More Tips to Keep Old Man Winter at Bay

Part 2: Exterior Edition

Cool Tips
Tips and Tricks from your HVAC experts

More Tips to Keep Old Man Winter at Bay

Part 2: Exterior Edition

Written by

HVAC

What Can Suter Do For You?

Can Suter stop Old Man Winter from dumping 2 feet of snow on your driveway?
Probably not.
Can we fix your remote start on the -30 degree day that it decides to stop working?
That’s not really our specialty either.
Can we help give you some cool tips on how to prepare your home for colder weather?


In this segment, our primary focus will be on the exterior of your home. We’ve had a warmer than average fall, but you’re going to want to get out there while you still can. We can recall the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. Trying to prep your home with 2 feet of snowfall in the way is zero fun.

TIP! Caulking and Weatherstripping

The typical American home has significant air leaks. When you add up all of the holes, gaps, and leaks it’s like having a window open every day of the year. Caulking and weatherstripping help keep the outside air out and the inside air in. This saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint.

Use caulk on stationary elements of your home like a door frame. Silicone caulk is best for exterior, because it is impervious to the elements. Weatherstripping should be used on operable, moving components like a window. For help choosing the right caulk or weatherstripping for your situation, Energy.gov has a helpful chart. They also have information on proper application.

Window Caulking Photo | Photo by energy.gov, ©iStockphoto.com/BanksPhotos.

You probably know where the obvious leaks are in your home. The less obvious gaps need to be addressed to properly seal your entire house. Contact one of our qualified HVAC technicians to perform a home energy audit, particularly a blower door test. By depressurizing the home, our technician is able to detect the location of all leaks.

TIP! Busting Ice Dams

If your home had a lot of icicles or ice dams last year, there’s a good chance that you have a combination of air leaks, an improperly insulated attic, or poor ventilation. Ice dams cause water to leak into your house which can cost you dearly. If there are easily visible signs, the damage may be far worse. Some signs of damage include:
Water stained ceilings
Peeling paint
Damaged plaster
Dislodged roof shingles
Sagging, ice filled gutters
Some not so obvious signs include rotting wall cavities, corroded metal fasteners, and mold and mildew.

The main reason ice dams occur is because the upper roof surface is at an above freezing temperature while the lower roof surface is at a below freezing temperature. The heat melts the snow and then the cold refreezes the melted snow into ice. There are some steps that you can take to bust those dams.

1. Air leaks

Air leaks can be detected by one of our HVAC experts, or if you’re feeling ambitious, you may be able to find some of the leaks yourself by performing a pressurization test. Some common areas that leakage occurs include:
Bathroom exhaust fans
Plumbing penetrations
Wire penetrations
Attic hatches
Ceiling light fixtures
Chimneys
Intersection of interior partitions and ceiling

2. Insulation

You want to make sure that your insulation’s R-Value is R38 or above. The fiberglass or cellulose insulation needs to be about 12 inches deep and consistently deep.

3. Ventilation

A soffit to ridge ventilation system circulates cold air under the entire roof. This kind of even temperature prevents ice dams. Baffles need to be installed to protect the insulation from the air that flows through the soffit vents.

Clean your gutters or hire someone else to do the dirty work. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up – potentially damaging siding, roofing, and trim. They may also cause leaks and ice dams.

Have any suggestions for preparing the exterior of your home for winter? If so, let us know by using the hashtag #cooltips on Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you.

Written by

HVAC

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