We will let you in on a little secret…
The biggest trick to staying cool in Summer and warm in Winter is filling the gaps in your house, so you control the airflow. Having efficient air-con and heating is great but to really receive prolonged benefits, a household needs to minimise the gaps.
Older houses have gaps because builders in the past were not aware of the problem and house movement over years and the opening of gaps around windows, cornices and shutting boards. The biggest culprits of leaking air are walls and underfloors, in particular polished floorboards. Secondary to that are the ceilings, doors and windows.
However, when minimising gaps, homeowners will benefit from looking at an overall approach to ensure the best results.
Traditionally walls have been the hardest part of the house to treat. In existing homes, blown in cavity wall insulation will give you the best coverage in all those nooks and crannies of the walls. It’s durable, fire-resistant, acts as a noise barrier and it is made with sustainable protocol. The install is non-evasive as it is all done from the outside, and can be installed to double brick, brick veneer and weatherboard homes.
If your house is on stumps then you are in luck to be able to retrofit some insulation under the floorboards which is proven to keep your toes warm in the Winter. This will significantly reduce the airflow that comes into and leaves the building. For added comfort a great option is to invest in some floor coverings in places of living, for example in the lounge room, under the office desk and chair, or under the bed to reduce airflow up into the mattress. Polished floor boards look great and are very functional but they have a tendency to expand and contract with weather resulting in unwanted transfers.
Ceiling cavities can contribute to significant heat loss of up to 45% of heat/cold through the ceiling cavity if not adequately serviced. Ceiling insulation batts and alternatively cellulose blow in insulation both serve as options to reduce the air transfer. Be sure to check that any insulation products installed in the ceiling are specific for that cavity and are placed correctly with minimal gap. An added product that can be installed in the ceilings are whirlybirds which encourage air flow and assist in keeping the cavity at a constant comfortable temperature. It may also be worth checking for gaps around downlights and fans if you have them.
A household can lose significant heat and cold air loss through gaps around the doors. The old door snakes for the base of doors prove to still be an efficient option in minimising the draft. It’s worth checking if the frame has gaps that can be tended to with silicon or alternatively a seal system can be fitting to the actual door so on closure the gaps are very minimal.
Windows are similar to doors in the way they lose heat/cold from around the frame but this air transfer can also occur through the glass if it is thin or of poor quality. Double glazed windows will set your savings back in the initial purchase, however, will provide great comfort and money savings in the long run to the homeowner.
No one solution is the key to keeping your house cool in the Summer and warm in the Winter. Each building needs to be approached with an overall solution in mind with the benefits for each mini-solution listed and understood before proceeding. The brilliant outcomes in reducing air transfer not only will increase comfort in the home but will also reduce your carbon footprint and will reduce your energy bills as air-con and heating will no longer have to be relied on, but instead will be part of an overall solution.
Enviroflex offers a range of “solutions for insulation” for houses and commercial buildings. They have been manufacturing, supplying and installing insulation in Australian homes, industrial and commercial projects for over 30 years. They have an extensive range of insulation products and services, as well as professional expertise to ensure they determine the best match between structure and insulation.
Enviroflex is a leader in the development, manufacture and installation of cellulose spray-applied thermal installation and acoustical treatments and can design and install to suit specific project requirements.
To discover more about this leading insulation company, visit enviroflex.com.au
Enviroflex will showcase their innovative insulation solutions at the Build & Renovating Expo from 4-6 July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
For more information, visit buildexpo.com.au
Image credit: Mackenzie Photography