How to create an airtight home
Insulation acts as a barrier to heat loss and heat gain in your roof and ceiling. In many homes, ceiling insulation is the most practical and cost effective way to make a house more energy efficient. Plus, it can save you up to 40 per cent on your energy bills.
Wall insulation can reduce your energy costs even further and is applicable to all climates. If wall insulation is not already fitted in your home, or if your existing insulation is insufficient, remember that it can be retrofitted.
Carpets and rugs are an easy way to cover floorboards and insulate your home, reducing heat lost through the floor. Making sure that gaps and cracks are sealed (especially in old or weatherboard homes) is also important.
Installing skylights will help maximise natural light in older and darker homes. It's also ideal to install a blind for the skylight, so in summer you can block out the light on hotter days.
Firstly, it's important to look at where draughts are coming from in your home. You'll find windows and doors are the most common areas and can be easily fixed by applying door or window seals, or just laying door snakes.
For a single pane of glass there are lots of ways to prevent heat loss and heat gain without limiting natural light in your home. Invest in exterior and interior coverings such as indoor blinds, outdoor blinds and curtains. They come in a huge range of styles and colours and can be easily installed in your home as an easy D.I.Y. project. Additionally, window film and/or glazing may be a helpful option.
The biggest electricity costs in the home are heating and cooling. So we've compiled our top 10 tips on how to reduce energy costs through efficient electricity use around your home.
1. Use a clothesline or airing rack instead of a dryer. Remember, your clothes will dry faster if hung out on a warm day, and even faster if placed in the sun.
2. Spend less time in the shower as hot water uses energy.
3. Make sure that appliances are switched off at the powerpoint when not in use.
4. Wash clothes and dishes in cold water instead of hot.
5. Use a standby switch on the TV as well as energy saving powerboards and energy meters. Energy timers are also ideal for both renters and homeowners as they allow you to control your household appliances.
6. Only heat or cool the rooms you need and close off the areas you don't.
7. If you do need heating or cooling, set it to the right temperature to avoid higher energy bills. Set your thermostat between 24 and 26 degrees in summer and 18–20 degrees in winter.
8. During the cooler months leave your curtains and blinds open during the day so that natural heat can enter the house, and at night time close blinds to ensure the cool air doesn't enter the house. For the hotter months, do the opposite by shutting your blinds during the day and opening them at night time.
9. Ensure your air conditioner is regularly serviced and maintained. Clean the air filter every month as dust can block the filters.
10. Use plants, trees and other landscape features to provide shelter for your home from harsh sunlight, especially in the summer months. Evergreen plants can provide permanent shading on west-facing walls in warmer climates. Deciduous plants and vine-covered pergolas work well on the north side to provide shade in summer and let in winter sun.