Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Draft Dodger

Editor's note: Sorry about the misspelling of hongi on the last post. I have never seen the word spelled out, and to my untrained ear it sounds exactly like hangi. Dani knew the difference, but she is too busy to proofread my blogs, plus it would not have been much of a surprise for her had she edited for me, eh? If you are not familiar with te reo, google hangi and you will get a good laugh!


Anyway, the topic of this post is dodging drafts in an eco and thrifty manner.


From what I have heard, anyone who has ever lived in a NZ villa has commented on how cold and drafty they are. We have been working to change that, but unfortunately were a little late for the coldest week in recorded NZ weather history. Although we did not get the flue for our multi-fuel stove installed by a plumber in time, the week provided an excellent opportunity to collect data on our passive solar design. We reached indoor afternoon temperatures of 20 - 24.2 degrees Celsius all week long, although morning readings dropped to around 10 as overnight lows were in the 1 - 3 degree range. I reckon there are four main reasons for this: we have not yet insulated under the floor; the new concrete hearth is uninsulated; all of the pelmets are not up yet; and draft-proofing is not complete. One particular culprit in the case of the latter is the back door(s).

Could not track down a good old American aluminum storm door. Bought this wooden door on trade me for $40, including 2 locks and 6 keys.

Although the back door(s) is "double glazed" so to speak...

Replaced the original traditional rimu four-panel glass door (inner door) that had been smashed by vandals with an identical one from the Renovators Centre for $100.

... as of last week there remained significant gaps around the perimeter.

The hardware store had a sale on door seals, so I picked up a couple. I decided to test the cheapest one along with a mid-range one. The cheapest model was on sale for $10. I reckon that is a good price, but the durability and longevity may be low as it is intended to be applied only with an adhesive strip.


That seems like a recipe for planned obsolescence. Some times being cheap is expensive. So I decided to beef up this model by pre-drilling 5 holes along its length. I used the adhesive to set it in place...


... and then tapped into my supply of stainless steel screws, which will not react with the aluminuim strip.


The entire installation took about 10 minutes and cost maybe $11 including the screws.


For the outer door, I went with the slightly more expensive model which included its own screws and was pre-drilled in the factory. I think this one was $15. But the feature that appealed to me most was the brush seal instead of the foam seal. Our new aluminium French doors has brush seals, so I figured that was a sign that they will take more wear and tear over time. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this.


This installation took only 5 minutes.


15 minutes for both doors. Why had I not done this sooner? Oh yeah, PhD thesis, new bathroom, new kitchen, new roof, etc. And, the other measures I had already taken on these doors were functioning ok. For example, foam strips along the door frame.

Remember to follow instructions to get all sides of the frame.

Additionally, I had already put up a pelmet above the inside door and hung a thermal curtain so that it nearly touched the floor. Then I took a pair of second hand blankets from the auction and "draft-not-quite-proofed" the bottom.


When we bought this house a year ago this door was smashed and poorly covered by a sheet of some pulp-like wood product and some roofing iron. Rain driven by northwestern winds (prevailing for us) pushed water inside.


Now, for a total of under $200 in materials, we have two draft-proofed, weather-sealed glass doors to let in sun but keep out rain and cold. And, some might say its more attractive than an aluminum storm door.




Peace, Estwing



1 comment:

  1. I always make sure to have a stock of stainless steel screws at home because I know that they will be useful when I have works like this. Stainless steel bolts are great because they will last for a long time and don't corrode easily. So when you're about to tighten or loosen something, you wouldn't have to worry because, unlike any other screws, they are extremely versatile.

    Carl Patten

    ReplyDelete