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New Home Tips: First Winter in Your New Home

Winter Maintenance Tips

As I write this article I'm looking out my office window at a very wintry scene. Snow covers the ground, the wind is gusting and there is a light snow falling. The trees behind my house are rocking in the wind (as are the streetlights). The temperature is about -5° but it feels like -25° with the wind chill factor. I'm very warm and comfortable in my new house, but in this weather not everything is perfect despite my best efforts to make it so.

As the wind howls outside (it is really loud as it whistles through the trees), I remind myself to check for any shingles on the ground or pieces of siding or eave trough. They sometimes blow off in extremely windy conditions, such as this, which means either the roof or exterior walls could be exposed to weather.

I notice my steel front door does not stay closed as well as it did in warmer weather. The extreme cold outside and warmth inside causes it to warp slightly. I ask everyone to take more care in making sure it's completely shut when they close it because it has blown open a couple of times.

The front bedroom of the house was built partially over the front porch, on the second floor. It is well insulated but has a large window and two attic access doors. These are areas where cold seems to come from in my home, especially if there is a strong east wind. For the few times this does happen, we keep the bedroom door open at night and run the furnace fan continuously to help circulate the heat.

Now that the furnace is running more often, I decided to check the filter. It was good that I did, as it was clogged quite badly with dust, so I replaced it to allow the furnace to work more efficiently (it is a good idea to check your furnace filter monthly). I have an H.R.V. (Heat Recovery Ventilation Unit) in my home, which exhausts humid household air and replaces it with dryer outside air. Condensation on the windows is not a problem with one of these. In my previous house we did not have an H.R.V. so we ran bathroom fans, kitchen fans and open doors and windows often during the heating season to keep the air fresh & drying in the house.

As I sit and watch TV by the window, I feel a cool draft. I used a good quality window and used foam insulation to seal the gaps around them, but on very cold nights I still feel the draft. My research has discovered that internal air currents rather than the outside air cause this "draft" from the outside. The windows of course are cold and the room air is warm. This causes a cold air current and is a normal occurrence.

I hope that the experiences that I have had while living in my own new home will help people understand situations which may arise in their own.