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In case you've not noticed, it's been bleedin' cold. The weather in the last few years has tended to be colder than even we in Blighty are used to. This winter seems to want to stay with us all the way into the end of march. I've not known a march this cold.
At the same time, energy prices are rising. I've managed to freeze (no pun intended) my prices for a couple of years, but heating is not cheap. Our house was built in the 50's. It's a good house, built well. But there are points within it where draughts can literally suck the warm air out, leading to the boiler burning more gas to heat more water, to pipe to the radiators, only to be sucked out again.
I had resorted to masking tape. It's an inelegant solution, and one that doesn't exactly look very nice. There had to be a better way. There was.
Peel, stick and press
The worst culprits in my house for draughts were the front door, particularly in the doorjamb facing the lock, and several high window sections of the swivel variety. I did a little research, and opted for a draught excluding tape with a "p" profile. If you have a look at the letter and imagine the long section facing towards the left to be the sticky surface, the penny may drop.
The design is such that the bobbled section gets slightly squashed when the window or door is closed, and helps seal off larger gaps without making closing the window or door too difficult. The tape comes in triple sections, designed to be separated by hand. It is wipe clean and supposedly tough enough to last from four to eight years and has the potential to save up to 30% off your energy bills.
It's a good idea to clean the surface you're going to stick the tape to first. A squirt of your favourite cleaner on a j-cloth works well. Upon investigation, I did find a much-deteriorated draught excluder lining the front door. As we've lived there for over twelve years, it's certainly no surprise that it needed replacing. I used a blunt knife and some patience to take the old backing off. When I put the first length of new strip on, I put it on the wrong way. The bobble part of the "p" should be facing inside, not outside. Thankfully, it was easy enough to remove the strip and stick it the other way, without losing any adhesiveness.
When measuring the length you need, it's advisable to use every so slightly more than you think you will need before clipping off with a pair of scissors. You can always trim excess away, preferable to finding yourself just that little bit short.
We all noticed the difference immediately. Not only was all the unsightly masking tape gone, but so were the draughts. This is very easy to apply, even if you're not very handy. You do have to be careful lining the length up straight as you go, though. There was only one very small area a couple of centimetres in length at the very top of the front door where it wasn't perfect. I could still feel a tiny draught.
This was caused by the way the door sags in the frame. The manufacturer claims their excluder seals all gaps around doors and windows from 2mm to 5mm, and this small section is definitely in excess of that. Short of paying an expert to re-hang the door, and possibly a new door, a very short length of clear sellotape cured the problem.
The hall, running to the kitchen is tiled. Before applying the draught excluder, the tiles used to get really cold. While you can't exactly fry an egg on them now, they are unquestionably warmer. There was also a very slight background noise from the front door we didn't notice before. But we did notice its absence.
Looking at the rate of movement of the gas meter, it does seem slower than before. The real test will be our gas bill for the next month (and moving forward). I'm sure that even in the first year, I'll make back the cost of buying the draught excluder, and that has to be a good thing.