By Nicole Lockwood and Amanda Gordon
Winter is coming.
This strong premonition that runs through the HBO hit TV show Game of Thrones is not lost on homeowners weary of the complications of properly insulating and heating their homes. But fear not, here are some tips on how to prepare for the upcoming chilly months and keep it winterproof.
Taking the necessary measures to properly insulate a home may at first seem like a tough task to tackle, but local hardware stores have plenty of advice to ease the process.
The first step is identification. It’s vital to know which areas of the home are the most susceptible to drafts and to check the entire home for any new cracks, holes or leaks that may become problematic in the future. Windows, doors and pipes are the areas that homeowners should focus on.
“If you live in your house long enough, you know where the cold spots are and you know where the hot spots are,” says Adam Novick, owner of Alper’s Hardware in Port Washington.
Before visiting the hardware store, it’s important to learn about the different kinds of products available and exactly what purpose they serve. Anthony Epifania, owner of Randy’s Hardware in Roslyn Heights, shared some of the most common quick fixes for minor problems.
An open hole or surface crack may seem like a difficult and costly problem, but there are variations of spray foams that could patch the problem right up.
Got a drafty window? Simply apply a window film to keep the cool air out and the heat in.
Walls in need of newer, more efficient insulation materials? Try cork insulation. Panels come in a variety of dimensions and thicknesses, suitable for the walls of any home.
Though double doors tend to be an effective buffer between the outdoors and the inside of the home, sometimes extreme changes in temperature can cause materials to expand and contract, letting cold air sneak in. For added protection, foam or rubber seals can be easily inserted underneath and can be removed whenever necessary.
“Proper installation of these things depends on the level of what needs to be done,” says Epifania. “Homeowners should do basic stuff whenever they can. Something in walls or internal may need professional help.”
Once aware of the areas of concern, the question becomes when to begin the actual insulation process. Many advise taking early precautions before that frosty winter air sets in.
“I would start as early as possible before winter hits,” says John Keffas, owner of Albertson Hardware. “As soon as you feel that first chill or first breeze through the window when fall starts.”
Not taking the necessary measures before the cold creeps up can create a mess. Some of the most frequently reported problems that have the potential to cause major damage include burst pipes and ice damming on roofs, which are completely avoidable with the proper materials.
“It’s much easier to put something up beforehand that will keep pipes from freezing as opposed to dealing with it after it has created a leak and a mess,” says Novick.
“A little preparation and prevention goes a long way to keep any disasters from happening.”
When shopping, most hardware stores are stocked with the essentials. According to Keffas, one of the most popular brands on the market is Frost King, whose products include complete easy-to-use kits.
“Things are more homeowner friendly now, so you don’t always need a professional,” says Keffas. “Most products run under $35 for the whole package.”
Spending a minimal amount of time and money is ideal, but there are circumstances when professional help is advised. Before making any major decisions, it’s always wise to consult with someone who’s knowledgeable about insulation products and techniques. Local hardware store owners are ready to assist with any questions or concerns.
So break out the jackets, adjust the thermostat and let the insulating projects begin.