Mind the gap: draught excluders are back as Britons rush to cut energy bills

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You already have a low-energy air fryer sitting in pride of place in the kitchen, and an electric throw to snuggle under while watching TV. But are you using what is fast becoming the UK’s must-have accessory, a draught excluder?

After a week of shivering in below-zero temperatures that have cruelly exposed any draughty gaps in people’s homes, householders are fighting back and increasingly turning to the long-forgotten furnishing item.

Well known to anyone who was around in the 1970s but largely overlooked since then, the humble draught excluder – often in the shape of an elongated sausage dog – has surprisingly made a comeback and become one of this month’s hottest purchases.

It is just the latest energy-saving product to fly off the shelves as people struggle with soaring bills and the current freezing conditions.

According to the retailer Next, there has been a 143% increase in the number of searches on its website for draught excluders, and in particular for its £28 Don the dachshund. Such has been the clamour that Next has been struggling to keep up with demand, and, along with several other retailers, has been running low on stock.

View image in fullscreenSome retailers are running out of stock of their draught excluders. Photograph: M Brodie/Alamy

At the time of writing, the website of the upmarket interiors store Graham and Green did not have any of its colourful draught excluders for online customers. Its rival Sophie Allport had similarly sold out of £44 Woof draught excluders and was awaiting new stock.

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John Lewis, which earlier this week reported a boom in sales of what it calls “winter warmers”, is currently shifting large numbers of its £40 Schnauzer Senior draught excluders. Many of its other excluders were out of stock when we looked.

If you don’t believe this is a thing, look no further than Hello magazine, which last month took time out from reporting on the weddings of obscure celebrities and minor European royals to include a feature on, you guessed it, draught excluders.

As anyone whose house has gaps under doors, skirting boards or between floorboards will tell you, cold draughts from outside can rapidly bring down a room’s temperature, particularly when it is -6C outside.

View image in fullscreenCold draughts from outside can quickly bring down the temperature of a room. Photograph: Colin Burdett/Alamy

The Centre for Sustainable Energy says that draughty doors can cause up to 15% heat loss in the home, and properly draught-proofing your property can save as much as £125 a year on energy bills.

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While most eco types will have, quite rightly, been getting out their sewing kits and fashioning one of their own, perhaps using rolled-up towels or similar, there is a surprising – some would say bewildering – range of excluders out there to buy.

Some are, frankly, at prices that will make you wish you had spent more time developing your inner sewing bee.

View image in fullscreenThe White Company’s curly sheepskin draught excluder. Photograph: Tamin Jones/The White Company

Pricier and luxury options

For £75, the White Company will send you one of its stylish draught excluders “made from hard-wearing curly New Zealand sheepskin”.

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Hines of Oxford has a fine range of tapestry excluders in various colours, priced between £45 and £65. For example, the vintage union jack flag model has been discounted to £50.

Budget options

Over at Dunelm, things are a little more budget-friendly. For £14, the firm will sell you its “opulent” velvet draught excluder, one of which comes in a particularly snazzy yellow, while its £7 Barkweave excluder was out of stock. The retailer’s £16 Ralph the Schnauzer model isn’t as classy as the John Lewis rival, or even Next’s dachshund.

When we looked on eBay, a basic excluder could be picked up from £7.49.

Amazon’s UK site had some that were even cheaper than that – but watch out for big delivery charges.

Emma Stanley-Brown, the home category lead at John Lewis, says: “Draught excluders have become hot property again, with searches on JohnLewis.com up 88% on last week, as customers look for ways to stay warm and reduce energy bills this winter.”

Dunelm draught excluders. Photograph: Dunelm

A Next spokesperson told us that your front door is often the most common culprit when it comes to allowing a draught into your home: “Therefore, taking a long draught excluder cushion and placing this on the inside of the front door can prevent cold air becoming an unwanted intruder in your home this winter.”

We are likely to see even more people invest in a draught excluder when an official public information campaign to encourage UK households to cut their energy use and save money this winter goes live, as this will include tips and advice on things such as draught-proofing windows and doors.

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Prices and stock availability correct at the time of writing.

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