November 30th, 2006 by Jeb Foster
Part Two in an Ongoing Series on Home Winterization
This morning I woke to find a layer of ice on the inside of every window in my house. I opened the front door to find a thoroughly frosted storm door. Again, the frozen water was on the inside. The thermometer read 8 degrees.
While no house is totally impervious to cold weather, mine isn’t even putting up a good fight. The thin, single-pane windows may as well be open. Cracks under doors welcome cold air and let warm air escape. The house is hemorrhaging heat.
Needless to say, I’ve got home winterization on the brain (and some work ahead of me). What about you? Is your house ready for winter?
Winterization is important on a number of levels. The two most basic reasons to fortify your house against cold temps and frozen water are to prevent damage and save money.
According to a figure from the Earthworks Group quoted in MSN Real Estate, “the average American home has leaks that amount to a nine-square-foot hole in the wall.”
Not only does this mean we’re paying to heat the outdoors (a costly effort), we’re also exposing pipes to freezing cold air and letting in moisture.
What to do? The answer is simple…kind of:
- Add insulation to thin areas
- Replace or add storm windows and doors
- Caulk or spray foam into outside cracks and openings
- Install gaskets on outside outlets
- Add weather stripping
- Remove your AC unit
- Make sure your dryer vent is free of lint and able to close
- Seal heating ducts
- Close curtains and shades at night
- Clean south-facing windows to maximize solar gain
This list looks overwhelming, I know. If there is one thing, however, that will go the farthest in preventing cold air from infiltrating your abode, it’s storm windows and doors. They will reduce the heat loss from these sources by half.
These sources were crucial in putting together the leak list and offer other helpful winterization tips:
Stay tuned for more tips. Next up: gutters and ducts.