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Where to locate your letterbox may not seem that important to start with, but it is one of those decisions that can have a big impact on how well your composite, hardwood, metal or PVC front door performs thermally efficiency wise, as well as sadly on how secure a UK property is.
Fitting a letterbox into an otherwise well insulated double glazed or triple glazed door is not the brightest thing if you want to exclude draughts from the internal lobby in your property. Even with nylon brush draught “excluder” fitted in the gap between the inner and outer flap of your letterbox will not be sufficient to keep out the extreme temperature we have experienced over the last 3 years, the most recent sustained period of below freezing temperatures time being in February 2012.
Some UK home owners prefer to position their letterbox in a side panel to the left or right of their front door, well away from the front door handle and locking mechanism (which makes them more secure), plus does not affect the aesthetics of their main entrance, and means the doorway cannot jam up with post (i.e. when away from home on holiday etc.).
Security wise you want to position your letterbox so when you are away from home for a period of time any “build up” of post is visually obscured from unwanted external prying eyes. This can be achieved by having solid panels in your doors and side panels or very obscure glass, as double glazed and triple glazed glass comes with a choice of obscure glass patterns and designs that have different levels of obscurity. Positioning a letterbox away from an entrance door still does not address two of a letterbox’s greatest failings i) they let in the cold and draughts even when closed and ii) unwanted items or liquids can be pushed through them.
You can alleviate cold and draughts by stuffing a length of foam or a couple of tea towels into the gap between the flaps, but this is not something your postman will probably appreciate! One just needs to remember to remove these layers of home made temporary insulation early each morning the post is due and then to replace them after the postman has been.
Consequently, the most sensible place for a letterbox is external, good old American style i.e. an actual letter box, or if you are worried about others getting hold of your mail, a letterbox in a panel or wall that goes directly into a garage or porch area that can not be viewed externally. It seems crazy to invest in a high quality thermally efficient replacement double glazed aluminium, composite or UPVC front door and then “ruin it” by installing a letterbox! As the saying goes “There is none so queer as folk.”
Anyhow, why not find out more about energy saving replacement doors