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Stay Warm, Breathe Right This Winter

Check to make sure your windows are insulated properly and your caulking has not cracked.

This winter we have been lucky with the mild weather, but temperatures have reached below freezing a couple times so far and we all know it’s coming. Now is the time to check to make sure your windows are working properly.

I recently did a job where I removed the trim to a window and found that there was no insulation whatsoever. The homeowner was complaining about cold breezes throughout the winter across her living room. She indicated to me that her curtains would sway with the wind—in the winter. The homeowner also told me that there was ice build-up inside of the window glass. I was called in after the homeowner reached out to two other professionals who couldn’t figure out the problem.

When I got to the house, I noticed there was wood trim around the edge of each window so I asked the homeowner if anyone had ever removed one to see what was behind it. She said no.

When I removed some of the trim, I was shocked to discover that I could see straight through the wall to the outside. There was zero insulation. Not even an attempt. In one of the bedrooms, the insulation was so poor that water was getting into the wall. This is a huge problem for a homeowner because this caused a buildup of black mold.

Truly, I cannot understand why the other two professionals called in did not have the sense to check under the trim or discover the black mold. I went out and bought an OSHA/NIOSH approved respirator to protect myself from the black mold.

I first cut the area affected by the black mold out and placed it directly into a bag, sealed and removed it from the house. I then re-sheetrocked the area. To remedy the problem, I siliconed the entire outside of the window, filling in any cracks, gaps and crevices.

Next, I applied spray foam insulation in any gaps seen from the inside. The windows are not only more energy efficient but it is quieter inside the house.

This week, check to make sure your windows are insulated properly. Be sure you check the outside of your windows to make sure your caulking has not cracked. If you do see cracks, take a clear silicone and do a nice even bead to fill in the crack.

You want to stay warm and dry — all while breathing safely this winter.

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