What is the optimum position for a letterbox?

The whole concept of an “optimum” location is for a letterbox in a UK property may not seem that important initially, but can be one of those quirky decisions that has a genuine impact on how well a residential composite, hardwood, metal or UPVC front door performs energy efficiency wise, plus the position of a letterplate also genuinely affects just how secure any particular home is (along with multi-locking devices etc.)

The favoured height of a letterbox for a postman has got to be on or above the mid-rail of a front door or side panel, so they cannot claim “health and safety” reasons for not being able to deliver through a very low letterbox positioned say in the bottom rail, meaning they have to bend their backs in order to deliver the post.

If one takes a moment to consider the implications for thermal efficiency, cutting a door sash to take a letter plate is rather a counter productive operation to an otherwise well insulated double glazed or triple glazed door, especially if the intention of fitting a replacement double glazed door in the first place is to exclude draughts and the cold. Even with a nylon brush draught “excluder” fitted in the internal space between the inside and outside opening letterplate flaps, this device is not sufficient insulation in itself to keep out some of the extreme Winter weather the UK has experienced in recent times.

Some UK house owners may choose 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 by definition more secure). Not putting a letterbox in a front door is much better for the aesthetics of any main entrance, and means the doorway cannot be cluttered up with holiday post that could prevent the door from opening inwards properly on ones return to the property.

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 things that let a letterbox down, i) that they let in the cold and draughts even when closed and ii) that unwanted items or liquids can be pushed through them by undesirables.

Home owners can alleviate cold and draughts by stuffing a length of foam or a tea towel or two into the gap between the flaps, but this is not something your postman will probably appreciate! One does however need to remember to remove these layers of home made temporary insulation early each morning so as not to put off the postman delivering the mail, then latterly replace them after the postman has been.

The most sensible place for a letterbox is either an exterior letter box, or if one is worried about others getting hold of the mail, a letterbox positioned in a panel or wall that goes directly into a secure locked area such as a garage, porch or secure pillar box (i.e. somewhere that can not be viewed externally). It is surely a bit bananas to spend good money investing in a high quality thermally efficient replacement double glazed aluminium, composite or UPVC front door and then violate it by installing a letterbox! But as the old saying goes “There are none so queer as folk.”

Anyhow, to find out more about energy saving replacement doors – click here


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