Calderdale Airtightness Workshop

by Blog

On a snowy Saturday morning in Todmorden, residents got together to learn how to make their homes more airtight! The session hosted by Carbon Co-op, is the second of a four-part series of workshops as a part of Retrofit Calderdale

We started off by spending some time navigating our way through the relationship between draughtproofing and ventilation. While many know that it’s good to seal up a draughty cold house, it gets confusing when we are also advised to ensure good airflow and ventilation. 

“If I seal up draughts in my house, isn’t it wrong to then put in vents for ventilation?”

“My house is draughty, so I don’t need ventilation, right?”

– workshop participants

… Wrong! 

This can get confusing but the key message residents took home was:

‘draughts are uncontrolled and potentially dangerous, while ventilation is controlled or planned and vital for our health!’

With that covered, we moved on to exploring how to find draughts and explored the concept of the ‘thermal envelope’. This is the heated area of the building, i.e. a bedroom but not the attic (unless it’s a room in roof!), and not under a suspended timber floor (don’t block up those floor vents!). The key principle here is that draughts should be tackled at the point at which they enter the thermal envelope. 

The facilitator showing residents how to use the draught-proofing product.

Essential here is the idea that rather than just looking at letterbox covers and draught strips around a door, also think about the gap between the door frame and the wall, or the window frame and the wall, or even around the loft hatch and the ceiling joists. 

We talked through where to find potential gaps and cracks in a building, including the more unusual suspects: pipes, lighting, and plug sockets, and what kinds of materials and products could be used to seal these up.

We had a lively discussion about draught-proofing products, sharing real-life experiences of using various items. A top tip from one participant was to put sealant tubes in warm water before using them to prevent very painful hands (or hernias!) whilst applying sealant! 

We looked at the use of high-end airtightness products in a DIY context, residents were particularly interested in airtightness tapes. 

Attendees found the workshop useful, particularly the practical aspects:

“Great to be able to see/feel/look at the draught strips and other products and the practicalities of using them. Very practically helpful!”

– workshop participant

We had a great time running the session and are looking forward to the third workshop, Flooding and Retrofit, on Wednesday 19th April.

If you are interested in running the DIY Airtightness or other workshops for your community do get in touch!