Fast Facts About Winter Window & Insulation Projects
Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am. Have your most pressing home improvement quandaries addressed by calling or texting 651-461-9226. Here’s the must-know information our COO, Andy Lindus, shared on 1.8.22.
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that home window replacement oftentimes can take place in the winter. That’s because the rough opening is not exposed for very long. The exception to this rule is when subzero temperatures hit. When that happens new house windows should not be installed because foam and silicone will not adhere as they normally would. Quality house windows are also custom made for the spot they are being installed in, ensuring that there are no spaces where air infiltration could take place. Windows that come from lumberyards and big box stores only come in standard sizes, making them less likely to be a perfect fit for the rough opening they are installed in.
Some homeowners see condensation on their home’s windows and wrongfully assume that need to be replaced. In fact, in the winter months, window condensation can mean that a home’s humidity levels are too high. The lower the temperatures get, the more important it is to have lower levels of home humidity. In the winter months, it’s extremely important to run bath and exhaust fans to rid a home’s interior air of excess humidity.
Another critical component of home energy efficiency is insulation and ventilation. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that even on hot roofs, ventilation should be utilized. That’s because simply dense packing cellulose insulation will not create a high enough R-value and thermal break. However, in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin, the extreme temperatures prevent this from happening. In these types of homes, the best-case scenario is to seal off the attic so that no air from the rest of the home is escaping into the attic. From there, R-60 insulation with ventilation can be installed. The goal of an attic should be to have it be the same temperature inside and outside during the winter months. This will prevent snow from melting on the roof which can lead to ice dams. Only addressing a home’s insulation and not ventilation issues can do more harm than good. This is because a higher condensation rating is created which leads to attic mold and frost.
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Many homeowners often want to know the difference between cellulose and fiberglass insulation. It’s worth knowing that it takes more cellulose than fiberglass insulation to get the desired R-value within a home. However, cellulose insulation is manufactured with a fire retardant that also works well at warding off rodents. Another benefit to cellulose insulation is that it hardens over time, creating a crust. This crust makes it more difficult for air movement to take place. Cellulose and spray foam insulation used together often produce the best result.
Believe it or not, frost on a home’s walls can signal that the attic, not the wall, needs attention. This is because of the stack effect. When attic air sealing is lacking, a home can pull cold air down its walls as result of hot air rising to the attic. This is because as temperatures change, so does the air pressure within a home. It can be extremely difficult to insulate a home’s preexisting walls without creating a void. Voids can create additional problems. The best way to insulate an interior wall is to remove it completely or to address the issue during a siding project.
To decide the best method for creating a more comfortable and energy efficient home, seek out a reputable insulation contractor that utilizes diagnostic testing. Tools such as infrared imaging, smoke sticks, and blower doors can diagnose where a home is using and losing energy. From there, a contractor can create a custom plan made specifically for your home.
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