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During the colder months there is a cold draft at the bottom of the stairs and I had a new drop down loft hatch installed 18 months ago as I was convinced that was the cause. It had become warped. But the draft remains with all windows shut! The loft is fully insulated and I have put rubber insulating tape around the edges although there is a small gap in places where it has warped very slightly but I can't feel a draft. There is no heating on the landing. Is there anything flat I could stick over the loft hatch joins as a seal?

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They make fold down attic stair covers, that are very well insulated. –  Tester101 Sep 4 '12 at 15:21

1 Answer 1

If you can't feel a leak then there probably isn't one, at least not there. It could be that your loft hatch (attic door for the US crowd) is leaking a load of heat. Is the door itself cold? Loft hatches are typically made of very thin wood, which doesn't have much in the way of insulating properties. I've always found it helps to pull a layer of insulation over the loft opening before closing the door to help prevent loss of heat.

One thing about home improvements is that sometimes when you fix something you notice something else that was covered up before. You insulate your loft and your upstairs is much warmer, so now you notice the leak that was always there but was covered up by the massive heat loss from your loft. You'll fix that leak and then notice another one, and another. Then after fixing all those leaks you'll have to re-balance your radiators because people are getting heat stroke in the study. So it may be that the loft hatch isn't the problem in which case you need to have a hunt for the real culprit. I use the back of my hand and fingers to search for leaks, which could come from badly sealed windows, light fixtures leaking air through the ceiling, a hole for a waste pipe in the bathroom, etc.

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Good answer. It easily could be that the door itself has become a cold "radiator", sucking the heat from the warm air touching it. That cold air sinks and is replaced by new warm air. This FEELS like a draft because you have a convection loop, but there is no incoming air. –  user558 Sep 4 '12 at 11:14
    
A classic technique for finding leaks is to use a lit candle and watch the flame bend toward (or away from) a leaking seam or crack. Just take care with the open flame. –  bib Sep 4 '12 at 13:30
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A higher-tech version of @bib's suggestion is to buy an inexpensive infra-red thermometer. Point it to different places, see where it's cold. –  GdD Sep 4 '12 at 13:40
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Also, they sell styrofoam shells that fit over your hatch and help insulate from the back. This might cut down on conductive heat loss. –  Alex Feinman Sep 4 '12 at 14:13
    
Thank you for all your help! I will definitely insulate the inside of the loft hatch (not quite sure how but will investigate) as it does get cold in the colder months. –  Linda Sep 23 '12 at 16:53

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