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Chimneys and fireplaces
Very often when central heating is installed in an older house, the fireplaces become redundant. The chimneys are usually (or should be) capped off to prevent water ingress due to rain. Some ventilation is still usually needed especially at the top to stop damp .
To prevent big drafts you can put an inflatable pillow (or “balloon”) specially made for this purpose up the chimney. Alternatively, you can block it off horizontally at the opening between the fireplace and the chimney. You can fix a board (which can have insulation added) vertically in front of the fireplace. Or else it can be bricked up.
Always check that there is some venting. You could possibly use a closable vent that can be shut off for short periods in extremely cold weather but not for too long in case it does cause damp issues. See Damp Chimneys
Older windows are often drafty, especially sash windows. Various draft excluders are available but larger problems arise when the windows are warped or rotten. In that case the only real solution is to repair or replace. To a certain extent secondary double glazing may help but drafts should be attended to first as the effectiveness in reducing heat loss with secondary glazing relies on the air in the gap between the two panes being still air.
Draught excluders are reasonably inexpensive and should be placed around the door. You can also use the good old fashioned door sausage which is placed over the gap at the bottom. This is like a sausage shaped cushion that can be bought quite cheaply or can be made at home.
Alternatively hanging a heavy curtain across the door can help enormously.
Letter boxes can have spring-loaded flaps to close them off and stop them blowing around in the wind, or else specially made letterbox brushes can be used.
Another source of drafts that we often forget about. Key holes can have a cover fitted. These are hinged at the top and just moved to the side when you need to use the key.
Free draft excluders from RetrofitSouthampton
Please contact us as we have some door, window and letter box draft excluders available to local residents free of charge.
This is the draught strip available, with the tools required to fit it. The strip is manufactured by Schlegel. It is easy to cut with a junior hacksaw and the foam seal can be trimmed precisely with the craft knife. It can be painted and is easily removed if required.
The draught strip is pinned to the window frame putting a little pressure on the flexible foam part so that there is a snug seal.