Prep for the Cold with Expert Advice from Cathy Davis, Owner of Bartlett Brainard Products
September is a great time to start working on home improvement projects and to get your house ready for the winter season. From making sure your gutters are cleaned properly, to confirming your attic is adequately insulated, there is a lot to check off the list before the cold weather sets in. We spoke with Cathy Davis, owner of Barlett Brainard products, about her tips for preparing your home for the cooler weather that’s right around the corner.
1. Clean Your Gutters
Hire a service to clean your gutters or do it yourself. Make sure you do it late enough in the season but before the first frost, late October tends to be the best time. A little trick to see if your downspout is clogged is to go up on a ladder and throw a quarter or a nickel down the downspout. This will tell you if the downspout is clear or not. Make sure to remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks by running a hose down the gutters or hiring a professional.
2. Check Your Storm Windows & Doors
These days, a lot of people have replacement windows with insulated glass. But older homes, especially here in West Hartford, tend to still have Triple Track storm windows on the outside of their wood window. When in a rush to bring down the glass for the Fall, people tend to grab the wrong insert. If any of the three pieces end up in a different position, they can not only leak air but leak water right into your home. Remember the outer track should be up, the inner track should be down, and the screen usually raised up.
3. Check Your Attic
Check your attic for proper insulation and ventilation to prevent ice dams. An ice dam forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. This is a really common scenario in New England.
The best ventilation is in low and out high. This means, in through a soffit vent or inflow vent located near the floor of the attic, and then sucked out by a properly installed ridge vent located the roof. This airflow helps to prevent the ice dams.
To have that proper airflow, you really need the proper insulation. While most homes have R-19 insulation, which is about six inches thick, insulation standards for the northeast are a minimum of R-49, which is 18-20 inches thick. Experts recommend an R-60. With that being said, it is crucial to check your insulation and protect your roof.
4. Have Your Furnace Cleaned and Inspected
Hire a furnace or HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the air filter. Get your appointment squared away as soon as possible and try not to wait until the last minute.
5. Check Your Weather Strip Below Doors
On the storm door and the front house door, there is usually a strip that helps prevent drafts. Sometimes those get pulled away by ice, or are old and do not work properly. It’s important to make sure the strip is in good condition and if not, replace or seal it.
Bartlett Brainard Products is a family-owned and operated Connecticut contractor, dedicated to its client’s needs and providing top quality service. Learn more about Bartlett Brainard Products at https://bartlettbrainard.com/.
For more expert tips and advice for getting your home ready for the fall and winter check out our “Ask An Expert We Ha” Facebook page and get answers from true, local, professionals.