DIY Green Energy For Homes

Time To Get Outside And Get Rid of Hidden Air Leaks

Have you taken stock of the exterior of your home recently?

You may be surprised and even shocked to find what you thought was a well sealed structure has developed cracks and gaps, even if the home is new.

All properties settle on their foundations over time and the effects of minor earthquakes, strong winds and subsidence after heavy rains can warp doors and windows and create gaps around roofing seals.

Starting with windows, look at metal framing that may have warped, wooden sashes that have cracked with weathering, and cracks and missing sections in the panes that may be letting heat escape.

Windows are the least structurally strong part of the home's exterior, and if badly fitting can release up to 30% of your heating through draughts. You can fix leaky buildings temporarily with waterproof tape or strip foam insulation, but a priority should be to replace these before the onset of the next winter.

To make this process even more energy efficient look at double glazing window panes on the weather side of the building, at least. Curtaining with thermal drapes will further seal the window area against draughts and save on winter heating costs as well.

Doors need looking at too as they are prone to warping and cracking. They may only need a simple tightening of the hinges if metal framed, or some basic DIY woodworking if catching at the top or bottom. Oiling or sanding and repainting after filling any cracks will improve the appearance of the door and prevent air leaks from any gaps.

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You may even consider replacing the key opening and parcel flaps with different locking systems for even more security, as well as a reduced potential for draughts.

If your home is older it may have had a fireplace that has been covered over inside but still vents to the outside. Unused chimneys are a funnel to the outside world for your new centrally heated rooms, and should be completely bricked up and the chimney sealed. Open vents will also invite unwelcome pests, and if aged can let in heavy rain and snow melt in winter.

Check the condition of older brick walls as well, particularly if they do not contain any form of cavity insulation. Air leaks from walls can contribute to 50% of the heat loss in a room and the remedy can be as simple as filling the cavity with foam, or as complex and costly as full wall paneling. Either way the savings in energy will repay the investment over time, and a sound house has a greater resale value!

Last but not least an inspection of the roof for missing tiles or shingles or even damage by branches during a winter gale may reveal small but important leaks through the top of the home. You may be able to see damage from an inside attic inspection, but getting a cherry picker and sharing the cost with neighbors will reveal any exterior damage within minutes. In any case your roof cavity should be insulated and vented with fittings such as a roof turbine to keep dry air circulating, and prevent the build up of mold in timber framing.

From the above list it is easy to see that a regular inspection should be part of your homes annual 'physical.'

In most cases, the repairs will be minor in cost but the savings in your utility bills for winter heating can be considerable.

Don't put this off for a rainy day as by then you may find it is too late!

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Did you know you can use the surplus energy generated by your phone line to power your home? Find out more here: