Cold air infiltration and cold weather woes

During the winter months insulation (or lack thereof), cold air infiltration takes a notable place with what I like to call cold weather woes. This may simply be due to different building practices from long ago or a defect present at the time of construction. This article covers some of the issues you may run into and how they may be addressed. Unfortunately, these type of problems often don’t have a clear and concise solution where some trial and error may be required.

Imagine the situation where you have subzero temperatures and you're away on vacation. All of a… Click To Tweet

What is causing the cold air infiltration and the cold weather woes?

Above all, it is important to give proper attention to any areas of your home that actually “feels” cold.

Cold air infiltration causing cold weather woes on an exterior electrical outlet

Cold air infiltration causing cold weather woes on an exterior electrical outlet

This is especially true in areas where your plumbing is located on an exterior wall.  This, in itself, may be a recipe for disaster with the right conditions in place.  Imagine the situation where you have subzero temperatures and you’re away on vacation.  All of a sudden your furnace is on the fritz.  This may mean freezing pipes and an imminent flood, all while you’re away.  It is for this reason that you must drain all exterior hose bibs that aren’t protected by means of a frost resistant mechanism.

Buying new?

New construction?  This is not a guarantee that all is well in the realm of personal comfort.  Often times, the coordination of different subcontractors makes for compromised or absent insulation.  I can’t remember the number of times new home owners have called me in to ask for an infrared thermography inspection to show any deficient sections while the home was still under warranty.

Be careful!

Finally, when looking beyond comfort issues like cold air infiltration and deficient or absent insulation, energy considerations are a must.  Before going in any other direction, I have often noted that attics are a huge source of heat loss in the winter months leading to high utility bills, ice damming, and air quality issues in the attic space, to name a few issues.  You need to make sure you have a proper vapor barrier between the conditioned space in the home and the attic.  Furthermore, you need to have a sufficient amount of insulation and ventilation in the attic space.  This will make for a better overall environment putting aside those cold weather woes.


See you next time when I’ll be back with more useful information!  In the meantime, visit us on Facebook.

by Gilbert Migirditsian : Passionate licensed professional engineer, home inspector, real estate investor, husband, and father to two wonderful boys!