Winter is Coming! And with it comes the Damage and Energy-Waste Caused by Cold Weather. Here are some Tips for Preparing Your Home for the Cold Weather & Protecting it from Harsh Winter Elements
Prepare for the Cold & Winterize Your Home with these Tips: Stop Cold Winter Weather from Causing Costly Damage & Energy Waste
Prevent Ice Dams & Other Frozen Water Problems
Ice dams can cause extensive damage to a home. They are difficult to get rid of but they can be prevented. When gutters aren’t cleaned out, water accumulates and freezes. This causes massive ice dams, which lead to improper drainage. Melting snow causes water to get behind your home’s siding. This can cause a number of problems, including damage to drywall, insulation, framing and more. Here are some quick tips to prevent against ice dams:
- Make Sure Your Gutters are Clean: Remove leafs and other debris before the temperature drops below freezing.
- Drain Water out of Hoses and Pipes: Drain all the water out of your hoses and make sure you shut off the exterior water valves. Water left in hoses and pipes will freeze and expand and cause damage. It’s an easy way to prevent damage that is not so easy to fix.
- Insulation: Ideally, you want your home well-insulated everywhere. This can be a huge project, but for now just focus on the attic. Making sure your attic floor is properly insulated helps keep warm air in your home and keeps your attic temperature low. The colder you attic is, the less the snow on your roof will melt and refreeze. This can help minimize the chance of ice dams.
Ice Dam Anatomy: Inadequate Insulation Causes Constant Melting & Refreezing
The above ice dam image is courtesy of DIYadvice.com – Click here for more helpful DIY Tips
Energy Star has a comprehensive guide on energy-efficiency. According to them, “the average household spends $2,200 on energy bills, with nearly half of this going to heating and cooling costs”. It’s very easy (and commonplace) to waste money on your utility bills due to leaky windows and doors. Secondly, a programmable thermostat, when used correctly, “can save you about $180 every year in energy costs”. Here are some tips for keeping the cold out and the heat in your home this winter:
- Caulk around Windows & Doors: If you had your home painted by a professional contractor you may be quick to assume that this has been taken care of. The sad truth is that not all painting contractors are created equal, and some of them cut corners to save costs. Use an acrylic, siliconized caulk around the exterior of your windows and doors to seal those leaks. We recommend hiring a professional for this: it’s not as easy as it sounds, and using a ladder to reach high windows can be dangerous. Safety first!
- Programmable Thermostat: Make sure the thermostat is installed away from heating/cooling registers, lighting, skylights, windows, etc. that receive direct sunlight or drafts as this can affect temperature readings. Interior walls are the best place for the thermostat to be installed. Keep it set at an energy-saving temperature during long periods of time when the home is empty (e.g. during the day when you’re at work, when you go on vacation, etc.)
- Sealing Air Ducts: Energy Star says that about 20% of the air that moves through the ducts in your home is wasted from leaks, holes, etc. Not all ducts are easily accessible, but many are – and sealing them is easy! Check out crawl-spaces, basements, attics, etc. and see what you can find. Use mastic sealant or metal (foil) tape to wrap improperly connected ducts and close up cracks/holes/seams that can lead to leaks. Also make sure the connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet the floors/walls/ceilings. These are common places to find leaks.
- For a full-inspection, hire a qualified HVAC contractor. He/she will check and fix everything: the supply and return balance, the ducts that are hard to reach, undersized, crushed or otherwise damaged.
Check out these energy-saving home improvement and maintenance ideas.
CraftPro Can Help You Prepare Your Home For the Cold Weather
I’m Richard D’Angelo, CraftPro’s founding owner-operator. You can get a hold of me by filling out our contact form (click here) or by calling/texting me at 973-610-8763. We can schedule a free estimate and I can take a look at your home to find where you may have cold air leaks, areas that are subject to ice dams, etc. Let’s winterize your home!