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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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    • CommentAuthorgazbo
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2008
     
    Hello all, in a drive to be more eco over the years with every possible aspect of my life I have found solutions or compromise solutions to most things after a bit of research but this continues to frustrate me.

    I have what seems to be an original victorian wooden front door with glass panels in the upper half and a brass letterbox down at ground level. The door goes straight into my front room (no corridor or porch) and has a brushes type panel on the inside to 'reduce draughts'.

    My frustration is that it simply does not work, as soon as a newspaper is stuffed in the slot and left for more than an hour there the brushes are permanently deformed and so let in draughts. To add to this the brass plate on a spring does not seal very well against its frame. I have tried creating a strip for it to spring against and seal better with no real success either.

    When I exhausted all ideas to improve without buying a new item I went looking for a better letterbox. Everyone approached just recommends a nasty UPVC one which I want to avoid due to the unenvironmental plastic as well as the fact that it would look horrific on a nice victorian front door.

    I am amazed that I do not seem to be able to find a single non plastic 'well sealed' letterbox on the web anywhere despite considering myself reasonably good at delving deep into finding obscure hard-to-find products all the time.

    If anyone has come across something decent then I would love to hear about it, otherwise I am going to try one slightly non-conventional approach:

    I was thinking that I could attach something like a carrier bag size thick plastic bag to the inside frame of the letterbox maybe with velcro or something more sealed so that anything posted will be pushed into the bag and if left wedging the letterbox open the bag would continue to act as an air seal until the item is picked out of the slot. My battle with this is somehow flexibly suspending the bag off the floor so that I can still open the door when I get home (visions of having to call fire brigade as cannot get in own front door due to wedged bag are not appealing!). I will also of course need to be able to detach the bag easily to get at my post every day. So i am now visualising maybe a shelf hanger mounted about 1ft off the ground on the back of the door with a piece of bungee going down to the back of the bag??

    Anyone got any better ideas or solutions? I am not really in an area where I could just have a box outside for post as I think it would get broken into or have litter shoved into it, plus I am in a terrace property so my front of house is only 3ft to the pavement from the front door.

    Cheers, Gary
    • CommentAuthorJackyR
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2008 edited
     
    Been experimenting with an internal post box for a similar problem:
    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=2564&page=1#Item_22
    I'm thinking of trying again, with the rear wall of the box angled to force items downwards.

    This won't solve your problem of the ground level letter flap. How practical would it be to move your letter flap? Mine is vertical, between the top panels.

    If you do go for the bag, try a draw string at the bottom rather than velcro-ing to the door? And a rigid frame inside the bag (shelf hanger, coathanger...) might be less visually vile than the naked version?
    • CommentAuthorwookey
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2008
     
    IG doors have some with metal front/back and plastic telescoping inner section, gasketed with twin brushes: page 36 of http://www.igdoorsltd.co.uk/IG%20Doors%20Brochure.pdf

    You could also try the Green Building Store who specialise in ecologically sounds doors so may have something suitable.
  1.  
    What about a length of rectangular ventilation ducting (220 x 90mm) mounted horizontally behind the flap and cap that off with a re-cycled polly bag?
    This presumes that the door does not open against a wall. :cry:

    James

    Edit: Wookey's post above is a much better solution.
    • CommentAuthorwellanna
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2008
     
    Gary,

    I think you'll find the best solution is NOT to have a letterbox/large hole in your door at all! Having looked at all the options during the build of our new extension, we believe an external letterbox is a far better way of resolving the conundrum. There are plenty of external boxes available and they are reasonably priced. We went for something like this:

    http://www.only-post-boxes.co.uk/Items/br612022?&caSKU=br612022caTitle=Brabantia%20B100%20Postbox%20in%20Grey

    and are really very happy with it.

    Obviously that would still leave the hole in your current door, but I'm sure getting that filled in would be an easy job.

    Neal.
    • CommentAuthorRoger
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2008
     
    Get a dog. Ours yanks any post out within seconds, preventing open-flap-draft misery.
    • CommentAuthorchuckey
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2008
     
    I had the same problem, all I did was to add an internal hinged wooden flap loaded with lead so it closed. KISS
    Frank
    • CommentAuthorgazbo
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2008
     
    Thanks for your ideas guys and gals, the IG draughtproofed style is the first I have seen that seems to be acknowledging this large scale draughty issue.

    I am going to try some sort of combination if my original idea plus possible venting tube/drawstring bag additions.

    I will post some pics and results after Mark 1 has been built and tested!

    Cheers, Gary
    • CommentAuthorTheDoctor
    • CommentTimeNov 7th 2008
     
    letter box is into a small vestibule in our house through a nice old wooden door, and the inner door is a nasty UPVC double glazed affair.

    the double door effect precludes the need for a fancy letter box, but i do want to replace the nasty UPVC monster asap. the previous owner fitted it, complete with frame, within the original timber door frame, so it is low and narrow! clear width only 610mm, and height 1850mm I'm 1920 high - so a bit of an issue!

    sorry for hijack!

    the best solution is no letter box in the door at all,as Wellanna states.
    • CommentAuthorludite
    • CommentTimeNov 7th 2008
     
    I only heard about 'hijacks' since joining this forum. Could we please not refer to this any more?

    I think that if you're adding something relevant to the original question - even if it's an 'aside' then it is somehow better than staring a whole new parrallel topic.

    As many people who visit this site comment, it is THE place to find out info.

    This is a thread about plastic letter boxes, but if it also discusses the issue of letterboxes in particular, can that be a bad thing?

    Sorry guys. That was a total hijack. Nothing to do with letter boxes at all. Big appologies:sad:
  2.  
    I have a similar problem and am eagerly awaiting the launch of the ecoflap http://www.theletterplate.com/home.htm

    Fingers crossed it proves to be a winner.
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2009 edited
     
    Reading the above comments, the inside letter box draught stopper is now on the market. Launched last month at Ecobuild. The website page has been changed to http://www.theletterplate.com
  3.  
    made in China?
    • CommentAuthorMiked2714
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2009 edited
     
    Very interesting. I had a look at the youtube videos and noticed that the ecoflap shown on the "ECOFLAP - No more letter box draughts" video isn't the same as the flap they are selling now. The latter has screw holes in a flange round the edge, whereas the former, presumably a prototype, looks much neater. I know that neatness isn't exactly the most important issue but the product is appealing to those wanting to keep their metal outer letterbox for aesthetic reasons.
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2009
     
    Yes Miked2714 you are correct. There is a prototype demonstrated on the website (see above). together with demonstrating the final unit of Ecoflap. For the final design Ecoflap was stretched a little and a flange added to cater for the slightly larger outside plates. The flange will cover over any bolts from the outside plate and also untidy hole cuts.
    Whether adhered to the inside of the door , or screwed, there are caps provided for aesthetic finish.
    By the same token, for those that have treasured antique outside letter boxes - e.g. antique Victorian Letter Boxes or similar - if necessary, for energy efficiency purposes. there is no need to change them, an Ecoflap on the inside of the door will solve any problems.
    • CommentAuthorAds
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2009
     
    With the existing letterbox at ground level there are many problems - we have the same. So, one other solution is to raise the opening and fit an internal letterbox (there are a few, so just Google). The majority of the ones I have seen are made from steel, but they may be galvanised and/or epoxy coated. Naturally there are pros and cons, and how draught-proof they are I can't tell, but they do offer another option.
  4.  
    Posted By: ecoflapReading the above comments, the inside letter box draught stopper is now on the market. Launched last month at Ecobuild. The website page has been changed tohttp://www.theletterplate.com" __lkid="117847" >http://www.theletterplate.com



    ecoflap - has anyone performed any air leakage tests with one of these installed?

    I guess the normal methodology of replacing the front door with a fan panel ignores any problems with sealing around the front door, or with letterboxes in the door itself. (Unless this is done using two different doors to the house...) As a result, you'd need an installation where the ecoflap wasn't in the door being used for the test, but in a different door or some other part of the building fabric.

    I'm trying to understand if the ecoflap is good enough, or whether to go with an external letter box solution. My current preference is to go with the latter, since it can also combine with a larger "drop" box for larger parcel delivery when no-one is home.
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2009
     
    The answer to your question above re. air leakage test and "drop" delivery.
    Currently the Ecoflap has been taken by an award winning Architect who is renowned for his expertise in Eco Housing. The results are not known yet as the Eco House project is in progress. I believe it will be boxed around initially for the first results and then without the box. These results will then be compared. This is possibly the first time that a single sided letter plate/flap will have been put through paces such as this test. Whatever, this might indeed say a lot for Ecoflap to have this consideration.
    Regarding "drop" delivery, the Ecoflap is able to take small packages delivery. There may well be an answer for larger deliveries without visits to retrieve from the parcel depot ?
  5.  
    Posted By: ecoflapThe answer to your question above re. air leakage test and "drop" delivery.
    Currently the Ecoflap has been taken by an award winning Architect who is renowned for his expertise in Eco Housing. The results are not known yet as the Eco House project is in progress. I believe it will be boxed around initially for the first results and then without the box. These results will then be compared. This is possibly the first time that a single sided letter plate/flap will have been put through paces such as this test. Whatever, this might indeed say a lot for Ecoflap to have this consideration.


    Thanks, I look forward to seeing the results.

    (Bear in mind that normal testing pressurizes the house, which might help push the ECOflap closed. Consequently seeing the results with both pressurized and de-pressurised tests would be very useful.)

    Posted By: ecoflapRegarding "drop" delivery, the Ecoflap is able to take small packages delivery. There may well be an answer for larger deliveries without visits to retrieve from the parcel depot ?


    There are several companies that have sprung up specifically targeting the parcel delivery issue. While these
    solutions are considerably more expensive than ECOFlap, they are also capable of accepting much larger parcels.

    They're still not ideal though, since they are design for external access to the boxes, meaning a need to open the front door and let lovely warm air outside to retrieve your mail! Something like a bank deposit box slot dropping into an internal insulated box with an airtight internal door is probably ideal.
    • CommentAuthordonty
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2009
     
    Our house is on the borders of England/Wales, on a hill, very well insulated, faces south, has solar hot water and underfloor heating. We use passive solar in a large full height/width conservatory. It works well, but the main problem for us has been the winds blowing heating away from the exterior and draughts blowing the heat out through the house (the house is not an air tight design). Standard brushes, seals and well made windows and doors haven't removed the problem.

    After reading the review on the Low Carbon Economy site, I decided to try an Ecoflap, I dont want a box bolted down outside with locks and keys to lose ;-)

    So far I'd give it top marks. Cutting the draught from the letter plate was not something I had thought would be that much of an issue but it is certainly feels warmer, especially in the evening. It does seem to have made a difference to air flow generally not just at the door, but that might be subjective!

    It's too early to tell how much of it reflects in heating bills or energy use but I reckon that the Energy Saving Trust should be given one of these to review and ...as there is no advice given on draughty letter boxes - (infact no mention of letter boxes at all as I can see on the advisory page) - maybe they should add it to their advisory pointers for keeping a home free of draught. I suppose for people here it's a foregone conclusion that letter boxes can be a problem, but as there has been nothing on the market to effectively combat draughts through letter boxes perhaps it wasn't worth their while mentioning it?

    Ecoflap: send them a free unit and let's see what they make of it! The real numbers behind any efficiency/savings would be interesting to see. I wonder if there is any chance of other tests being done to give some support the claims? Though it didn't stop me buying one as the cost/benefit (and incidentally the fitting) was a no-brainer!
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2009
     
    "It's too early to tell how much of it reflects in heating bills or energy use but I reckon that the Energy Saving Trust should be given one of these to review and ...as there is no advice given on draughty letter boxes - (infact no mention of letter boxes at all as I can see on the advisory page) - maybe they should add it to their advisory pointers for keeping a home free of draught."

    In response to the above - the Energy Saving Trust has since been informed.
  6.  
    Posted By: MarkBennettThey're still not ideal though, since they are design for external access to the boxes, meaning a need to open the front door and let lovely warm air outside to retrieve your mail! Something like a bank deposit box slot dropping into an internal insulated box with an airtight internal door is probably ideal.

    Or you could just take in your post at the same time as picking up your milk. Or can a bottle of milk be 'delivered' via a drop box?
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
     
    Hmm not exactly NOT thought of. But.....I'd go with the flow of the letter box of the norm and await the post to be dropped gently and silently through my antique letter box through the inside draught proof flap. Inexpensive and less bulky. (Space would be an issue with me to have an internal box inside my hallway or on the back of the door) so.... hypothetically it'd have to be outside I wouldn't want to open my door each morning to collect my post. Re bottles of milk, I just go to the supermarket, and return to find my mail awaiting me on the mat and the letter box in the closed position!
  7.  
    Posted By: cloudy_thoughts
    Posted By: MarkBennettThey're still not ideal though, since they are design for external access to the boxes, meaning a need to open the front door and let lovely warm air outside to retrieve your mail! Something like a bank deposit box slot dropping into an internal insulated box with an airtight internal door is probably ideal.

    Or you could just take in your post at the same time as picking up your milk. Or can a bottle of milk be 'delivered' via a drop box?


    Like Ecoflap we get our milk at the supermarket, it's not delivered. We got fed up of the milkmen not being able to deliver reliably before we went to work, and then the milk being left out all day in the sun.

    It's not really for letter, but for small parcels. We're ordering more and more over the internet and often if the parcel doesn't fit through the letterbox when we're out they take it back to the sorting office. So, we need to visit the sorting office to collect it. Not a huge inconvenience for Royal Mail since it's not far, but for couriers it can be a real pain.

    Of course, even a scheme as I describe wouldn't work for parcels needing a signature, but it's halfway there.
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2009
     
    Yes the comment/suggestion above is "half way there." This of course won't suit the mass market - your suggestions would be for a specific market , and a very different scenario to...... the - norm.
    Why don't you have a go at building/making what you describe yourself, for yourself. and see how it works? Let us know.
    Of course, you may have done so already?
    Small package delivery isn't a problem through my letter box. For the odd larger packet it's usually left with my neighbour.
    • CommentAuthorecoflap
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2010
     
    Jessel Innovations has entered the Barclays Business Nationwide Take One Small Step Competition.
    Out of 371 entrants in the South West we have made the top 3 finalists. We're doing well and appear to be leading. Help us stay there. We are a Partnership and have received no grants or investment. Purely self supporting. We have been on the market for 15 months only. A £50,000 win would help us expand our other energy efficient products far sooner. Our closest opponent has advantages that we don't have. Please support us and VOTE. Easiest is to go to http://www.ecoflap.co.uk and click on the Public Link direct to our entry. Public voting ends 4th July. Or...text* JESSEL to 87222 (25p + service provider charge) Thank you. You'd be helping British Invention. Anne
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2010
     
    In my house I couldn't have a letter plate at all, too much air leakage ans impossible to insulate, completely incompatible with the ideas of highly insulated and air tight.
  8.  
    I don't think an external box is so bad, basically you just get the post when you go in and out for other reasons - no net heat loss.

    J
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2010
     
    Me neither
    • CommentAuthorPowerPrize
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2010
     
    Hi Gary

    It seems that you and many of the visitors of this site are trying to solve the problem of house energy loss through a letter box, whereas the solution is ready available at www.secureletterbox.com as a patented secure letter box product IdealGuardâ„¢.
    :bigsmile:
   
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