Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Keeping the Cold Out and Keeping Your Home Warm!

There are many ways to improve your home's warmth and help keep your house healthy. When your home is breathing in cold air it runs the risk of meeting the warm air and producing condensation, which then can become mold. You definitely want to avoid that, so let take a walk around your home and check for potential cold spots. 

At the Front Door
When you first enter your home, look for damaged weather seals around the door and cracks in the caulking where the exterior finish meets the door frame. You may also want to check to make sure the seal in the glass is ok. If it is broken, there will be a hazy look and/or moisture in between the glass panes.

Other Windows and Doors
As you proceed through your home, look at all your windows and doors. One way to detect a leak is to hold a candle to the window or door. If the flame dances, chances are that air is coming in. Keeping your curtains closed at night we help keep the cold out too. Doing so traps the cold air in between the window and the curtain, not letting it cool off the rest of the room. However it is monumental that you open them up during the day and let the air flow in. This will help dry out any condensation that accumulated through the night. If you don't give the moisture a chance to dry, you risk developing mold on the windows and that is not what you want. 

Bathrooms and Laundry Room
If possible, check the vent fan and dryer vent to make sure they are insulated. They are taking warm air out of your home. At some point, the warm air will meet colder air. The farther out the better. Ensure that you have a good seal around the vent when it goes out of the wall. If you don't, cold air can enter around it.  

Basement and/or Crawlspace
In the lower areas of your home, check all the headers. This is where the floor joists and wall meet. If insulated, there should be at least R22 and a vapour barrier around the insulation. Do the walls have insulation? If you only see bare block or concrete, the cold is definitely coming in. You'll be able to feel it if you put your hand on the block. There are a number of ways to insulate a basement wall, but that is another topic. One more thing to check for is water lines. They bring in cold water. Pipe wrap will help you warm the pipe as quickly as you can.

First, look for lots of insulation around and on top of the access hatch. It should have the same amount of insulation as the rest of the attic. In the attic itself, check to see how much you have. If there is only one baton of R12, it would be a very good idea to top it up or you are losing a lot of heat there. Also, check any pipes or vents or anything that comes up through the ceiling to make sure they are well sealed. It is amazing how small a hole will allow a large amount of cold air in.
Also, have a look at the interior outlets and light fixtures, basically anything on an outside wall.  Feel around to see if there is cold air coming in. Put your hand up against the outlet and on the wall around it. If you feel a difference in temperature, there is cold air coming in. It might not be practical to rip off the drywall and re-insulate but you could buy an insulating pad to go behind the outlet cover. 

House Exterior
Outside, you'll want to ensure the caulking around each door and window is in good shape and free from gaps or cracks. This will keep the water and cold air out. Also make sure anything that sticks out of the wall or roof is well sealed. Ensure that your exterior finishes, such as siding or brick, have no cracks or gaps. 

These are just a few things to keep in mind when keeping out the cold. There are many other things that your can do to increase your home's effectiveness. For more information about preparing your home for winter, feel free to call me or email me. Always glad to help when I can. 
Have a great day!