Homeowners have to live with higher power bills as energy production becomes more expensive. Power bills can be minimised by reducing energy consumption in the home. One way to do this is by weatherising the home, which can help achieve significant improvement in energy efficiency, and lower power bills for the homeowner.

Homeowners can also get ready for the heat of summer and the cold of winter by taking a good look around the house for problems that could be costing money.

Step 1: Find the leaks

Check for leaks in the building structure that could be wasting energy by allowing heating or cooling to escape, requiring the heater or air conditioner to be kept operational for longer. A simple way to locate the leak is to light an incense stick, a candle or anything that produces smoke over a long period of time. By running it along doors and windows during a windy day, one can locate the leak by observing whether the smoke has moved in some way.

Step 2: Plug the leaks

Once all the leaks in the house are located, plug them by simply caulking them. Choose the right caulking material at the local hardware store, remove any old caulking, dirt and debris from the area around the leak, and follow the instructions on the caulk product bottle to create a new seal.

Step 3: Weatherstrip external doors

Weatherstripping describes the process to better seal down doors. A task that can be easily performed by the home handyman, it involves using a variety of materials to line the interior of the doorways to prevent outside elements from getting into the house, and interior heating or cooling from escaping to the outside. Weatherstripping can help a typical home save at least a couple of hundred dollars on their power bill each year.

Step 4: Plug the big gaps

A garage attached to the house is often the source of bigger leaks. A garage is usually poorly insulated; therefore, it is important to seal any connections that it may have with the main house. Fireplaces that are not used regularly can be plugged using an inflatable plug. Even otherwise, if nothing is burning in the fireplace, close the damper tightly.

Step 5: Insulate the electrical outlets

Use foam insulation kits for both electrical outlets and wall plates to reduce drafts that can enter the home. This is especially important for walls exposed on the other side to the elements.

Bonus step for advanced handymen: Insulate the pipes

Home handymen can also insulate their plumbing pipes. Though this is a challenging task, it will help save significant money.

For high-heat areas (such as close to the water heaters), use fibreglass pipe wrap. Tubular pipe sticks, also available at the local hardware shop, can alternatively be used for the purpose. Caulk cracks and holes in foundations near water pipes. Regularly check any insulation installed to ensure it’s in good condition and fully covers the pipes.

All these steps for weatherising the home can be easily accomplished with off-the-shelf tools and equipment, resulting in a measurable and immediate saving to the power bill.

Projex Group distributes Wolfin, Cosmofin and Koster waterproofing systems in Australia and New Zealand.