The Ecoflap

Easy-fit letter box draught excluder

Category: Fitting

Interiors: A to Z of draughtproofing

Interiors

interiors

Fitting dry lining

Interiors brings to mind paint colours and fabric finishes, but it’s much more than this. Episode 6 of the pod looked at the quality of new builds. Poorly fitted dry lining came up as an issue. Dry lining is the process of fitting ready-made plaster panels to walls. It’s quicker than wet plastering but if poorly fitted properly gaps appear between the panels. Draughts come into the house through these gaps. Any decoration applied to these walls will suffer over time.

Often these gaps are plugged with mastic or decorator’s caulk. This works for a while but degrades over time. If you’re having carpet fitted the fitter will often remove caulk from skirting boards, and not replace it. This leaves you with gappy, draughty skirting. Pay attention to both these infrastructural elements if you find a room draughty despite paying attention to the obvious causes.

Your home furnishings make a difference to how your home feels and performs. Colour choices matter. A light-coloured ceiling will reflect warm air down into a room. A dark carpet will absorb warmth and radiate it back up into the room. Consider your summer and winter furnishings. A thick curtain over a door in the winter helps to keep draughts at bay. A draught excluder at the foot of a door is very effective at keeping draughts out. Thick curtains at a window keep draughts away from the room. Blinds help to regulate solar gain in the summer. It’s preferable to sort out the source of a draught, but if you can’t then considering your interiors carefully will help.

In episode 7 of the pod we looked at passive cooling. This is the practice of designing a building to be comfortable all year round using good design and natural features. It’s a science all of its own, but put simply it’s about ensuring a house is cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather without using air conditioning. There are different considerations all round the world in different weather zones. As the planet heats up it’s likely we’ll be looking to passive cooling more and more.

Fitting: A to Z of draughtproofing

Fitting

There is a wide range of products sold under the ‘energy efficiency’ banner. These can be small budget-friendly household items such as the Ecoflap and the Petflap. There is also an entire industry devoted to expensive energy efficient doors and windows. These are well-advertised and promoted, but you hear little about the importance of proper fitting.

The most highly engineered, energy efficient window in the world won’t be of any benefit if the wind is whistling through the gaps around it.

Expert fitting

fitting

If your windows look like this, you need specialist fitting advice.

We wrote a blog post earlier this year about the important of having windows fitted properly. This applies to all windows, but especially technical energy efficient ones. Our main point was that without expert fitting the windows will under-perform. This leads to disappointed customers, bad reputations for tradespeople, and possibly compensation claims. In episode 6 of our podcast we cited this as one reason why new builds underperform in energy efficiency.

The problems stem from top-end doors and windows being fitted by people used to sticking in a door or window to the standards of ordinary new builds. We’ve discussed before how woefully poor current new build standards can be (here’s a Guardian article on the subject). The skills required to fit them out aren’t up to what’s needed in an energy efficient house. This can be a particular issue with the drylining used instead of traditional wet plastering to speed up construction.

Fitting a door or window properly requires excellent attention to detail. There needs to be a good understanding of the materials. Fitters need to understand how buildings behave. Without a clear grounding in these there’s lots of scope for things to go wrong.  If your home is historic or listed there are additional considerations. In that situation you would be well-advised to consult SPAB. SPAB runs courses which are invaluable in helping you understand what your home needs.

Finding a fitter

fitting

Even a smart door like this won’t perform well if it’s badly fitted

So how do you go about finding a good company that can give you confidence?

To some extent this depends on what you’re doing. If you have a renovation project underway with an architect, presumably one experienced in designing energy efficient houses, they’re the person to ask.

If you’re looking to replace old doors or windows with a more energy efficient model then ask lots of questions from the vendor. Ask if they include fitting. If they do, grill them on how they ensure maximum energy efficiency. If they don’t include fitting ask if they recommend anyone. Remember – expertise in designing and manufacturing energy efficient doors and windows doesn’t necessarily translate into expertise in fitting them.

If you have to find your own fitters ask the vendor what you should be looking for from the fitters you choose. Any fitter you employ should offer a guarantee on their work and be able to explain to you what they bring to fitting your doors and windows.

Expert fitting is essential to the return on investment from new doors and windows. Ask questions, ask more questions, and then don’t be afraid to go somewhere else and ask all the same questions.

Fitting Ecoflap without screws, nails or drills

fitting Ecoflap

Ecoflaps take about 2 minutes to fit

Using bathroom sealant you can safely stick the Ecoflap simply and cleanly to uPVC doors.

For those who prefer fitting Ecoflap with a more traditional mounting, you can mount with small screws for wood doors or with other adhesives for other surfaces.

Fitting Ecoflap is simple, but be sure to use the built-in lip on the Ecoflap to match up with the existing letter box aperture to align to the centre. The entire fitting should take less than two minutes.

N.B. Ecoflap works with horizontal letter box apertures only. Ecoflap will fit most letter boxes and door designs – even those with cross bars – but please check our Will it Fit? page, and/or download measurements to check.

Download measurement PDFs here:

General Measurements
Side on Measurements

Video: How to fit an Ecoflap

 Download printable full data sheet of dimensions here and Side-on-Measurements

Dimensions: Weight – 340g – Overall external size – 330mm x 117.5mm – Max internal aperture – 287.5mm x 53.25

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