If your energy bills peak during summer and winter, your air conditioner may not be entirely at fault. It’s possible your home is poorly insulated. This means your air conditioner has to work extra hard to keep the place cool or warm, directly impacting your electricity bills through higher energy consumption.
Australian homes are notorious for poor insulation. Compared to many other countries, they tend to be quite large with thin walls, making it very easy for cool air to leak out in summer, or enter the home during winter.
A well-insulated home is the only remedy if you want to save on your electricity bills. While this may mean an upfront cost, the long term savings will make it all worthwhile.
How to insulate your home
There are several things you can do to help seal the air inside your home. Actron Air recommends the following solutions that will ensure your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard, saving you money on your power bill.
Whole house insulation
Consult with a professional about performing an audit on your home and determining your insulation needs. The audit will reveal those areas of your home that need to be insulated to help you control the temperature. While insulating your walls and roof can be expensive, most homes will recoup their outlay through energy savings in just a few years.
Insulate your windows
Windows are particularly susceptible to air leaks through tiny cracks around the frame. Check for gaps or cracks by slowly running your hand around the frame. If you feel any air coming out from the edges, it means there is a leak. Use a sealant to close these gaps.
Look for gaps in the floor
If your house has floorboards, look for gaps between boards that could be letting the air escape. If you are handy, use a silicone sealer to close these cracks; alternatively, get a professional to insert floor insulation under the boards. Also look for gaps between the floor and the skirting board. Use sealant to close these gaps and minimise air loss.
Seal up your doors
Gaps between the door and the frame can also cause cold air to escape. Install draught excluders, which are strips of metal or foam rubber that can help block the escape of air. These are essential for exterior doors; however, if you want to control the temperature in specific parts of your home, you can use them on interior doors too. Draught excluders are relatively easy to install as a DIY project.
Get double glazed windows
Windows are a key source of heat transfer in your home. Unfortunately, regular glass windows offer very little insulation. Double glazed windows comprise of two panes of glass that are separated by gas, significantly improving the window’s insulation efficiency, and helping to keep the home at a comfortable temperature.
Insulate your ducts
Homes with ducted air conditioning systems will need to make sure that the ducts are also properly insulated. Failure to do so would result in significant amounts of cool or hot air leaking out before it gets to the vents. Seal the ducts prior to insulating them; the sealing can be done using mastic, a sealant that allows easy application.
The two most common types of insulation are duct wrap and fibreglass. Duct wrap tends to be more efficient, while fibreglass is easier to install and also helps to absorb noise. The insulation needs to be applied to the outside of the duct to help the air stay at its desired temperature.
Insulation will save you money
Implementing the above insulation tips will plug all the weak spots in your home and help save substantially on your electricity bill. Many of these solutions are low cost, while the more expensive ones tend to see a return on investment within a few years.