Pre­pare your home to with­stand any weather

The Progress-Index - At Home - - Ask Designer - STATEPOINT

The weather these days seems to be more volatile than ever -- swing­ing from record­set­ting heat waves to deep freezes, seem­ingly from one day to the next.

With the weather more var­ied and un­pre­dictable, home­own­ers na­tion­wide have learned lessons from the past year and are tak­ing steps to en­sure their houses can ef­fi­ciently with­stand what­ever Mother Na­ture dishes out.

It’s all about keep­ing homes sealed tightly, so wa­ter and wind can’t leak in and tem­pered air doesn’t leak out -- caus­ing heat­ing and cool­ing bills to rise. • Be­ware of Foun­da­tion Cracks Wa­ter is the en­emy of your home’s foun­da­tion. A change in mois­ture con­tent of the soil around your home al­lows wa­ter to put pres­sure on the foun­da­tion, caus­ing cracks and leaks.

Dry weather can cause the soil to shrink, while wet pe­ri­ods can cause it to soften. Poor drainage from your roof or im­proper ground slope around your home can fun­nel wa­ter against the foun­da­tion.

Make sure gut­ters are clean and that down­spouts ex­tend away from your home. Check that the soil, grass or pave­ment prop­erly slopes away from your foun­da­tion. • In­su­late Ef­fec­tively Up­grad­ing a home’s in­su­la­tion is an ef­fec­tive, easy way to in­crease en­ergy ef­fi­ciency while de­creas­ing heat­ing costs. The at­tic is a great start, but to achieve max­i­mum ef­fi­cien­cies, don’t over­look ar­eas such as base­ments and rim joists.

The U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy es­ti­mates home­own­ers could save an av­er­age of at least $250 yearly in heat­ing costs by in­su­lat­ing base­ment walls. And by in­su­lat­ing crawl spa­ces and rim joists, the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency es­ti­mates home­own­ers can save up to 20 per­cent on en­ergy bills.

Opt­ing for stone wool in­su­la­tion, which is made from a com­bi­na­tion of nat­u­ral basalt rock and re­cy­cled slag, may pro­vide greater ben­e­fits than tra­di­tional fiber­glass in­su­la­tion. One such ther­mal in­su­la­tion is Roxul Com­fortBatt, a fire re­sis­tant, wa­ter re­pel­lant and sound ab­sorbent in­su­la­tion that is well-suited for use in ex­te­rior walls, at­tics, crawlspaces and base­ments. It also has a unique fiber com­po­si­tion and den­sity that pro­vides for an op­ti­mal fit be­tween studs, joists, around duct­work, elec­tri­cal boxes and plumb­ing. As an­other con­sid­er­a­tion for in­su­lat­ing, Roxul also of­fers Safe‘n’Sound, an­other stone wool in­su­la­tion prod­uct well­suited for sound­proof­ing in­te­rior walls and ceil­ings be­tween rooms. Its unique stone wool com­po­si­tion re­duces sound trans­mis­sions by trap­ping sound waves and vi­bra­tions.

Be­fore undertaking a home in­su­la­tion project, do-it-your­selfers can visit www. diy­with­roxul.com, to view free “how-to” videos de­tail­ing dif­fer­ent in­su­la­tion projects. • In­spect Your Roof Noth­ing can ruin a home faster than a leaky roof. Once yearly, check for signs of dam­age, such as sag­ging, ag­ing, crack­ing, curl­ing, tears or miss­ing shin­gles. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to ar­eas ob­scured by shade or veg­e­ta­tion.

Re­place shin­gles that are lift­ing up or that have rot or heavy moss. Also in­spect gut­ters, vents, over­hangs and flash­ing. Re­pairs should be made as soon as you see a small prob­lem, be­fore it be­comes a larger one.

Don’t at­tempt to climb a roof that is steeply sloped. In­stead, turn to a pro­fes­sional roofer or home in­spec­tor.

STATEPOINT PHOTO

Up­grad­ing a home’s in­su­la­tion is an ef­fec­tive, easy way to in­crease en­ergy ef­fi­ciency while de­creas­ing heat­ing costs.

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