SIMPLE DRAUGHT CURES
If you don’t have the time to get down to draught proofing your house, there are still a few simple steps you can take to try to minimise heat loss.
And an old blanket, or homemade ‘sausage dog’ type draught excluder will serve as a temporary but effective draught stopper for doors. Placed hard up against the bottom it will help to reduce draughts and not look too unsightly.
Seve’re downdraughts which can occur when a fire is out of action can be reduced by fitting a sheet of board into the base of the chimney, out of sight from the fireplace.
But remember, chimneys should never be blocked completely.
Moisture which forms in an unventilated chimney can cause damage to the lining brickwork and mortar. And always remember to remove the board before you use the fire again.
If the area where a fireplace once stood is to be bricked up, you must fit some form of ventilation vent to avoid problems in the future.
OTHER SOURCES OF DRAUGHTS
Bare board floors — polished or painted — can often look very attractive, but if there are any gaps they can also allow the passage of very strong draughts in a room. The worst offender is the traditional square edge floor boarding.
Various fillers — including papier mache — can be used to good effect. If the gaps are not too large, for a very effective finish you can employ the techniques of old boat builders and caulk the gaps between the boards. It is not necessary to use hemp and black glue these days, as self hardening compounds such as ‘Life Caulk’ can be used. Here the sealant is squeezed from a dispenser in a continuous strip along the gap. Large gaps can be plugged with wooden strips. These methods can be extremely effective and are not difficult to do.
You should also attend to such other sources of draughts as attic doors or loft traps. These can be draught proofed using the same types of strip that you would use for windows and doors. As these doors aren’t usually opened very often, foam selfadhesive strip is perfectly adequate.
One other place in the home which can often create draughts is the letter box. This might be due to loose return springs or simply a bad fit.
Some letterboxes rely on the weighted flap to keep them closed and, in strong winds, may not only allow draughts in but also create a lot of noise.
One way to deal with this is to fit a back flap behind the letter box.
Measure the dimensions of the back of the letter box and add 30mm to both the horizontal and vertical lengths.
Make up a paper or card template to these measurements and tape it to a strip of rubber or piece of spare carpet.
Cut the material to size and position it over the back of the letter box so that it overlaps each side by about 15mm.
1. Secure the flap in place using
small tacks — nail it only at the top edge. This will allow the back flap to open when letters are pushed through the posting slot.
Another, neater, method to draught proof your letter box is to use a proprietary letter box draught excluder. A typical model has a slot sealed with brush strips.
To fit this, place the cover centrally over the letter box opening and lightly mark along the top edge with a pencil or felt tip pen.
2.Use the top line as your guide and place the top brush and its carrier in position and half screw into place using the screws provided.
Repeat the same procedure with the bottom brush, making sure that the brushes butt against one another in the middle and that there is no gap. Once in position, secure with screws.
3.Place the cover over the brushes and carrier, slot the cover into the groove on the carrier, making sure that the cover is correctly positioned.
Tighten all the screws and tap the cover between the door and the groove in the carrier.
The flexible plastic joint will now act as a hinge and allow the cover to move up and down when mail is delivered.