How To Insulate Doors and Windows

Winter is in full swing, and with that comes the arrival of cold air. No matter how new or sealed your home might be, you’ve likely struggled with the nuisance of drafts throughout your house. These air leaks not only let the cold into your toasty interiors but can drive your energy costs up as your heater works itself tirelessly to combat the intrusion of cold air. There are, thankfully, a few steps you can take to prevent cold air from leaking in from the doors and windows.

Apply Insulation Film

Insulation film adheres directly to the glass of your windows. With this task, an extra layer of insulation is applied to help your home retain its warmth while blocking out the cold from outside. Window film is an excellent option if you are on a budget as it is relatively inexpensive to attain.
Though the concept is simple, a smooth application can sometimes be tricky, so do not be afraid to ask for help. As the insulation film adheres, you will use a hairdryer to suck out all the remaining air, making for an excellent, tight seal. This layer of plastic may alter the look of the glass; however, if you take the time to give all your windows this same treatment, the consistency will make it nearly undetectable.

Hang Window Treatments

Interior shades and curtains are not just decorative. They allow for controlled light filtration, which can be a major source of cool air and heat throughout the year. Having a shade that you can easily open and close means you can take advantage of the warmth of the sun when it is in the right position while shutting it out when it has shifted or gone down.

Window treatments provide another barrier for the cold air to have to push through. Consider both your interior window coverings, as well as exterior. Outdoor shutters or awnings can give you even greater control over filtration and air flow.

Use Sealing Tape

Sealing tape is a go-to option to plug air leaks coming through your windows. While it may seem worth it to seal every window, it is best to find the sources of cold air intrusion and address only the problem areas. Because the tape is an adhesive, it is essential to be mindful of overapplication to prevent damage to your windows.

To locate leaks, light a stick of incense and let it hover over the perimeter of the window. When the natural billow of the smoke is disrupted, it means you have got air coming through in that particular spot.

Redo Caulking

Caulk is commonly used to seal the seams left by the installation of any fixture; including windows. Like sealing tape, caulk prevents leaks by filling in the gaps. Caulk was most likely applied when your windows were initially installed, but over time, it can crack or fall off due to normal wear and tear. When this happens, it is a good idea to re-apply the sealant to stop both air and moisture leaks.

While caulk uses the same strategy as sealing tape, it is much more permanent and does not have the added risk of damaging your windows. Sealing tape, on the other hand, can be removed during the summertime, when you are less concerned about cold air getting into the house.

Add Door Snakes

When it comes to winterizing your doors, the simplest way to get the job done is with the addition of door snakes. Though it sounds highly technical, these handy tools are easy to make and extremely effective.

A door snake is a long tube of fabric that has been stuffed with a heavy filler material, such as rice or sand. The snake slides up against the crack at the bottom of your door to block out drafts. Because this is such an inexpensive solution, you can use these on both interior and exterior doors throughout your home. As air is coldest near the floor, it explains why this method is so effective.

New Window Installation

Install New Windows

You may not even realize how inefficient your current windows are until you decide to take a closer look. Cracks around the frame can be circulating unwanted air in and out of your home. This results in either a chilly room or a drastic jump in heating costs. Older, single-pane windows also do little to keep the cold from penetrating through the glass.

If you know that the windows have not been updated in years, it may be time to invest in this valuable upgrade. New windows can make a significant impact during the chilliest months, while also improving your energy efficiency and adding a significant return on investment down the road.

Expert Window Installation with All Exteriors

If you are looking for expert advice, or are ready for the new window installations that winter is calling for, contact the professionals at All Exteriors LLC. We sell top-of-the-line brands in a variety of styles and models and are committed to your home’s protection from the elements.

Get in touch today to help improve your New Richmond home!

A Simple Checklist for Winterizing Your Home

Winters in the Midwest can be brutal. With temperatures below zero, heavy snowfalls, and icy conditions, failing to winterize your home correctly can not only create higher heating costs but cause additional dangers as well. Below is our checklist to make sure your home, from proper window sealing to gutter cleaning, is prepared for the coming winter.

Why Should I Winterize My Home?

There are numerous reasons to winterize your home, varying from comfort to repair prevention. The following could happen if you fail to winterize your home:
● Higher heating bills
● Indoor flooding
● Roof collapse
● House fires
● Electricity loss
● Home insurance claims
● Carbon monoxide leaks

Improve Your Insulation

There are numerous places in your house where installing insulation will help keep you from feeling cold; causing you to stay warm and preventing unaffordable heating bills. One important place to focus on is your windows; especially if they are a single pane. Not only can windows let cold air in, but they can also leak the hot air out. Installing storm windows or sealing the leaks with weather-stripping or caulking may be a smart choice.

If you live in an older house, it is important to consider the other areas that let heat out. It is recommended to add insulation to the floor, walls, and basement, as well as annually check the attic as approximately 25% of heat is lost through the roof. Consider adding a layer of insulation to your attic to reduce this.

Inspect the Furnace

Your furnace is an important way to keep warm in an efficient manner. Be diligent in replacing the furnace filter; checking it every month and replacing it when necessary. Regular maintenance keeps your furnace running efficiently and longer while saving you money both short and long-term. Early autumn is the perfect time to inspect your furnace. For a reasonable price, you can hire an HVAC professional to inspect the system, identifying any issues.

Clear Out Your Gutters

Clearing out and cleaning your gutters may be at the back of your mind but doing so is very important. Choose a nice warm fall day to climb up and clear out debris such as leaves and twigs. If your gutters are rotting or leaking, you may need to replace them. If this is the case, consider adding K-Guard Gutters to your home to drain more water, limit leaf and debris build up, and corrosion. All Exterior’s K-Guard Leaf Free Seamless Gutter System is extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing.

If you do not clean your gutters, there can be severe consequences. A clogged gutter can cause ceilings, home siding, and even the house’s foundation to deteriorate.

Clean the Fireplace

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, inspect the chimney to see how much soot has accumulated. If it is dirty, get it professionally cleaned to prevent fires. It is also important to check to ensure the damper is working how it should, and that the screens and caps are in their proper positions.

Update Your Thermostat

If you have an older home, there is a chance the thermostat is outdated. An old thermostat can cause high electricity bills as the system is not as efficient as it should be. A programmable thermostat may be worth considering as it helps regulate the temperature at all hours of the day; even when you are not home. Regulated temperatures decrease utility bills, not only during winter but the hot days of summer as well.

Improve the Efficiency of Your Water Heater

A functioning water heater is especially valuable during the winter months. Unfortunately, sediment can gather at the floor of the heater which lessens its effectiveness. Over time it can even cause the water heater to stop working. Remove the particle buildup by flushing water through the drain valve.

Protect Your Plumbing

Having a pipe burst can lead to damaging effects. These include ruined flooring, carpeting, electricity, and furniture due to flooding. You can save thousands of dollars in repair and replacement by taking a couple of preventive steps. Check for leakage both inside and outside the home. Insulate any plumbing that is exposed, and if you have outdoor hoses, drain them and close their valves.

Safety Precautions

Along with taking the proper steps to winterize your home to prevent damage and reduce heating bills, it is essential to conduct a thorough safety inspection throughout your house. To properly inspect your home, it is vital to:

● Make sure any portable space heaters have automatic shut off
● Check carbon monoxide levels
● Ensure smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are working as they should
● Keep combustible items away from heat sources
● Do not leave space heaters unattended and do not use extension cords
● In case of a power outage and/or major storm, keep flashlights, blankets, non-perishable food and first-aid provisions inside and easily accessible

Winterize Your Home with All Exteriors

Many of the methods used to winterize your home are easy and cheap, if not free, to do. Any money you may have to spend is worth what you will save on repairs and utility bills. For a consultation to learn about our services and start improving your outdoor living space, contact All Exteriors today!

5 Ways to Prevent Drafty Windows and Stop the Cold

As the warm weather starts to die down, and the cold air of winter begins, homeowners start to find difficulty in preventing the cold from entering their homes. Frequently, this breach is caused by drafty windows. Like all parts of a house, windows age with time and replacements may be deemed necessary. In the meantime, however, there are several ways to help winterize windows and better reduce the effects of drafts.

Interior Design Solutions

Instead of addressing the drafty window itself, some homeowners opt for an interior design solution that helps block cold air from intruding too far into the home. One method is through the use of proper window treatments. Window treatments are easy to obtain and can be changed out according to the season. During warm months, simple window curtains can suffice. During the colder season, changing out lightweight window treatments for heavier drapery can help block cold air as it comes through the drafty window. For additional reinforcement and maximum benefits, choose specialized thermal drapes, double up on standard curtains, and/or use fasteners to draw drapes closer to the wall.

Window Caulking

The cause of drafty windows can often be tied to air leakage around the trim. Therefore, finding a way to block airflow around the trim or between the frame is a quick way to lessen the breach. Window caulking is an easy way to fill in these types of gaps. Though it is a simple way to winterize windows, it will need to be repeated over time. Ideally, non-toxic latex caulk created for indoor application should be used, however, for older windows, it may be necessary to scrape out old caulking and thoroughly clean the area before any new product is applied.

Seals and Weatherstripping

Whether the window is old and the seal has worn out, or it is a newer vinyl or aluminum model that has begun to leak, adding new weatherstripping can help with winterizing preparations. Various types of weatherstripping are available, each with its own positive and negative aspects. The amount of installation expertise needed varies depending upon the stripping chosen. Some common options include:

  • Felt stripping
  • V-strips or tension seals
  • Metal or vinyl stripping

Felt stripping is inexpensive and easily self-installed, but less efficient or durable than other options. Tension seals, or v-strips, are a type of plastic weather stripping that can fill in gaps by springing open. Metal, vinyl, or rubber stripping is commonly used as a weather stripping solution, due to the combination of effectiveness and cost.

Storm Windows

The use of storm windows for increased energy efficiency is a popular and moderately priced option for homeowners seeking to keep out the cold. Storm windows are a year-round solution and also help reflect heat in warmer months. Although not as effective as double-pane window installation, storm windows can significantly reduce air leakage and provide solar control. Storm windows vary in type, from thin plastic sheets or film to thicker glass products. Many products can be installed either on the exterior or interior of the window providing a versatile option for the owner.

Repair or Replace

In spite of attempts to seal out the cold, older windows or windows in disrepair can sometimes not be salvaged. Though replacement windows are an investment, they are an investment often recuperated through energy efficiency savings and resale value. If the usefulness or safety of a window is in question and attempts to repair any damage have been unsuccessful, contact All Exteriors, LLC. We will provide the necessary resources for your window replacement, making the decision-making process that much easier.

How To Prepare Old Windows For Winter

One of the best money-saving moves any homeowner can make when it comes to cutting costs in the winter time is to prepare all windows for the freezing temperatures to come. Sealing and weather-prepping your windows is a great way to cut heating costs as temperatures begin to drop. If a home is old, or the seals around the windows and interiors have not been updated/checked, contacting a professional is the first step to lowering the cost of bills. ― Many different methods can help prevent air leakage through windows.

While considering weathering windows, it is important to understand the external and internal methods for doing so to get a better idea of what treatment your windows may need. Caulking is the most well known and popular method for protecting windows from the outside. Any residue from previous caulk, dirt or grime is cleaned away and a new residue, usually made of sturdy but flexible material like silicone, is lined around the window’s perimeter instead.

When it comes to weather stripping, there are five popular methods to do so. Using a foam with an adhesive is a quick and temporary way to fix a draft in a window as it blocks any crack between the window and base when the window rests. Tubular gaskets are similar in the way that it blocks out air and keeps air in, except it is made from a tube that conforms to the shape of the window. V-Seals are also another great way to seal windows but may need some specified trimming and tools to fit it correctly for different window sizes. Felt is one of the oldest methods for protecting your windows. Attaching felt with an adhesive or finding adhesive felt can help pad any additional space between a window and the base for a quick fix.

With so many ways to protect a home from the onslaught of winter leaking in, it can be an easy and quick fix for professionals to help homeowners save on costs during the busiest season. Contacting a professional, experienced with not only sealing windows for winter but dealing with all interior and exterior home maintenance, ensures that your home is properly winterized for the oncoming cold. Contact the professionals at All Exteriors today to prepare your home today and save tomorrow.

Top 5 Tips For Keeping Up Your Lawn in The Winter

Preparing your lawn for winter weather can be easy when you follow our top-5 tips. This guide will help you prevent lawn damage and death, setting your home up for a much healthier, low-maintenance yard come springtime. There are several different steps and methods that a lawn-owner can take to ensure their greens are ready for the cold temperatures. Here are a few:

  1. Plan Early: There are many preparations lawn-owners can implement ― as early as summer ― to ensure the best outcome for their lawn in the winter. Having a plan for how to deal with the upcoming frost will yield the best results!
  2. Aerating and Fertilizing: This method is recommended at the beginning of fall, or before the first freeze occurs in your area. The aeration will break up any compaction from the summer months and let the grass breathe before going dormant. The grassroots will also absorb the fertilizer and store the nutrients during the winter.
  3. Cool Weather Grass-Seed: Grabbing seeds that come from grasses better accustomed to cold climates will help a lawn look less dismal when winter takes its toll. The seeds can be easily spread during the aerating/fertilizing process in the fall to help ensure an even, the non-clumpy spread of grass later.
  4. Mowing Techniques: The way that a lawn is mowed will also help its fortitude. It is best to begin by slowly lowering mower settings as it gets colder as it will help prevent shocking the lawn and ensuring that it keeps healthy. Some lawn-owners begin as early the beginning of fall to adjust the lawn to the lowering temperatures.
  5. Keeping a Clean Front Yard: Making sure a front yard is well maintained in general will also benefit the lawn outside. Pathways with ice invite guests (i.e., animals) to walk across a lawn, so keeping them salted will help steer traffic away from puncturing the frozen grass with their heavy feet. A lawn strewn with leaves can easily cause mold and disease, so can grass that is left too long in winter. General upkeep is significant to the health of a lawn; even in the winter.

Being a lawn-owner can take a lot of planning and responsibility as far as keeping it healthy and well-groomed. Preparing and knowing what to do when it comes to the colder seasons is all a part of being a successful and proactive lawn-owner. We know that maintaining the exterior of a home can be a lot of work, therefore, seeking the opinion and help of a professional is typically the best option. Contact All Exteriors for all lawn, home repair, and update needs!