of us have double glazing, and sometimes it too can still let draughts in.  Buy draught-proofing foam strips to stick around the window frame from £4 from Dodgsons of Dorchester on South Street.

Doors - Gaps around doors and floors account for around 11% of heat lost.  Letterboxes can be fitted with a draught excluder from £7. Self adhesive foam strips can be used around ill fitting door edges and metal brush strips can be fitted to the bottom of the door to stop draughts.   All these items are in stock now at Dodgsons of Dorchester.

Floorboards and Skirting Boards - Buy a filler that can tolerate movement in the wood– these are usually silicon-based.  For products and expert advice pop over to Qwikfast Trade and DIY Supplies in Grove Trading Estate.

Gaps around Pipe work - Try purchasing a can of expanding foam filler, it is easy to use and will fill even quite large gaps and dry hard which can then be painted. Always wear gloves.  I learned the hard way not to get any on your clothes though, as the foam is impossible to remove! All good hardware shops should sell it, so if you live outside the town try Amber Hardware on Dorchester Rd. 


Chimneys - For unused chimneys you can buy a snug fitting Chimney balloon, it just what it sounds like and will plug the gaps nicely.  Sadly not local but for an excellent mail order website go to Nigels Eco store .

Lofts - 26% of heat loss is from an uninsulated home is through the roof.  Loft hatches can be draught proofed by using strip insulation, like you would on a door.  Loft insulation can be confusing with all the different types on offer so here is a quick explanation of what they are made from and the most popular types.

  • Sheep's wool insulation provides a high performance and sustainable solution to both consumption of energy and the effects of climate change. Wool actually generates heat when it absorbs moisture.
  • Penhallick foams have a high strength / density relationship as they are lightweight, strong ,and very thin but are less environmentally friendly.
  • Glass mineral wool is made from sand and recycled glass, limestone and soda ash.
  • Rock mineral wool is made mainly from volcanic rock, typically basalt and/or dolomite.
  • PIR such as Celotex which is a hard foam based insulation, which can be easily sawn to fit between beams and joists.
  • Multi-Foil is the thinnest and is soft, flexible and very efficient but again not very environmentally friendly.

All these can be bought locally from The Build Centre on Great Western Road. At the moment there is an amazing offer courtesy of the NPower DIY Scheme.  A Roll of Rockwool is only £3 each (normally £20) at The Build Centre.

For those who would prefer to get a professional to install their roof insulation products contact Hearn Roofing who are based in The Grove Trading Estate.

You can get up to 100% free insulation if you are on selected benefits or are over 70 years. Homeowners can get help with the cost of installing draught proofing from the government, local authorities and energy suppliers. To find offers or a grant, call 0800 512 012 or follow this link. 

Photo credit to Ryan McFarland



  • Profile image for The_Poots

    That's a good tip with the candle, in my old house we paid a fortune to have insulation specialist come out and do a thermo reading of our house to see where the heat loss was coming from. A 20p candle is much more manageable and sensible for us DIY'ers

    By The_Poots at 11:58 on 30/09/11

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