Many of you have probably read tons of articles about "easy" and "affordable" ways to winterize your home. The truth is that winterizing is very important not just for one winter but for every winter. Today, I'll give you some tips that will be much more effective than caulking the windows and weatherstripping the doors. Promise it won't be overly expensive, but these tips are necessary to ensure your home can stand up to the cold and snow.
First and foremost, here is a list of a few things that can go wrong or be a headache if a home is not ready for the chilling cold weather;
• High heating costs
• Failed heating systems
• Frozen plumbing and burst pipes
• Danger from compromised electrical systems
• Furnace-related carbon monoxide incidents
• Downed tree branches
• Snow-collapsed roofs
Warning! If your looking for tips that include caulking your windows or using weatherstrips than this blog is not for you! Why? Because doing this will reduce your total air leakage by a very small amount. Here is the truth. The bigger leaks are in your crawl space, basement and in your attic. So if you are looking for real tips that will last you more than one or two winters, please read on.
Identify your pain
Are you dreading getting those utility bills? Did something happen last winter that could have been prevented? Are there rooms in your home you can't use in the winter because they are just too cold? Is there a lot of condensation on your windows?
The first step is to identify your pain because that's where you'll find the motivation to do anything about the problems. It's also critical in identifying the sources of those problems.
Not everything is a DIY
A house is a system. If you don't understand how all the pieces work together, don't try to do too much yourself. There are a lot of DIY projects out there with a surplus of people turning to YouTube or Pinterest for advice or ideas, Don't get me wrong, I personally love Pinning things and watching videos, but consider this, a lot of DIYers with great intentions end up costing themselves more money or even poisoning their families because they don't understand the potential impacts of changes they make.
For example, did you know that if you have a natural draft water heater in the laundry room, sealing up that room could cause back drafting and put carbon monoxide into the air inside the home? I get the wanting to do things on your own,
changing the filter in your heating system or making other minor changes is probably OK, but if you're making significant changes, hire a pro. Consider getting a free estimate on how to winterized your home, get a list of things from the licensed professional and go from there.
Fix any disconnected ducts
This is not an uncommon failure in homes. When all or most of the heated air that's supposed to be going to a room is instead dumped into the attic, crawl space, or basement, you have a big opportunity to improve your comfort and cut your heating bills. If we get snow, you also might solve or reduce your ice accumulation problem.
Fix big leaks
Making sure there are no leaks in your plumbing should be a priority all together, but some homes are older and to fix every leak could end up being very expensive. Since I promised I would stay as budget friendly as possible, the next best thing is to fix the big leaks. At least for now. This is an issue that should be address at some point but if anything, fix the big ones! Inspect the access panels for the bathrooms and check your ceilings for any visible water accumulation. That's where the bigger holes tend to be and that's where the bigger pressure differences are. You'll stop a lot more air leakage by fixing them first. Again, get a licensed contractor to check for you if you are not sure.
Check the current insulation in your attic
The same amount of insulation in your attic can either drain your wallet and keep you cold, or save you money and keep you warm. It depends on how it's installed. Ideally, the insulation should provide a complete and uniform coverage. If it's lumpy, you'll have a lot more heat loss. If it is flat and consistent throughout, than you will have less heat loss and more coziness. Changing the lumpy old insulation in your attic for new and properly installed insulation will save a lot of $$ and last you for many many winters!
Condensation on Windows
Does condensation collect on your windows? If you have single pane windows, the glass will be very cold in winter. When the dew point of the air in your home is higher than the window temperature, your window becomes a dehumidifier.
One way to solve that problem is to put another surface between the window and the home's air. Plastic films have been around for decades to help with this. I've even seen some winterization articles suggest using bubble wrap. Really! I know you DIYers are excited about that! Honestly, bubble wrap wouldn't work for me in my home, I am addicted to popping it so it wouldn't last very long.
A great option that would last the longest would be to replace the windows. Basically using interior storm windows that make a nice snug seal in the window frame. They help prevent condensation as well as reduce heat loss through the windows.
Dodge Frozen Pipe Bursts with Winter Insulation
Single best way to prevent pipes from freezing is to seal up the house. Going back to proper insulation, patching holes and ensuring all ducts are connected. These are the number one things to do to ensure your pipes do not freeze. If your sure you have insulated properly but still worry about your pipes freezing you can allow your faucet to drip slightly. This releases any pressure that might build up.
You can also, apply electrical heating tape to pipes that are easily accessible This tape can be applied directly to the pipe.There are two types of heating tape. One type of heating tape turns on and off by itself when it senses heat is needed. The other type of heating tape needs to be plugged in when heat is needed and unplugged when not in use.**Much like a space heater, these products can be dangerous, so you must follow the product’s direction and safety procedures exactly.
I hope that this blog was able to shed some light on the things we do not always think of when we hear "Winterizing your home". I know that for many years I thought it was all just about the caulking and weatherstrips. Just to be frustrated when my gas and electric bills were through the roof, and don't get me started on frozen pipes. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid these headaches. Remember Infinity Home Remodeling offers free estimates every time. Thanks for reading!