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During our energy performance contract with Ameresco Inc, the housing authority completed over three million dollars in energy upgrades. New boilers, toilets, lighting, thermostats, windows and even co-generation (heat power) systems for domestic hot water were installed.

 

One major issue at one of our 31 building - 168 apartment developments was the front door mail slots in existing metal, insulated doors. On days when the outside temperature dropped below 25 degrees the draft created by the mail slots eliminated the efficiencies of the new heating boilers dropping space temperatures in the apartments below the minimum health code requirements. Our options were to increase boiler supply temperatures and sacrifice energy savings or find a solution to the mail slots acceptable to the local post office.

 

Your insulated mail slot saved the day!! After proper installation by my staff the draft issue was totally eliminated allowing the new high efficiency boilers to do what they were designed to do...provide comfort to our residents at the most cost effective setting.

 

Thank you for a great product!

 

Brian Costello, Assistant Director

Watertown Housing Authority

 

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A draft free mail slot - a central vac sweep door - a counter top garbage trap:Three of the most useful SLOTS you have ever seen.Slots are simply small passageways through something. In this segment we looked at three very nifty Slots -- all completely different.

The counter top butcher block is cut into the counter. A small frame under the counter holds it in place and at the right height. Place a garbage can under this "slot" and all you have to do is tilt up the board and all the scrap slides into the garbage. Nothing falls on the floor. This is a great idea for salvaging a counter top where you have burned the laminate. Cut out the burn and install this cutting board. You could even just put a garbage tray on a shelf below the slot to maintain storage space.

Central vacuum cleaners are great but there are times when it is just too much trouble to haul out that long hose to pick up a spill in the kitchen. Install this "VacuSweep" trap door, compatible with all models of central vacs, and use your old fashioned broom to sweep the junk right into the central vac. Lift the lever with your toe, it opens the slot and activates the vacuum cleaner. Sweep in the general direction of the Vac Sweep and it sucks up whatever is thrown it's way. Push on the lid with your toe and it closes the slot and shuts down the machine.

How about a through door mail slot that does not give you cold drafts? The Draft Dodger has two gasketed and spring loaded doors, one on each side of the door to really keep out the cold air. It even has brushes to block the cold air if someone left a letter in the middle of the slot rather than pushing it all the way through. And the double doors helps increase security for the door, you can't reach through from the outside easily. You can purchase this great device from the DHD Specialty Hardware Store.

When you are cutting slots there are some tips to make the job easier. Check out the next to last picture above. If your slot will show, that is there is no flange to cover the edges like with the counter top butcher block, you will need to drill your blade holes well inside of the slot outline and then go back with the jig saw and clean out the corners square after you cut the slot. However, if you have a flange, like on both the Vac Sweep and the Draft Dodger, drill the holes centred right at the corners of the slot. This will actually give you clearance for the corners of the insert as well as make the cutting job quicker and easier.

When cutting on a surface that you do not want to scratch, cut out a piece of construction paper slightly larger than the slot. Place this over the work and have the jig saw ride on this protective covering. You will have no scratch marks on that newly painted door.

Ask Jon Eakes

www.joneakes.com

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100 DIY Upgrades

for Under $100

 

By: THE EDITORS AT THIS OLD HOUSE, This Old House magazine

 

How to do it: Swap in an insulated mail slot to keep out weather and muffle noise.

Estimated cost: Polished aluminum Draft Dodger insulated mail slot, about $45; DHDTV Specialty Hardware

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Featured in the October 2009 issue of This Old House Magazine - "100 DIY Upgrades for Under $100: Exterior and Entry" and on-line at www.ThisOldHouse.com

 

Recommended by Jon Eakes - Host of HGTV Canada & DIY Network's "Just Ask Jon Eakes"

"At long last, someone has invented a cold climate mail slot! Now you can have mail privacy, energy efficiency and the elimination of those uncomfortable cold air drafts!"

 

This Old House Magazine, "100 DIY Upgrades for Under $100: Exterior and Entry", www.ThisOldHouse.com, Jon Eakes, HGTV Canada & DIY Network trade names, trade symbols and images are the sole property and trademarks of This Old House, Jon Eakes, HGTV Canada & DIY Network respectively

 

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