Protecting your Home for Winter

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Protecting your Home for Winter

The welcoming of winter can be such a magical time.  With holiday decorations going up and string lights adorning our homes and our towns, the winter season can turn the every-day into a time of wonder and excitement.

As we get closer to the Holidays, we can also count on the temperature getting a lot cooler with the season of winter settling in.  During the winter, we tend to spend more time indoors so it’s important to make our home as comfortable, and as weatherproof, as we can.  Here’s a few of our favorite products which you can find at your local hardware store that have helped us battle the cold drafts of winter:

Outlet and Wall Plate Insulation
Drafts have a way of sneaking into our homes through the most inconspicuous of places.  As we walked around our own home a couple of winters ago, we felt the chill coming through the electrical outlets and wall switches on exterior facing walls.  During a trip to the hardware store, we found device covers that reduce heat loss by sealing the outlet and help prevent drafts coming in through the electrical switches on exterior facing walls.  They’re very simple to install behind outlet or wall plate covers—just unscrew your outlet cover, place the insulating pad over the switch or outlet device and then screw the cover plate back on. The pads come pre-cut to the type and shape of the outlet or wall plate cover, allowing for fast and easy installation.  They are also UL Listed and constructed of fire-retardant plastic.  Here’s a link to get you started on product comparison:  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King-Foam-Electrical-Outlet-and-Wall-Plate-Insulating-Kit-OS12H/100184290?keyword=electrical+outlet+insulation

Lakefront Homes covered with SnowDealing with Cracks
Every once in a while, we come across a few cracks and need an easy and fast way of filling them.  Especially during the winter months, it’s essential that gaps are insulated to prevent cold drafts from coming in and heat from escaping easily from our house.  To help battle drafts, we’ve used foam insulation to help prevent incoming drafts around door and window frames as well as cracks and holes left behind by the removal of a surface finish.  We’ve also used foam insulation behind moldings to fill seams and around the outlet and light switch boxes located on exterior walls.  Foam insulation is great because it expands to fill a gap and once it dries, it can be trimmed and made flush with the surrounding surfaces (so don’t panic when you see excess material bulging and hardening during the drying process).  There are many interior and exterior rated foam types available, so look at the product specs, or ask your hardware store specialist, to help you determine the best product for your application.  To use, spray the foam through the straw included with the spray can.  The foam will expand and dry to fill the gaps, helping keep the outside cold air out.  As you are spraying, work slowly through the areas because the process can get messy as the foam is in a more fluid state (hint:  keep a paper towel nearby for quick clean-ups.  It may be a good idea to cover the floor directly under the area where you’re spraying for easier clean-ups).  Once you are done spraying, let the foam dry thoroughly (check drying time recommendations on the spray can), and trim down to provide an even surface as desired.  Here’s a link to help you get started on your search:  http://www.homedepot.com/s/great+stuff+foam?NCNI-5

For additional insulation throughout the home try these few tips:

  • Place self-stick plastic door sweeps under your doors to block incoming drafts at your entry doors.
  • Place draft guards in front of a door or a window to block cold drafts and help your home save energy. Look for fleece or fabric draft guards that are lined with sand to help make them stay in place and insulate your home against cold drafts.
  • Apply rubber foam tape or waterproof, weather resistant vinyl foam tape, around your windows or doors.
  • Insulate your windows by applying plastic sheets on the inside of your home. Look for products featuring crystal-clear plastic.  The folded sheet can be cut to size to fit a variety of window shapes and sizes.  The plastic sheet is traditionally applied by placing double-sided tape (included with the insulation kit,) continually on the surface around the window.  The plastic sheet is then placed on the tape to be fixed securely in place.  Then, with a hand held hair drier, hot air is slowly blown over the entire surface of the plastic.  This causes the plastic to shrink tight, crystal clear and wrinkle-free (it’s quite an amazing process to watch the plastic undergo this process!)

For more ideas on weather sealing kits, try this:  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King-Complete-Energy-Savings-Kit-WK2/203474351

Have fun implementing energy-saving initiatives in your home this season!*

If you are struggling this season and need help paying your energy bills or with implementing energy-saving strategies for your home, check out these resources:  http://www.njcleanenergy.com/residential/programs/comfort-partners/comfort-partners https://nj.pseg.com/saveenergyandmoney/gethelppayingyourbill/strugglingtopay https://nj.pseg.com/saveenergyandmoney/gethelppayingyourbill/additionalresources

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*The information included in this article is for reference only and energy-savings are not guaranteed.  Results will vary for each location.  Consult construction professionals for serious cracks in your home as they can be a sign of structural damage.  As with any kind of installation or project, use caution when handling new materials or tools, as well as when working on or in proximity to electrical equipment and devices.  Consult a construction professional to assess your home and provide customized energy-saving strategies for your home or location.  The Home Depot is in no way sponsoring this article, we are providing links to their site for reference only.  We also encourage you to support your local small businesses by purchasing materials at their local storefront locations.

Modern Ornament at The Shoppes at 615 Mall
615 S Livingston Ave
Livingston, NJ 07039
(Enter through East Hobart Gap Road)
(973) 436-0791
www.modernornament.store
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