How can we reduce draughts and noise in our home from wild Atlantic winds?
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Are there any simple measures we can put in place to reduce the draught and noise from the winds?
I have access to a well-maintained house along the Wild Atlantic Way. It is often very windy there and this causes a good draught around the rooms as well as being noisy in the chimney. Are there any simple measures we can put in place to reduce the draught and noise?
If a house is very exposed, it is inevitable that high winds will give rise to considerable noise. However, the level of noise can be reduced by ensuring that there are no loose materials on the house, such as roof coverings, and by ensuring that any openings/gaps in the external fabric are sealed or at least reduced in as far as is practical.
The main apertures include the flues to chimney stacks and permanent vents in the external walls. If the chimney stacks are redundant then the option of sealing the flues off, however, maintaining provision for ventilation can be considered.
However, if the flues are or need to be used then there are various types of cowls that can be fitted to the chimneys, which will allow smoke to dissipate but reduce the risk of air/wind passing down through them and these are worthwhile erecting.
As regards the permanent vents, the primary purpose of these is to allow background or trickle ventilation from the interior to the exterior to minimise the risk of condensation occurring within a property.
However, vents of this nature will inevitably be two-way flowing, and when there is a high wind externally they tend to be draughty. The situation can be improved by fitting “hit and miss” grilles to the interior of the vent. This allows one to slide a cover back and forward, which effectively allows the vent to be closed off. The vents should be predominantly kept in the open position, however, the facility is there to close them off in high wind conditions.
Val O’Brien is a chartered building surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie