Why should you draught proof your home to save power?
If you want to lower the amount you pay on your electricity bills to keep your home cool and comfortable in the rapidly approaching summer months, you may want to consider draught proofing your home.
In fact, this is one of the easiest and cheapest changes you can make in your home to reduce your energy bills - and you can draught proof even if you are renting.
How much can you save by draught proofing?
The government initiative, Your Energy Savings, states that weather sealing or draught proofing your home can help you save 25 percent on your household bills and ensure you are more comfortable no matter the weather.
Which areas of your home need draught proofing?
While cracks and gaps around doors and windows are obvious choices, it is not only these areas that require draught proofing.
You should also look around your floorboards, architraves, skylights, cornices and skylights. Essentially anywhere there is a join could be a place where chilled air is sneaking out.
How can you prevent draughts around your doors and windows?
If you spot any cracks or gaps in your walls or doors, make sure you fill them as soon as possible. According to Sustainability Victoria, this can reduce air leakage by as much as 12 percent.
You can use door snakes or if you are looking for a more longterm solution you could install draught excluders at the base of doors, and draught strips around the doors. These will help keep the heat out in summer so you can remain comfortable indoors and not waste energy.
General caulking can also be used to plug these gaps and is very effective, according to Sustainability Victoria and can reduce air leakage by 26 percent.
If the gaps are particularly large you may require carpentry work in order to reduce their size. You can also find expandable foam fillers for more sizeable cracks.
Smaller gaps on the other hand can often be fixed by homeowners using a caulking 'gun'. Silicone sealants are water resistant, so you should opt for this if you are sealing an area exposed to the weather.
Before using a sealant, it is essential that the surface is clean and dry. You may also want to sand the surfaces so the sealant can work better.
What about around your home's fans, vents and other outlets?
Your home's automatic fans, vents and other outlets could also be be letting chilled air escape, which means you are wasting energy going to all that effort to cool it in the first place. Make sure you check all these areas and consider installing automatic closing mechanisms over them. You may also be able to add covers to existing fans that will prevent air from leaking out.
If you have halogen down lights in your home you may also find these are a place where cool air is leaking out. You could consider replacing them for more energy efficient lightbulbs. LED downlights are a great option. Otherwise, simply retrofitting a cover should help ensure as little air as possible is leaking out.
Could chilled air escape up your chimney?
If you have a chimney and do not use it, you may want to also consider blocking it as these are designed to extract air from your house. In the summer you may be relying on your air conditioning unit to keep your home cool.
Unfortunately, this air could be escaping up your chimney. In order to fix this, you can install dampers at the top of your chimney. During the warmer months, you can easily close these to prevent air leaking out. Similarly, removable chimney balloons can be placed in the throat of your chimney when there is not a fire burning.
You can also seal up the chimney with a tight-fitting removable screen, however this may not be an easy fix as it will require some carpentry work.
Posted by Liam Tunney.