Scene 3, Take 3…
Picture this: The National Weather Service has predicted the blizzard of the century (for any centenarians out there, a second century): high winds, plunging temperatures, tons of snow (sorry kids, Zoom school is in session… <cue evil music>).
But you are ready: a new storm coat direct from Siberia, long (heated) underwear, a racoon hat, and waterproof gloves. Let the storm come. As blizzard “Mendy” kicks into high gear, you and maybe some family members are just watching the snow fall, and you can imagine the cold blowing wind! Umm, wait. No. You can feel the cold wind - so much so that your wife’s sheitel and your toupee (fair is fair) are blowing away!
Trying to light Chanukah licht is impossible! A little sharp detective work determines that the windows, doors, and walls are the culprits. Cold air is pouring through the windows, doors, and walls?! How is that happening? Well, folks, the definitive word here is “insulation.” Without adequate insulation around our doors, windows, and walls, air can escape faster than Al Capone from prison.
In many cases, insulation is not given the highest priority with installation of new windows and doors. Over time, existing insulation deteriorates, particularity in attics.
Thankfully, it’s still fall, so we still have time to do a little maintenance to prevent or slow down this problem. A few suggestions:
1) Caulking found around the windows often dry out and crack. Remove the old caulking and replace with fresh caulking. For you savvy homeowners, it’s a straightforward task, and your better half will be kvelling!
2) Window insulation kits are a great and economical solution. These are simply strong, pliable plastic sheathing that will adhere to the inside frame of the inside window.
3) Door Sweeps are made to keep out cold, wind, and water, and are easy to install. Most have adhesive backing that attaches to the bottom of the door.
4) Wind and cold air penetrating through the walls are a tad more involved. That will require a professional to resolve. Solutions can range from “blow-in” foam between walls, to repointing the outside of your home. As homes age, the mortar joints (concrete) between the bricks tend to wear away. An experienced mason will “grout” out the old concrete and replace with new material, generally followed by a thorough cleaning and sealing of the brick or brick veneer. This will prevent rain, wind, and cold penetrating into your home for many years.
5) For those who have accessible attics, a roofing specialist can evaluate the condition of your insulation and determine solutions to improve or replace.
With all this discussion of sealing up the gaps and holes, it’s important to remember that houses still need to breathe; this is known as ventilation. When hiring an insulation professional, it’s always a great idea that to discuss ventilation as well. When purchasing a new home (or getting a reading on your home health), a licensed home inspector can identify the issues discussed in this article, among many other situations.