better homes & gardens

There are many ways to trap the warmth you generate in your home during winter. You can add insulation to the roof, deal with air leaks and create pockets of still air around windows. Aim for an indoor temperature of 21 degrees, as every degree above that adds about 10 per cent to your heating bill.

Double-sided floor snakes

Granny was never wrong, especially when she knitted a snake that sat at the bottom of the door, stopping air movement underneath. A snake can also be used between rooms that are heated and those that are not. Take it one step further with a dual draft stopper that moves with the door, available from hardware stores.

Draft excluder

Pesky drafts not only allow heat to escape, they also let the cold in. By installing a draft excluder that automatically flips up when the door opens, you block airflow from the outside. They're easy to install, and there’s a range to suit various doors, whether they’re inward or outward opening.

Window seals

Many older windows have air gaps, which are easily identified by holding a smoking incense stick near the edges. Windows can be sealed with a range of self-adhesive EPDM rubber seals, which you simply stick to the closing surface of the window frame. They’re available in various gap sizes. Seals also stop your windows rattling in the wind.

Thick rugs on timber

Timber is a pretty good insulator in its own right, but if you feel air coming up through the gaps of your floorboards, one of the easiest and quickest remedies is to put down heavy rugs. They’ll stop most of the airflow and heat loss, look homely and feel comfortable underfoot, too. It’s a win-win!

Heavy curtains

A surprising amount of heat is lost through windows, so hang heavy curtains to lock it in. Keep curtains fully drawn from just before sunset until sunrise, but have them wide open during the day to allow the sun to heat up the room. A pelmet with an enclosed top added to the mix will make them more effective.

Prevent heat loss

Heat leakage occurs because it always flows to where it’s colder. Different parts of the house lose heat in different amounts, but on average you lose about 25-35 per cent through an uninsulated roof, 10-20 per cent through windows, 10-20 per cent through suspended floors and 15-25 per cent through air leakage. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to remedy the problem. One of the first steps is to insulate the ceiling. The requirements vary around Australia due to climate – in certain areas reflective (foil) insulation may be better than bulk insulation (batts). To select the right type for your area, visit

How to install insulation