Cold weather brings the darndest problems for homes. Without proper insulation, the house will suffer from moisture buildup, which can lead to mold formation, can damage wood, and even result to higher energy costs.
We cannot control weather, but a homeowner can be proactive to its negative effects. If you live in an area where there is a drastic change in weather, year in and year out, then these tips will help you get through the cold weather with much more ease.
Problem 1: Cold Walls and Floors
Creeping cold on walls and floors can be frustrating. This may be caused by bad flooring materials, leak in the insulation, or poor air circulation.
- Take note that a tile flooring will always be colder than wood, but if you already have a tiled floor, you can use a carpet to retain more heat inside the home.
- Examine your doors and windows if they are properly shut and sealed. These may seem trivial, but sometimes this simple problem could be the main culprit of poor insulation.
- Replace weather stripping before the cold season kicks in. These should be replaced on a regular basis.
- Have a home inspector or an energy auditor search your home for insulation leaks. This may be causing cold walls and floors when the weather becomes cold. Finding and repairing the spot where there’s a leak will prevent heat from escaping your home.
Problem 2: Hot Spots on the Roof
If you’re seeing icicles forming at the sides of your gutters, then you probably have a hot spot on your roof. If neglected, aside from poor insulation, large icicles may fall and cause accidents. A hot spot occurs when your heating is not properly distributed. That causes a spot in your roof to be hotter than other areas. This heat can melt the snow which causes it to flow down your roof. The sub-freezing weather can freeze it again forming icicles. Hot spots can also clog up your gutters with frozen water causing it to collapse because of the heavy load.
- After a snowfall, check your roof for bare patches. Ideally, you should see a uniform, snow-covered roof, otherwise, bare patches could be a sign of hot spots.
- If you suspect hot spots on your roof, contact a roofing professional to conduct an inspection and repair.
Problem 3: Frozen Garage
Another problem homeowners encounter during cold weather season is a frozen garage. When your garage is not retaining heat, that’s a sign of poor insulation.
- One the reasons causing a frozen garage is a residential garage door with a low R-Value rating or insulation value. A garage door that has a high R-Value retains heat during cold season.
- To winterize your garage, opt for steel garage doors or carriage house garage doors. These types of doors have the highest R-Value rating and require minimal maintenance.
- Check the weather seal if it’s still intact. The seal may be broken and cracked over time letting cold air enter the garage.
Problem 4: Contaminated Insulation
A contaminated insulation can cause health issues if not urgently addressed like skin itchiness and respiratory problems. Some of the common causes of contamination are:
- Small animals like squirrels, bats, and birds will look for a warm spot during cold weather and may end up nesting in your roof, walls, or attic. Their feces and urine may contaminate your insulation causing serious health problems.
- A leaking roof can cause water to enter and contaminate your insulation. This may result to molds and may cause the material to rot.
- Insulation made from vermiculite, a silver-gold to gray-brown mineral, can also be the cause of contamination. While in itself it is not dangerous, some vermiculite insulation contains asbestos fibers which when become airborne, can cause health problems.
If your insulation has been contaminated, you can go the DIY route, but only to a certain extent. Before anything else, take note that there are companies and professionals that specialize in removing damaged and contaminated insulation. You need to investigate what has contaminated your insulation and then decide if you can deal with the issue yourself or not. Always put safety first before trying to save a few bucks.
- If you decide to fix the problem yourself, then you must take precautionary measures. Wear proper safety equipment like gloves, gas mask, coveralls, and safety goggles.
- If you find animals nesting in your insulation, call the animal or pest control.
- Insulation cannot be cleaned, it has to be replaced. Check your attic before the weather changes to make sure it’s not contaminated.
- Seal all cracks and holes to keep water leaks and animals from contaminating your insulation.
Problem 5: High Home-Heating Bills
Monthly energy bills tend to spike during winter because of heating costs. A damaged and broken insulation system will further increase your home-heating bills if not addressed promptly. Here are some tips to help you reduce your monthly energy bill caused by a defective insulation:
- Check your insulation every year, preferably before the cold weather arrives. Assess the situation of your insulating system, and if it needs maintenance or repair, consult a professional.
- Clean your filter every two months to make sure that your insulation airflow is working efficiently.
- Reduce heating costs by installing a programmable thermostat. This system will help you schedule and monitor heating in your home. It can automate the temperature depending on your preferences.
- Eliminate any leaks or holes in your home to keep the warm air from escaping.
- Dark colored curtains are also great in keeping the warmth inside the house.
- Minimize the use of kitchen exhaust fans because they suck out warm air as well.
- Close the doors of rooms you rarely use to maximize the distribution of heat.
- Use a space heater where you’re staying and keep the rest of your house chillier.
- Despite the freezing temperature outside, sunlight can still bring warmth to your home. During the day, open your windows to get free, natural heat.
- Consider replacing or upgrading your heating system. If you have an outdated heating system, you might want to get a newer one with the latest energy saving features.
You Can Brave the Weather
In summary, you need to have good indoor moisture control, adequate insulation, and proper sealing for a better, more efficient insulation. Regular maintenance and inspection helps to determine and address insulation problems right away. Brave the cold weather and make this season comfortable and toasty for you and your family.