For most areas of the country, winter has arrived. Temperatures are plummeting, snowstorms are passing through, and we’re all trying to get as prepared as possible for the cold months ahead of us. We’re storing extra blankets, putting the heavy comforters on our beds, loading up on the hot cocoa mix, and pulling out the soup recipes.
Those things might help us to feel a bit more cozy during the cold months, but if our house isn’t prepared for the winter, there is no hope of keeping it warm. You need to make sure your house is able to keep the cold out, and to keep the heat in! If not you will have a winter spent with cold days and nights, not to mention extremely high heating bills.
To prepare your house for the winter cold, you will want to have your heating system checked to make sure it is working well. But that is not enough. You may have a great furnace or boiler system. But if your roof needs repair, or you don’t have enough insulation, you may not have a very comfortable season. The heat that escapes from your home mostly leaves through your roof. The rate at which heat leaves your home is called “heat loss.” If you perform basic maintenance and repair of your roof and HVAC systems, you will save money and be much warmer this winter.
Here are 5 ways to prevent heat loss through your roof:
The most obvious place to look for heat loss problems is your attic insulation. Chances are very good that you do not have enough of it. Each region is assigned a particular insulation “R-value,” which indicates the amount of insulation thickness you need to minimize the heat loss in your home. The higher the R-value of the insulation, the more able that insulation is to hold the temperatures in your home. Most areas require R-38, which is 10 to 14 inches of insulation. But again, this will depend specifically on where you live and the conditions that you live in. Obviously if you live in Arizona or California you won’t need as high an R-value as if you live in Alaska or North Dakota.
You can look up your region’s declared R-value to see what you should have in your home. But if you feel that your home hasn’t been able to keep the heat in during winters past, you might want to contact an insulation company to have them measure your R-value and tell you if you are in need of additional attic insulation. Gas and power companies in most states offer rebates for increasing the attic insulation in your home, so this project could cost you much less than you’d anticipate. In fact, this project can end up being free depending on where you live!
2. Air Leaks
The easiest way to stop heat loss in your home is to fix your air leaks. The attic and roof are a particular problem for air leaks. When you are examining your insulation in the above step, take note of any parts that appear wet or damaged. That is a sign of an air leak somewhere nearby. You will also want to check all your windows and doors, to see if they shut tightly. Shut off your ventilation system temporarily, and check around door and window frames with a lit candle. If the light flickers, you have a leak and you will want to fix it immediately.
3. Roof Repair
If you’ve spotted an air leak near your insulation, you need a solution. You may have a simple crack that can be easily sealed with caulking or weather stripping. Or, you may have a hole that will require the assistance of a professional. If your roof is old, talk to a roofing company about new materials that may help you maintain a better temperature in your home, as well as ensure your safety.
4. Chimney Care
A home fireplace can be an energy-efficient means to keep your home warm. However, if you are not careful, you can lose a lot of heat out the chimney, or risk dangerous exhaust entering your home. If you do not have glass doors on your fireplace, install them. Keep them open while the fire is burning to ensure an adequate supply of air to keep the fire going. Close them once the fire is out so that cold air does not creep in from the chimney. Schedule regular maintenance and cleaning for your chimney, to prevent buildup from clogging the ventilation system.
5. Ductwork Repair
Though it is not directly connected to your roof, your ductwork is intimately related to the heat loss that happens through your roof. Your roof and insulation may be in top shape. But if your ductwork is leaky, you may be losing up to 40 percent of your heated air through the leaks. Since hot air rises, that hot air will heat up your attic before it escapes to the outside, while the rest of your home is much colder and uncomfortable. Your local HVAC contractor can tell you how much energy you are wasting through faulty ductwork, and help ensure that the heat goes to your rooms, instead of out your roof.
As the flurries begin, you want to know that you will be safe and comfortable inside your home. If you keep your roof in good condition, you won’t waste money trying to stay warm. If you find that your roof, insulation, etc isn’t up to par to keep your home warm this winter, I recommend consulting with an attic insulation or roofing services company to help you make any improvements or adjustments your home needs.
Nicole is a blogger for the home improvement industry. She has years of experience helping homeowners make the most out of their homes. If your roof isn’t prepped for winter, she recommends contacting a roofing services company to help you make any adjustments your home needs.