Home Winterizing Checklist; Get Set with Winter Prep!

winter banner

Preparing your home for winter can be a race against the clock. If you get started now, you will have it made in the shade when winter weather makes its way into your neighborhood. Here are some tips to get your home WINTER CLAD!

Heating System Checklist

Test Run:
Turn the thermostat to heat mode and set it to 80 degrees just for testing. You should hear the furnace turn on and warm air should blow within a few minutes. If it’s running OK, turn the thermostat back to its normal setting. If it’s not running properly, you may need a qualified service technician.

Replace the Air Filter:
Put in a new clean air filter. Most filters can just slide right out. Check with your manufacturer if you are unsure of how to replace.

Fuel:
If you have a propane or oil furnace, make sure to have your fuel storage tank topped off and ready to go.

Heating Vents:
Clear obstacles to heating vents so air can freely flow. Make sure any caked-on dust gets removed with a vacuum brush attachment.

Check for Carbon Monoxide Leaks:
This silent killer can easily be detected with either an inexpensive test badge or battery operated alarm. Whichever way you decide, just please decide to protect your family with one of these units.

Don’t forget the exterior air-conditioner’s condenser unit. Easy prep can save you major buckage!

Clean Condensing Unit of Debris:
Take a hose with the spray head set to “jet” or the highest pressure you have and clean the fan blades and condensing coils of clear of debris and dirt.

Cover Condensing Unit:
Left unprotected the condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris that contribute to rusting and freezing of internal components. Although these units are designed for outdoor use, covering them with a breathable waterproof cover made for that purpose goes a long way to extending the life and performance of the unit. For window units, remove and store for winter if possible. If this isn’t an option; close the vents and make sure to get an air conditioning cover similar to condensing unit cover described above.

Chimney and Fireplace

Check that the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels or other animals.

Check flue damper operation. Make sure it opens and closes fully, and that it is able to be locked in the open or closed position.

Check chimney draft. Make sure the chimney will draw up the fire and smoke properly. Test this by taking several sheets of newspaper and rolling them up. Then with the fireplace damper in the open position, light the newspaper in the fireplace. The smoke should rise up the chimney. If it doesn’t, you have an obstruction and need to call a professional in to clean the chimney of creosote and ash and possible debris. *If it has been several years (or never!) since you had your fireplace chimney cleaned, consider a professional (think Mary Poppins) as it can be a messy task.

Inspect the fire brick in the fireplace. If you see any open mortar joints have them repaired immediately! A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry fire brick through open mortar joints.

Plumbing is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing. Burst pipes from freezing can cause some of the most expensive repairs in the home. So let’s go over some of the basics to make you have them covered.

Insulate Exposed Piping:

Un-insulated crawlspaces, attics, exterior walls or basements are perfect location for pipe protection. Wrap them with foam insulation at a minimum. Ideally you should wrap them with electrical heating tape first, and then use foam insulation.

Exterior Faucets:

Also known as hose-bibs or sill-cocks, the exterior faucet needs to have the water supply turned off from inside the house. Also remember to drain the faucets well.  Consider an insulated cover for the hose-bib as an added safeguard. Disconnect garden hoses from the sill-cocks or outside faucets and drain them thoroughly.

Seasonal Shut Down:
If you are shutting down a property for several months you should always shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system. If a leak were to occur without occupancy, the damage could be catastrophic. Consult your local plumber if you are unsure of the proper steps for draining.

We won’t get into the importance of insulating your home. You already know that. But there are some areas you can easily beef-up to help prepare for winter.

Insulating Tips:

Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating blanket you can buy at the hardware store.

Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates with inexpensive foam sealing.

If you don’t use your fireplace often and it leaks air, you can cut a piece of fiberglass insulation and stuff it into the fireplace behind your glass doors to block the cold air coming down the chimney. Remember to remove before building a fire. J

Cold air leaks from around doors and windows are a significant contributor to your heating bill. An easy way to reduce your heating bill is to reduce these drafts with simple weather-stripping.

Windows:

On a day when it’s windy outside, close your windows and feel for air leaks. You can use an incense stick for this too if you don’t mind the smell. Watch the smoke trail and if it becomes anything other than vertical, you have an air leak. Typically air leaks will be at the edges where the window is hinged, slides or meets another unit, such as between the two panels of a double hung window.

An easy (temporary) solution is rope caulking. Press the rope caulk into all the joints where air is leaking.

Doors:

The easiest fix here is to check for weather-stripping on the side and bottoms of the doors. Install weather-stripping on any leaking doors.

Moving to the outside of the home, you should do a quick check of the roof. Either hire someone to inspect the roof if you are not comfortable safely doing this yourself, or inspect it yourself wearing solidly fastened shoes having non-skid soles.

Roof:

Check roof for missing or damaged shingles and have them replaced.

Check flashing around chimneys and other roof projections which are often the source of leaks.

Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean, having no leaves. Wet leaves remaining in the gutters over winter add significant weight and volume to the gutter when frozen and increase the risk of damage.

Keep in mind that these are quick winterizing tips. By no means are these tips to be deemed as permanent solutions for existing problems with windows, siding, roofing, gutters, and entry/ patio doors. Weather Tight professionals are available to help you evaluate the current energy efficiency of your home’s exterior before Jack Frost makes his way into town.  www.weathertightcorp.com

Fire-Up the Furnace; Heating SMARTER not Harder

 

save-energy

The crisp air is creeping in; now is the time to “shoo” it out! Here are 14 lil’ nuggets of info to shave down those heat bills this winter.

  •  Cover all bare floors. Carpeting or rugs add to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
  • Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Quickly raising your heat pump’s temperature activates the heat strip, which uses tons of energy.
  • Set your thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter, and 65-68 degrees at night to keep your home comfortable and save on heating costs.
  • Close the flue in your fireplace and install glass doors to keep in the warm air.
  • Limit your use of portable heaters.They’re great for “spot” heating, but running a 1,500-watt heater 24/7 can be expensive.
  • Keep your thermostat close to the outside temperature – it’s cheaper to keep your home at 70°F when it’s 50°F outside than when it’s 30°F.
  • Don’t block air vents with drapes and furniture.
  • Get an energy-efficient furnace and you could cut your heating costs in half.
  • Change the filters in your heating system every month for optimum efficiency.
  • Give your furnace air space to work efficiently. Never stack anything against your unit or drape anything over it.
  • Set your thermostat to 60 degrees if going on vacation during the winter months, but don’t turn it off.
  • Heat your home with the sun’s help.Leave window shades or blinds open during the daytime. And consider using solar heat to supplement your normal heating source.
  • Lower your thermostat every time you leave the house.
  • Get up-to-date windows. Windows are a HUGE energy drain in winter months. Plastic barriers help with draft, but it’s really just a bandage. Investing in updated windows is a more lasting solution that adds value to your home as well!

For more information about window options, check out our website:  www.weathertightcorp.com/windows/

And for more energy saving tips STAY TUNED!

Proud as a Peacock; Weather Tight Launches New Website!

Proud as a Peacock; Weather Tight Launches New Website!

After many months of planning and development our new site now incorporates significant

the dudeschanges,which improve and streamline your experience.

You asked. We listened. Your feedback was invaluable and the features you requested are now available.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­The new site’s homepage welcomes you with a clean, simple and bold design, easy-to-use navigation, and new product categories. These new categories will help you determine what products are right for you. Our website also features specialized portals including, but not limited to:

  • Video Support for Frequently asked Product Questions
  • Easy-to-use Live Chat!
  • Tod & Todd’s Video Tips
  • Weather Tight Team Photos

…and much, much more!

We are pleased as ever that we can provide you with convenient service on the web, telephone, and in our showrooms. We welcome you to the new website, peruse our space and let us know what you think.

A special thank you to all contributors and loyal customers that we are proud to call Weather Tight Family!

Do you have questions or concerns?

Shoot us an Email at info@weathertightcorp.com or call us at 414.459.3888

 

Effecting Change: Weather Tight 5% Non-Profit Donation Program

community banner

As the holiday season approaches, many folks are considering what can be done to aide our communities in need. Here at Weather Tight, we WANT to get involved! We are a strong believer in partnering with local non-profit organizations, and have a great program to partner with them to increase their donations!

Non-profit and Community organizations have an opportunity to earn money simply by referring new customers to our company. If the customer is pleased enough to purchase, Weather Tight donates 5% of the purchase price back to the organization as a thank you for their referral!

Who can apply to our program?

-Schools-Great Fundraising Opportunity

-Churches & Religious Organizations

-Non-Profit Organizations

-Festivals & Seasonal Event Organizations

How do I apply?

Send a simple email. Make sure to include the group or organization information’s name and contact details. If you are deemed to be an eligible organization, we will send you an application. All applications are then reviewed prior to approval.

How can I promote Weather Tight’s program if I am approved?

Some great ways to promote include:

-Sending flyers to organization members

-Making public announcements at an organization event

-Post a link on your organization’s website to a special 5% page on Weather Tight’s website. We will be happy to provide you with an image and the html code, as well as assist you with any promotion questions.

If you have a fundraising cause near and dear to your heart, let us know! We are always looking for new community events to raise money for local causes. Weather Tight welcomes the invitation to sponsor local events and be a vendor at your next event!

Email us at info@weathertightcorp.com We look forward to hearing from you!

Do the Safety Dance! Gutter Cleaning Tips that Can Save Your Life!

With the autumn season upon us, it’s time to get geared up for everyone’s favorite fall activity…no, not pumpkin carving; GUTTER CLEANING! Time to do the “Safety Dance” and get down with some tips that will save your hide!

  • Practice Ladder Safety: Let a friend or neighbor know that you will be working on a ladder. Make sure it is durable, sturdy and not too heavy as you will move it frequently as you clean.
  • Rake Leaves & Debris off Rooftop First: This is not always necessary, but it will ensure no gutter refilling as you work. No one likes to double back! Also bear in mind if you are walking on the roof, dampest times are mornings. Late mornings, or early afternoons are the best times to walk on a roof.
  • Utilize a Garden Hose: Opt for a “pistol-grip” trigger sprayer, this will allow you to adjust water pressure with the use of one hand. There are extension attachments as well that provide a longer reach if necessary.
  • Get a Gutter Scoop: Scooping out leafy debris can be a lot easier with a strong handled scoop. Plastic is best, as it does not scrape or scratch the gutters. This will aide in rust prevention.
  • Wear the Right Gear: It is wise to wear safety goggles, durable work gloves, and rubber-soled shoes. Rubber-soled shoes provide necessary traction, while goggles ensure that random flying debris stays away from your eyes! It can also be helpful to use water-resistant gloves, as gutter cleaning can get a little messy.
  • Unclog the Downspouts: After the gutters are clean, run the water hose directly into the downspout to be sure no water backs-up. If a clog arises, tapping the side of the downspout usually does the trick.
  • Schedule Semi-Annual Cleanings: Keeping gutters clean and clear prevents water damage both to your home and the gutter system. Debris can cause additional runoff, compromising the home’s foundation. Gutter debris can also speed up rusting when no rainfall occurs, as trapped moisture cannot escape.
  • Be Mindful of Power Lines: Inspect any wires or cables connected to, or near the roof. This is to ensure the protective wire insulation is intact, and it’s safe to be near the wires. If cables appear worn or damaged, contact a licensed professional electrical contractor to make repairs BEFORE cleaning the gutters!
  • Invest in Gutter Protection: Using a quality gutter protection system can eliminate the need for gutter cleaning entirely. Weather Tight offers performance tested Gutter Protection with lifetime warranties! Check out our website for more information: http://www.weathertightcorp.com/gutters/gutter-protection/ or call us at (414)459-3888 for a free quote!

Weather Tight believes that being properly educated in gutter cleaning techniques is the key to a successful and safe gutter cleaning experience!  Pace yourself, and take the amount of time necessary to be safe this season.

Energy Savers Approve: High Praise for Low-E Window Coatings

It seems everywhere you turn these days; everyone is talking about energy savings. Frankly, it is unavoidable. The cost of keeping cool in the summer and warm in the winter is a closely monitored issue. Fortunately, great leaps and bounds have been made in the home improvement industry to save money on energy.

Energy savings can be found in the most surprising places. Glass coatings have been a hotly researched element of window design since the 1980’s. By controlling how much of the sun’s energy radiates from glass, one can help control energy costs.

When searching for energy efficient window options, be sure to check these helpful Energy Performance Ratings:

U Factor: Simply put, the lower the U factor, the less heat is lost through the window when heating your home during the winter months. This number should be closest to zero as possible.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): Measures how much heat from the sun is blocked. Windows will fall 0-1, and lower the SHGC, the higher the level of blockage sun’s thermal rays.

Check out this informative blog from BuildingGreen.com for a clear and concise look at the science behind Low-E (Low-Emissivity) Coatings:  http://www2.buildinggreen.com/blogs/window-performance-magic-low-e-coatings

You can also contact Weather Tight, via our website http://www.weathertightcorp.com or call 414.459.3888 to get more information about available Low-E options.

Community Events this Summer: Weather Tight Spottings!

photo courtesy of www.visitmilwaukee.org

Summertime in Southeast Wisconsin is loaded with fairs, festivals, and community events. We are meeting great folks, enjoying wonderful food, music, and sampling what this awesome state has to offer.  Winter has never been farther from our minds, and we are having a great time!

Weather Tight has had the pleasure of attending these fun-filled community events:

  • Chocolate Fest
  • West Allis A-la-Carte
  • Chocolate Fest
  • Jefferson County Fair
  • Waukesha County Fair
  • Brookfield Farmer’s Market & More
  • Thank Dog it’s Friday
  • Washington County Fair
  • Racine County Fair
  • Brady Street Festival

State Fair is also on the horizon. We are going to be there EVERYDAY of the fair! Stop by and say, “Hello!” We will be in Aisle 1800 of the large expo building, and cannot wait for all the delicious goodies. Enter our sweepstakes, ask us questions about your home improvement projects, or just come by to tell us what fair food favorites we should try this year. (State Fair: July 31, 2014- August 10, 2014)

Did you know Weather Tight also has a 5% Non-for-Profit Donation program? We would love to sponsor your event, or participate in local community events and donate back to non-profit organizations!

For details check out: http://www.weathertightcorp.com/about-us/5-percent-program.php or email us your request at info@weathertightcorp.com

Choosing the Right Roofer: Tips from the Better Business Bureau

Choosing a reliable roofer can seem like a daunting task. While low costs can be appealing to the average homeowner, it is wise to be wary of bids that seem “too good to be true.” Aside from pricing, many concerns effect the decision making process; Better Business Bureau ratings, references, warranties, material choice, customer care, and many other factors.

While choosing a contractor, one thing is certain; knowledge is power. Being as informed as possible is the key to being confident in your decision. Take the time to make sure all of your questions are answered during a quote; that any unfamiliar terms or jargon is understood, and that you have a solid understanding of warranty options.

The following link from the Better Business Bureau has a set of helpful guidelines to keep in mind:

http://www.bbb.org/greenville/industry-tips/read/tip/choosing-a-roofing-company-1475

Our Company Picnic was TOTALLY Radical!

Thank you for those of you who were able to attend our company picnic at the Waukesha County Fair on Sunday, July 20th!  We enjoyed seeing your faces and enjoying some great food and music (and 80s fashion) with all of you!

Do you want a $500 tax credit? Better Hurry!

This is your final chance to get any sort of tax credit for replacing your old, drafty windows or doors!

The $500 federal tax credit will expire at the end of 2014. In order to utilize this energy-efficiency credit, you must have your windows and/or doors installed by December 31st.

Start planning now! Give us a call to set up a quote at (414) 459-3883, and get pricing information for your project!

To see a list of 8 tax credits that are expiring at the end of the year, check out: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/tax-season-2014-8-disappearing-tax-breaks