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Protect Your Home from Winter Weather by Following These Tips | Golden Windows

If you are a resident of Ontario then you already know that we can experience extreme weather – from very hot in the summer to very cold in the winter. Many people, though, forget how these extreme weather conditions can affect their home, especially in the winter time.

Golden Windows takes pride in the products that we design, manufacture, sell, and install. We are committed to providing quality windows, skylights, and doors that are built to last even after repeated exposure to the elements. That being said, it’s still important to know how the winter can potentially damage your home (including your windows and doors) if they’re not properly maintained.

Inside Your Home

Let’s start by taking a look at what happens inside your home when the outside temperature drops. When it gets colder, most people begin to close up their home. Windows and doors are shut tightly and you might insulate your windows or use other weatherproofing products like weather stripping, caulking, spray foam, etc.

You might be surprised to learn that this creates a problem in the home where the interior air can become stagnant and moisture gets trapped inside. This condition worsens the more bodies there are (both people and pets) who are creating moisture by breathing, sweating, bathing, or cooking. Too much moisture can lead to a damp, humid environment that is perfect for the development of mould and mildew and can create steam on your windows and/or cause doors to stick.

But the opposite (too much dryness) can occur as well. Most people will also begin to activate their heating system around this time of year when it gets colder. This can cause your interior to become dry which in turn encourages the expansion and contraction of your home, potentially causing heaved floors, cracks in drywall, warped doors that won’t close properly, separating wood trim, and other issues.

Furnace humidifiers are designed to make up for this dry winter interior air produced by furnace heat, but sometimes people set them too high and then there is a problem with too much moisture. That’s why during the winter months it’s important that you maintain a perfect balance of moisture in the home where it won’t be too humid or too dry.

You can maintain the levels of moisture in your home by measuring its “relative humidity” with a hygrometer. Follow this guide when determining what level your relative humidity should be:

Relative-Humidity

Here are some tips for reducing interior moisture:

  • Identify culprits that produce humidity like indoor hot tubs, plants, showers, and cooking without lids. Either reduce use of them or make sure they are properly ventilated.
  • Make sure that your clothes dryer vents outside your home (not inside).
  • Refrain from drying firewood in the house as even a single cord can release more than 270 litres (60 gallons) of water.
  • Open the windows in your home for a short period of time to release moist, warm air and allow dry, cool air to get inside.

If your home is too dry, then this can be easily remedied with a humidifier – just make sure that you are using it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Indoor Air Quality

Another problem that we haven’t touched on yet about stagnant, unventilated air is that can harbour unpleasant odours and airborne particles like germs, dust, mites, microbes, etc. While proper ventilation can remedy this issue, it’s also important that you are habitually cleaning exhaust fans and filters in your bathrooms and kitchens, especially in winter because you spend more time inside.

You should also regularly clean out your dryer's filter and replace the furnace filter (ideally) once a month. This will ensure that it doesn’t get clogged and that unwanted particles aren’t continuing to circulate in your home.

Windows and Doors

Now it’s time to talk about the importance winter-proofing your windows and doors in order to help regulate interior temperatures and also protect them from getting damaged. For example, temperature fluctuations can cause caulking to pull away and create crevices in windows and doors that in turn lead to drafts.

Unchecked drafts will let warm air out and cold air in, meaning that you will be paying extra on your energy bills in order to heat your home. Reapply caulking if necessary in order to maintain a proper seal.

If your windows and doors are old, weren’t properly installed, or are of poor quality, then it might be time to get them replaced. Golden Windows designs, manufactures, and installs quality windows and entry systems that are built to last in Canadian winters. All of our products are energy-efficient and are made with sealing systems that will prevent air and water leakage.

Winter-Home

Condensation

One of the biggest concerns our customers have is often to do with condensation. For windows, doors, and skylights, condensation can be found:

  • On glass
  • On frames and sashes
  • Near weather seals
  • On walls around a skylight
  • Between glass panes if the seal is broken

Condensation is a natural occurrence that happens when moisture in the air comes into contact with a cool surface and turns into water droplets or frost. It occurs on cold surfaces when the following three conditions happen at the same time:

  1. There is too much moisture in the air.
  2. There is inadequate ventilation in the home.
  3. There are cold surfaces upon which moisture in the air can condense.

Condensation around your windows and doors can lead to mould development, rotting, or seal failures, which is why steps should be taken to remedy it. As we already touched upon, moisture is continually being released inside every home and should be properly regulated and ventilated.

Cold surfaces can occur in your home when:

  • There is an insufficient amount of heat in various areas of the home (i.e., if floor vents or baseboard heaters blocked by furniture, spare bedroom heat blocked off if the room is not used regularly, or an unheated basement)
  • There are sudden and large variances in temperature (i.e., thermostat setbacks, uneven heat distribution from use of woodstoves, unheated or poorly heated rooms)
  • There is poor air circulation due to furnishings such as beds against exterior walls
  • You have older, leaky windows that get cold, or have single-pane windows that are in direct contact with outside cold air

By ensuring that all areas of your home remain heated, and by installing energy-efficient windows and doors that are designed to reduce heat loss (like double- or triple-pane windows), you can significantly reduce the risk of condensation.

Pipes

When thinking about winter home maintenance, one of the biggest concerns homeowners have is in regards to freezing pipes. Frozen pipes that burst will either leak or flood and can cause some serious water damage. The ones that border an exterior wall are most at risk, so before the cold weather hits it’s important to ensure that they are properly insulated.

Winter-Pipes

Here are some tips you can use to reduce the chances of your pipes freezing:

  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses, outside faucets, and sprinkler systems.
  • Close or cover foundation vents as well as basement windows.
  • Keep garage doors closed.
  • Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) with foam pipe insulation.

Also, it’s important that you always know where your water shut off valve is in the event that you need to use it.

Sump Pump

Freezing temperatures can cause blockages in the sump pump pipe that forces water back into the house. This can lead to leaks, mould, mildew, and an increase of warm, moist air in your home. To prevent this from happening, you can do things like remove the discharge hose during the winter and also make sure that your basement is properly heated.

Basement and/or Attic

Speaking of basements, both it and your attic don’t really have proper heat sources, leaving them cold and susceptible to the formation of condensation. As already discussed, condensation can lead to mildew and mould, but it can also result in damp insulation, deteriorating wood frames, and can encourage infestation, as well as other issues.

This is why both areas need to be properly sealed and vents closed off. If this is done properly, then temperatures should remain high enough to avoid any issues.

You also need to be concerned about melting ice and snow that can seep into your basement through cracks. The best way to prevent these types of issues is to maintain your sump pump and clear drain clogs before a snowstorm. Also ensure that any pipes running through a crawl space are properly insulated because they can be susceptible to freezing.

The Roof

Next, let’s discuss what can happen on the outside of our home. When heavy, wet snow begins to accumulate on your roof, there can be a large amount of pressure. While gravity tends to take care of this, if the conditions are right and there is a lot of ice, the roof may not clear up on its own.

Look out for signs that the weight of the snow is compromising your roof like visible sagging, ceiling leaks, cracks in the interior drywall, and/or creaking or popping sounds coming from the roof.

Instead of removing the snow yourself, consider hiring a professional snow removal company to take care of it for you. They can do it safely and properly.

Winter-Gutters

Gutters and Eavestroughs

If ice and snow build up in blocked gutters and eavestroughs you end up with ice dams that will prevent the water from draining away from your home properly. That’s why it’s important to clear them of debris before winter arrives. Keep an eye on them during freezing temperatures to check if there are any blockages. If ice dams do form you can clear them by applying a de-icing agent or stringing a heated gutter cable to melt the ice.

It’s also important to make sure that your downspouts are pointed away from your home. Otherwise, water flow can erode the ground near your foundation and create depressions where water collects. If left unchecked, water near the foundation can eventually make its way into your basement.

Electrical

Do you have any outside outlets or wiring set up? Damage to outdoor electric systems is a possible fire hazard. To prevent this, do an inspection of the outside of your home specifically looking for damaged or frayed wires that could be vulnerable to snow, ice, and water.

Trees

Major ice storms or heavy snowfall can accumulate on the tree limbs in your yard, causing branches to break off. Be careful that they don’t go crashing onto your roof or through your windows, and also check that they don’t hit any power lines.

To avoid this problem, trim and prune your trees while the weather is good before a storm hits. Look out for dead or damaged branches that are susceptible to falling off under pressure. If you need to trim during unfavourable weather conditions, consider calling in a professional company to do the job for you – it might be unsafe to do it yourself.

Get Winter-Ready with Golden Windows

Hopefully these tips will help you identify potential problems that can occur to your house during harsh winter weather. If your windows or doors aren’t up to the task of protecting you from the cold, then it may be time to replace them.

Give us a call if you think it’s time to upgrade your windows and doors to more energy-efficient models. We can answer all of your questions about how newer units can help you regulate the temperature in your home and save money on your energy bills.

Since 1961, Golden Windows has been manufacturing premium quality doors and windows in Kitchener, Ontario for both builders and homeowners throughout Ontario and the USA. We are your one-stop shop for all your renovating needs: we design, manufacture, and install all our windows and doors. With Golden Windows, you are guaranteed the quality craftsmanship and professional service you deserve.

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Protect Your Home from Winter Weather by Following These Tips | Golden Windows

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2/14/2020 3:57:47 PM

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