The Ecoflap is a patented product that sits on the inside of your letter box hole. With its innovative design it can prevent draughts that are caused by howling winds. Draughts cause discomfort when you are trying to heat your home on cold winters day and your boiler works that extra bit harder to keep a comfortable room temperature.
Ecoflap is unique as it has a weight distribution system and a series of lever and pulleys that stops it opening when wind is blowing, but it allows letters and post to come through as normal. You can have it installed with a widget lifter so the flap can open up without strain when you are trying to post through large items and parcels.
The Installation of the Ecoflap
Installing Ecoflap is incredibly easy – just follow the steps below:
- Take the Ecoflap, check whether the door is flat next to the letter box hole, by turning the edge and resting against the frame. If it is flat then the installation should snuggly fit; however if there is a slight space between the straight edge and the door, it may not fit properly.
- Identify the locating lip of the product, which will then fit on the bottom edge of the letterbox hole. For a wooden frame door you may wish to use screws. If this is the case you need to use 3.5mm screw and no more than 15mm, so the cap can fit on top of it.
- For PVC doors or if you don’t want to screw fix, then you can use a silicon sealant. In this case turn the Ecoflap around and liberally apply the silicon to the rim. Then place the Ecoflap onto the edge of the letterbox hole, ensuring the locating lip is fitted in the right place.
- For any sealant that spills on the edges, take a wet cloth and wipe it down.
That’s it, simple as that!
To find out more about the installation process please refer to the ‘how to’ video below:
Continuing on from the blog last week, discussing some of the early feedback on the Green Deal, I want to look at some of the misconceptions people can have when considering energy efficiency improvements. These can stem from a variety of sources, for instance: out of date knowledge on certain technologies, biased opinion from contractors selling their products, and in some cases just uncorrected assumptions from the home owner. It is of course important for a Green Deal advisor to try and clear up these misconceptions, and allow the home owner an unbiased and straight-forward explanation of energy efficiency measures and here are some common examples:
Walls, Roofs, Windows and Doors Energy Misconceptions
- One important point is to remember that some of the larger, more expensive improvements are not necessarily the best ways to save money or improve efficiency. And some of the smaller scale, simpler improvements can make potentially a bigger difference. Double glazing seems to be a great example of this. In most homes, insulating the loft or rafters under the roof will make a bigger difference (and cost significantly less), than getting expensive double glazing – although there are of course other reasons for getting double glazing installed, such as its acoustic insulating ability.
- Walls are another area of the home that people are often ignorant about. Some people may suggest that a thick wall means better efficiency, however that is not necessarily the case. Brick is a poor insulator and therefore thickness is not particularly important. The construction of the walls however is very important, and older solid wall properties will lose much more heat through the wall than a more modern cavity wall. Often people are confused over cavity walls and insulation – cavity walls are only insulated once they have been filled, even though an uninstalled, unfilled cavity is more energy efficient than a solid wall.
- Draughts really do make a big impact on the efficiency of a home. Most heating in homes is in the form of convection space heating, so the radiator (or convection equivalent) warms the air. The problem is air has a very low thermal capacity, so a cool draught will very quickly remove the heat from the air. Getting draught proofing for doors and windows and ensuring fireplaces are properly draught-proofed is essential, and costs very little in comparison to savings made, potentially paying back in a couple of years or less.
- Thickness of loft insulation is also important, and the building regulations for the recommended thickness seem to be continually changing. Even if your loft was insulated 5 years ago, it is very likely that more insulation will be required, as it is now recommended to install loft insulation to a thickness of 270mm or more.
Boilers and Hot Water Tanks Energy Misconceptions
- The hot water tank jacket is an often overlooked piece of insulation, yet can repay itself in a year in some instances. Confusion can arise over the spray foam often factory applied to the tank. In many cases this is not very thick, and a simple wrap-around jacket can save money.
- Water saving measures like shower heads, cistern displacement devices, shower timers and tap aerators all help reduce water and heating bills. For those on water metres there is a double saving to be made, as these measures help reduce the hot water used (and thus heating bills) and the will also reduce the volume of water used.
- A new boiler can be very expensive and in some cases not necessary. Getting a highly efficient boiler when the house is poorly insulated will often make less of a difference than getting walls and roof spaces properly insulated.
- Further, heating controls are also very important. Without being able to control room temperatures and set timers, much energy is needlessly wasted. Those without sufficient controls often leave the heating on too long, and end up needing to open a window to let the heat out, or forget to turn the hot water off. Without individual room controls, rooms not in use or not in need of heating get unnecessarily overheated, and waste valuable energy.
Habits and Lifestyles
- People today are often aware that they can save energy from certain simple measures. Many of which require little or no cost, but they are often not aware that these measures can add up to create big savings.
- Common examples of bad habits widely practiced by the public include: leaving lids off whilst cooking on the hob, overfilling the kettle, and leaving appliances on standby. The cumulative effect of the dozens of household appliances with stand-by modes left on continuously has a huge effect on electricity bills.
A final Point
Another point that has been stressed in previous blogs is that halogen bulbs are not low energy! They are in fact very inefficient and switching to LED bulbs will save a lot of money, relative to the cost of the bulbs, also since the last significantly longer (10-20 years longer), you won’t have to get your ladder out every 6 months to replace a blown bulb!
With all the windy weather recently, I’ve noticed how my house is a bit draughty – it actually sings to me as the air rushes in and out of the small gaps in the windows and doors! To stop this singing, I seriously looked into draught exclusion to try and keep as much of that precious warm air from escaping. I was quite surprised at how much energy I could save (and money!), therefore this blog details not only how I found ways to draught-proof a house, but also suggest some other cheap methods to help your house become more energy efficient.
While it’s good to have effective ventilation throughout the house to ensure good air flow through the house to help reduce any condensation or damp, (I’m not looking for a completely airtight building), but draughts are actually pretty costly from an energy point-of-view.
Here is how I tackled my doors
I have two entrances to my house, a front and a back door, both of which have fairly old doors on them. As the house is a little bit exposed to the elements (it sits on a slight hill so we get the full force of the wind and rain), I think the old wooden doors have warped a little bit and don’t sit flush with the frame. I noticed the previous owners had put in some foam strips to try and stop the air flowing through, however it didn’t appear that it helped that much. So, this is what I decided to do to improve the situation:
- Replaced the foam strip with a thicker foam strip to get a more snug fit around the edges of the door,
- Put a letterbox brush on the facing the inside,
- Put a little plate over the keyhole to stop the air getting through.
All these measures cost under £25 per door and a quick look online shows that I would save at least that amount over a year. With the payback of 12 months, it is a no-brainer!
Windows in good shape
The windows are actually in pretty good shape (the FENSA certificates when I bought the house said they were installed between 2006 and 2007) so no work is needed there. But you can do similar things with the self-adhesive foam strips on the windows or even more permanent metal strips (though these tend to be more expensive). You can even put silicon sealant on windows that don’t open to get a really snug fit.
Loft – quick and easy seal
I also noticed when I was up in the loft (looking at the water system – will have a separate blog on this at some stage), I noticed that there is a bit of air rushing in and out of the hatch, so I sealed that with some foam strips on all four sides, much like you can do with a normal door (cost less than a fiver). Quick and easy and probably making a marginal benefit that will help in the long-run.
Shutting out that chimney noise
When the air Source heat pump engineer came round a couple of weeks ago to look at the possibility of installing a pump, he commented on the fact that I have two disused chimneys in the house. This is a problem as they also appear to be letting a lot of the heat out. One option is to install a cap on the chimney, but I’m quite keen to get the fireplaces up and running over time, so I’ve invested in a genius device called a “chimsoc”, which is a plastic, inflatable, reusable balloon.
Basically, you place it halfway up the chimney, inflate it and it sits there keeping most of the warm air from escaping! It’s got a slight gap at one side to allow for a little bit of airflow and a handy dangling device which can be seen in the fireplace and will stop me inadvertently lighting a fire while it still up there! They are also good for reducing any noise, especially if like me you live in a busy area – near a main road or railway line.
A bit of expanding foam on external pipework
My house has quite a few pipes running in and out it. In pipes for gas and water from the well, and out for waste water (sinks, showers, toilets etc). I invested in a can of expanding foam (£8 from B&Q) and filled the gaps around these pipes. It’s amazing stuff (be careful and use gloves though as it’s quite sticky!) and has reduced the draughts considerably. You can spray it in and then saw off / sand down any excess.
All in all then, I have spent under £90 on a number of measure I have installed above (you might need to spend a little more if your windows need a bit of draught proofing), but improved my house extensively. I can already notice the difference in the reduced draughts and hopefully soon I’ll start noticing the savings in my heating bills.
Hope to this was useful.