Cover The Bases With Insulation And Other Cold Weather Protection
The winter of 2014 is proving to be one of the fiercest in several years. Meteorologists seem to have even coined a new phrase “polar vortex” for these endless cold fronts that are keeping the deep freeze on all the way to the deep south. Regardless of the term, they are just pain cold and this kind of weather requires homeowners to take extra steps to protect against property damage. Here are some tips compiled from many sources and recommendations from CIMA:
• The recent frequency of sub-freezing temperatures puts great stress on a home. It’s important to winterize a home on an annual basis. It’s essential that any exterior hose connections are shut off and that gutters are cleaned of any debris.
• Making sure your home is up to date with proper insulation is one of the most important considerations when
weatherizing a home. Improper insulation can be a problem starter across the board. Many winter home hazards begin with inferior insulation. Cellulose insulation is shown to retain it’s insulating properties better than fiberglass at lower temperatures, which keeps your home safer and your bills lower.
• If gutters are not cleaned properly the risk of ice damming is high. Ice damming occurs when snow can’t properly run-off a roof and freezes in a gutter. This is known as “ice damming” and if too much ice forms the gutters can fail and collapse.
• Gutters are not the only places where ice damming can begin. Ice damming can also occur on roofs, if improper insulation allows hot air to enter the attic causing snow melts and frozen water. Inspect attic insulation and add or upgrade if below the DOE recommended R-Value for your region.
• Raking a roof of snow is another way to prevent ice from forming, but it’s a very dangerous process. CIMA strongly recommends property owners hire a professional trained in this work. They can be found typically through online searches.
• Again, the best solution of all to stop the ice from forming on the roof is with proper attic insulation and as noted above cellulose insulation is one of the best performing products at extreme cold temperatures.
• Frozen pipes are of great concern during extreme cold fronts. The most common cause of pipes freezing in northern climates is improper wall insulation. Many older homes (estimated in the millions by the DOE) have low or no cavity wall insulation. As temperatures plunge well below freezing, and stay there for extended periods, pipes can freeze resulting in major damage. Cellulose insulation is the preferred product for retrofitting insulation in cavity walls of older homes.
• If pipes do freeze, they could be at risk of bursting. Make sure you’re aware of the water shut-off location.
• In southern climates many older homes have crawl spaces with exposed water pipes. The extreme cold fronts hitting the deep south this season can be a major problem for such homeowners. Repairing weathers or adding new pipe insulation is a small investment compared to repairing or replacing pipes. This can be a DIY job but CIMA recommends hiring a professional to ensure the highest level of protection.
• To calculate how much you could be saving by just adding cellulose insulation to your home, check out our savings calculator. It’s a sure bet that this winter the savings would likely be even higher!