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Diagnosing Cold Weather Home Issues

09 February 2019

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226 or texting 81807.  Here’s the must-know information our COO, Andy Lindus, shared on 2.9.19.

Unseasonably cold temperatures present homeowners with the ability to analyze how their house performs in extreme weather conditions.  Oftentimes issues that seem minor are amplified the lower the temperature becomes.  It’s imperative that homeowners understand the difference between long-term issues and those that manifest themselves in times of intense cold.

Window Condensation

Even the market’s best windows may experience condensation if shades are drawn and a home’s humidity levels are too high.  However, if you consistently notice condensation that forms in between the panes, it’s likely that the argon gas has escaped, making window replacement a necessity.

Watch Our Home Window Replacement Process: 

 Drafty Windows

Another sensation that even homeowners with energy efficient windows and doors can notice during extreme cold spells is the feeling of air cold movement.  When this happens on new windows, it’s often because the window’s glass is colder than the surrounding walls.  Radiant energy causes the home’s warm air to meet the cold pane and bounce back causing a draft-like feeling.  An additional potential cause is the stack effect which is air movement within the home’s walls, making your HVAC system work harder than normal, also pressurizing a house.

Water Spots on the Ceiling

Water spots on your ceiling spell trouble.  It’s vital that a reputable contractor takes the time to fully evaluate the issue.  In many cases, water spots are caused by inadequate air sealing and home moisture flow.  Anytime warm air in the home encounters a surface with a colder dew point than the rest of your home, condensation ensues.  If the temperature lowers enough, the condensation turns to frost.  Once air temperatures rise, the frost melts, creating ceiling condensation and discoloration.  Rookie contractors that address this situation by adding more insulation create a colder attic because of the increased thermal barrier without taking care of the air sealing issues.  The result is an attic that gets colder even faster.  Increased ventilation can bring in additional exterior air which also creates a colder attic, so any warm air that has risen from the home’s lower levels cools, creating condensation that will eventually melt.

Learn How Home Performance Testing is Conducted: 

The best way to know if any of the above issues you are noticing are problematic is to have diagnostic testing conducted by a reliable contractor.  A heat map analysis utilizing infrared imaging can show a homeowner what their attic’s R-value is and determine whether there are opportunities for additional attic insulation or air sealing to prevent ice dam formation.  Moisture levels can be also evaluated to understand if they are negatively impacting your home.    

Listen to the Entire Show Here: 

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