DIY Doctor

What can we do about these vents making house cold?

Postby Redtreble » Wed May 05, 2021 7:01 pm

Hi folks. Hoping to get some advice. We've recently moved into a 1950's semi and there's quite a few vents all over the house. They're mostly totally painted over and impossible to close (not all of them even have a handle anyway). The problem is is that the house is bloody freezing most of the time and it's as a direct result of the vents. They allow for a terrible draft.

My question is, what can we do about it? I get that they serve a purpose, although of course the house has been modernised since it was originally built and runs on modern central heating now, not a coal fire. So are they still necessary to prevent damp build up? Is there an alternative we could install? Can we just get rid of them? If the solution requires a tradesman, what kind of tradesman would you suggest?

Open to any and all suggestions! TIA.
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Redtreble
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Postby ericmark » Wed May 05, 2021 11:56 pm

There are heat recovery units, and yes it does seem the vents in 1950's homes are OTT, it seems there was so much of a rush to build houses that some of the skills seem to have been forgotten at that time.

Pre-war pipes and vents took combustion air close to the solid fuel fires, but it seems this was forgotten in the war years.

The old flue is likely the biggest problem, once any warm air enters the chimney you get the chimney effect, it causes draft, so balloon up the chimney is good first step.

Stop air going out, and it can stop air being drawn in.
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Postby Redtreble » Thu May 06, 2021 6:55 pm

Thanks ericmark, appreciate the reply.
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Postby ericmark » Fri May 07, 2021 12:17 pm

Old heat recovery units were big boxes, air going out heats air coming in, but there are new ones where the heat exchanger is built into the pipe going through the wall, they blow out I seem to remember and rely on the depression in room drawing new air in, so needs good fitting door, and expanding foam in vents. But to block vents with out fitting a heat recovery unit is asking for mould problems.
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