How to Deal with Rotting Wood Window Frames

Rotting wood window frames and sills mean that your window probably isn’t performing as well as it should be, and is very likely on its last legs. A rotting wood window frame or sill isn’t a problem that you can afford to ignore for very long. In addition to your windows causing drafts to enter your home, rotting window frames can be an eyesore and, if left untreated, will surely become a home for mold.

If ignored for long enough, rotting window frames and sills could spread all around the affected area, leading to potentially widespread damage to your home. If you’re waiting on a window repair professional to inspect the problem, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the problem.

How serious is rot?
For homeowners with exterior wood window frames, rot is always a fear. No matter what measures you take, rot will eventually set in and diminish the natural beauty of wood window frames. Rot is caused by moisture coming into contact with the wood exterior over extended periods of time, weakening the frame over time and destroying it from the inside out. While rot is usually an inevitable part of wood being exposed to the elements, it’s not usually a problem that can’t be solved by a professional.

Rot is a timely issue though – failure to address a rotting window exterior can cause irreparable damage to the window frame and lead to lessen performance and mold growth, both of which can significantly affect the interior of your home. All it takes for rot to set in is a small gap that hasn’t been adequately sealed against the weather – once that happens, your windows are at risk. With time working against you, it’s important that you take the correct measures to solve the problem as soon as possible.

How to deal with rotting wood windows
The first step you need to take is to examine the extent of the rotting, as this will help you determine the most appropriate next step. Make sure that the rot hasn’t made its way to the majority of the frame – if the damage is widespread, it’s recommended that you replace the window frame completely. If the damage is contained to a smaller area, you can work to reduce the damage done.

Remove the rot from your window frame or sill using a chisel or screwdriver to dislodge it, and then use a brush to remove debris and dust from the frame. Once this is done, drill a number of ¼ inch holes into the affected wood – these holes will be used to secure an epoxy filler to the frame. When the holes have been drilled into the wood, apply a liquid epoxy consolidant to the wood. Finally, apply and pack an epoxy filler or another wood filler to the frame and mold it accordingly using a putty knife or a paint stirring stick. Once the wood filler has dried, you can go to work on sanding it down until it’s smooth and flat, and then priming and painting it as soon as possible.

While this measure can save your window frames from needing to be replaced immediately, the wood filler solution is considered to be a temporary fix. Eventually, it’s likely that rot will once again set in, and at that point, it’s recommended that you enlist the services of a window replacement professional who will be able to restore your home’s windows to their former glory, and recommend low-maintenance windows materials like vinyl that are far less susceptible to problems like rot and mold.

The window products featured in the showroom at Muskoka Window & Door Centre are manufactured with high quality materials that are built to last. To get started on your window replacement, contact Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

How to Fix a Window Temporarily

Many homeowners know the frustration of having a window suddenly break at the most inopportune moments. Whether a stray ball has shattered your window or you experience an extreme weather event, you’ll be left with a broken or cracked window that is now exposing the interior of your home to the outdoors.

Cracked and shattered glass or broken window frames should be fixed immediately to avoid damage to your home, but it’s not always feasible for a window installation expert to assess the damage right away. While you’re waiting for a window replacement or repair, there are a few temporary ways you can minimize the damage and keep weather and pests out of your home. It’s important to note that these fixes aren’t permanent, so you’ll need to contact an expert as soon as possible so the problem can be solved professionally.

First steps to take when your window has been shattered
Once you’ve noticed that your window has been shattered or severely damaged, it’s important to keep the safety of yourself and your family in mind. If the glass has been shattered, put on a pair of heavy duty work gloves and remove any shards of glass that have made their way into your home. If there are still glass shards in the window pane, you should very quickly work to cover the broken pane or panel with plastic sheeting, cardboard, or even a heavy duty trash bag – you can use strong packing tape or a staple gun to secure this in place.

A secure cover ensures that the glass will not be hazardous to anybody inside your home, and that the problem is isolated until the glass can be removed. If you’re worried about intruders using the broken window to enter your home, it’s recommended that you use boards to cover and secure any large openings that can’t be secured using plastic sheeting or other means.

How to temporarily repair a cracked window
Windows can be cracked by impact, stress, or pressure. If you notice that your window has been cracked, you can use household items to temporarily fix it until a window replacement professional can visit your home. The first thing you should do is don a pair of heavy duty gloves and gently press the glass to ensure that it won’t fall out. If the glass feels sturdy, you can work to remedy the problem using clear packing tape. Apply the tape over the crack in the glass, and if possible, on the opposite side as well. Make sure to smoothen out the tape to ensure that there are no bubbles.

If you notice that there are small holes in your window, these can be temporarily fixed using clear nail polish. Brush the nail polish over the small holes in the window, applying it in layers and letting each coat dry between layers. This will temporarily patch the holes in your window, but will not serve as a long term fix.

Once the shattered or cracked glass has been safely and effectively addressed, you should immediately contact a window installation expert to book a replacement or repair. If they can’t visit your home for a number of days, they may advise other ways to temporarily patch or secure your broken window until they can send a professional to assess the problem. Window replacements can be complex jobs, making it important that you contact a professional to solve the problem quickly and effective to ensure that it doesn’t cause problems down the line. If your windows have been cracked, shattered, or otherwise broken, contact the window installation experts at Muskoka Window and Door Centre for professional and transparent service.

When You Should Replace Your Cottage Septic System

Cottagers around the province are about to learn a hard lesson about their septic system. With COVID-19 keeping Canadians home and cottage bound for the foreseeable future, many cottage owners are going to be faced with the challenge of a failing septic system designed primarily to handle only weekend and vacation use. This means that due to the increased strain on your septic system, it may be time for a much needed upgrade – especially if you want to keep your property free of sewage backup.

It’s important to note that your septic system might simply need some TLC, rather than a complete replacement. Replacing your septic system can be an expensive affair, so it’s important for you to be able to make an informed decision so that your time and money is spent wisely. Before you panic and decide on a replacement septic system, here’s how you can know if it’s time to replace it.

How old is your septic system?
It’s not unheard of for a septic system to last more than 40 years with regular maintenance. Septic systems can be extremely resilient, and can last for decades without many problems. Older homes and cottages, however, may require a replacement septic system sooner rather than later. If your system is getting up there in age and you’ve noticed that you’re pumping it more often than you used to, or that you’re constantly experiencing issues with it, your septic may simply be on its last legs. Additionally, it may be possible to repair the septic bed rather than replacing the system entirely, which is far less costly. You really only want to replace it if your septic system professional says it is beyond repair and/or you have outgrown its size.

Have you outgrown your system?
If your cottage is seeing an uptick in use, you may have outgrown your septic system. Since septic systems have a limited capacity, a significant increase in its use can mean that it’s time to replace your system with something that better accommodates the use of your cottage. This also applies to cottages that have recently seen expansions or additions, causing your water usage to overwork your smaller septic tank. For example, if you had no dishwasher when you moved in, and added one, that could be enough to tip over the capacity of an older septic system. Replacing your system will prevent future headaches and let you enjoy your time at the cottage distraction-free.

Puddles in your yard and foul odors
If you’ve recently noticed standing water in your yard, it could be a sign that your septic system is failing – especially if it hasn’t rained or snowed recently. Puddles in your yard near where your septic tank is buried may mean that wastewater is backing up and flooding your property. It could also force raw sewage to backup into your home and around your property. Smelling a foul odor near your tank or drain field is another sure sign that your septic system is failing and that sewage is being backed up into your yard. An additional sign that your septic is starting to go (this usually happens before you see puddles and backups) is if you walk over your septic bed and the ground is soggy during the height of the summer. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, get a septic system professional to assess the situation to see if you need a repair or replacement.

Greener grass in your yard
One of the less discussed signs of a failing septic system is that you may suddenly notice that the grass around your septic tank or drain field is greener than the rest of your yard. This is usually caused by a failing system, causing excessive moisture levels to seep into the soil, which can cause greener grass. You may also notice that the grass around where your tank is buried is growing faster than the rest of your yard. This is usually caused by backed up sewage acting as a fertilizer, causing grass to grow quicker than normal.

Replacing your septic system is generally a worst case scenario measure – especially if your use hasn’t outgrown the capacity of your system. If you think that your septic system may be experiencing issues, it’s best to schedule an inspection by a professional, who will be able to properly diagnose your problems and recommend the best course of action.

For more about the products and services offered by our full team of window and door installation experts, contact Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

What You Can Do to Make Your Cottage More Energy Efficient

The snow is finally melting and another gorgeous Muskoka spring season is quickly emerging. Now is the perfect time to get started on property improvements and free up your summer so you can soak up the sun and enjoy your retreat. Making your property more energy efficient is a project that will help you get the most out of your cottage by reducing energy bills and your carbon footprint. During these unique times, there are a number of easy, but effective, ways to make your cottage more energy efficient.

Check for inefficient old appliances
Home appliances account for a large amount of your energy bill – the more efficient your appliances, the lower your hydro bill will be. Old appliances like fridges and chest freezers often find new homes in cottages, but can be a major source of energy use. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR certified home appliances can make a huge difference in your energy consumption, using up to 10% less energy than standard or older appliances.

Take a look at your windows
Windows offer Muskoka cottage owners an unparalleled view of their beautiful surroundings, but can also account for a property losing up to a quarter of its heating and cooling if they are inefficient. This is especially true of older windows in need of maintenance or replacement. You can reduce energy loss through your windows by applying weatherstripping around window frames to prevent energy from escaping through the trim. Using window film during the winter months can be effective too, reducing air loss in older windows.

If your windows are more than 20 years old, have sustained damage, or are noticeably drafty, then it’s time to seriously consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows. Upgrading your windows can have a major effect on reducing your energy consumption, as they work to keep the heat during colder fall and winter months, and keep it out during the summer.

Take advantage of window treatments
Energy efficient window treatments like curtains, blinds and shades can have a major impact on reducing the amount of heat entering your home. This is especially useful during the summer months when your air conditioning or ceiling fans are working overtime. Using window treatments during the day will reduce the amount of energy used by your air conditioning unit, keeping unwanted heat out of your home and making you more comfortable on hot, sunny days.

Unplug to reduce phantom power
Your electronics and appliances draw power even when they’re off or otherwise not in use. According to Hydro One, the average Canadian household has up to 25 electronic devices using phantom power at any given time, accounting for about $150 in electricity costs each year. Phantom power can be easily avoided by unplugging electronics and charging devices when they’re not in use. It’s also recommended that homes use advanced power bars with timers to ensure that electronics and non-essential appliances are turned off while homeowners are at work or sleeping. Taking these simple steps will have a significant impact on your yearly energy costs.

Get smart about landscaping
In addition to adding character and curb appeal to your property, landscaping can be used to enhance energy efficiency and comfort. Planting deciduous trees on your property can provide shade during the summer months to reduce solar gain, and let sunlight in through your windows in the winter after the trees have lost their leaves. Planting trees to the south and southwest will be the most effective way to shade your property from the peak summer sun, and can go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs, as well as property damage caused by ultraviolet rays over time. Shrubs, too, can be used effectively to insulate your home’s exterior and even to shade outdoor air conditioning and heat pump units, improving their efficiency by up to 10%.

Make the best of the COVID-19 quarantine by focusing on how you and your family can work to improve your cottage property. When it comes to energy efficiency, even the smallest upgrades will go a long way. To find out more about the energy efficient window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

Opening Your Cottage Early

Spring is finally here – the snow will soon begin to melt, and cottagers from all around the province will soon descend upon the Muskoka region to kick off cottage season. At this point in the season, it’s natural for you to be feeling a little antsy. You might be looking for an opportunity to get away from the city for a while, and as a result, might be considering heading to the cottage a little earlier than you normally would.

Opening your cottage early can have many benefits, allowing you to get ahead of the game so you can start soaking up the sun earlier than everybody else. Opening the cottage early can also present a number of challenges on top of the usual cottage opening checklist that you’ll have to deal with before you can kick back and relax at the cottage. Here’s what you need to know about opening your cottage early this year.

Make sure your road is accessible and you bring shovels and salt
The first thing you’ll need to do before heading out to your cottage is ensure that your road is actually accessible. Check in with your road association or neighbours (if applicable) before you head out.

The last thing you want is to be forced to turn around because you can’t get your vehicle on the road. Roads can be very icy, wet, and slushy during the late winter and early spring, making salt and a shovel a necessity if you wish to get to your cottage without incident. Even in the event that your road has been cleared, be prepared for the last bit of winter to hit and make sure you’re ready to clear snow away.

Will your water still work in colder temperatures?
Just because springtime is upon us, doesn’t mean that subzero temperatures aren’t here to stay for a while longer. Ensuring that your water pumps and lines will work as intended in these temperatures is essential.

These pieces of equipment should be able to function properly around freezing temperatures, but it’s important to stay prepared nonetheless. You’ll have to inspect your water lines, put your pump in the water if it isn’t permanently installed in the lake, and perform other typical cottage opening tasks. Bring the appropriate gear for the occasion such as waders, as snow, ice, and cold temperatures will continue to be present for at least a few weeks.

Keep an eye on your septic system
Snowmelt can lead to excessive water building up in your septic or sump pit, which can lead to backups in tub drains – especially if your septic is only sized for seasonal use. This isn’t usually a problem during the traditional May long weekend cottage opening season, so keep in mind that you’ll have to change your habits slightly to ensure that water does not back up into your home. Doing things like limiting laundry loads, washing dishes by hand, and conserving water in other ways will help prevent backups.

The best time to take care of upgrades and maintenance
Settling in ahead of the May long weekend gives you the distinct advantage of being able to tackle upgrades and maintenance around the cottage. Since few others will be around before the May long weekend, local companies and contractors will have the time to book your projects in. Waiting until the snow has melted means that you’ll be at the back of the line, potentially forcing you to wait all summer before a spot opens.

Opening the cottage early gives you the perfect opportunity to upgrade your windows, doors, and insulation to ensure that the cottage is comfortable all summer long, or you can tackle that nagging maintenance jobs and yard work you’ve been wanting to get around to.

Stay ahead of the game by booking your window and door upgrades with Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Black Mould at Your Muskoka Cottage

The thought of a mould infestation is something that makes every cottage owner shudder. Mould is a problem in too many cottages, especially seasonal cottages that are shut down every winter. Moisture levels often go unchecked during the winter season, leaving cottage owners with a nasty surprise when they return in the spring.

If it’s not addressed immediately, mould can spread to uncontrollable levels, affecting your health and the structural integrity of your cottage. Black mould can be especially damaging, causing serious health complications and wreaking havoc on the interior and exterior of a home.

A Muskoka family recently found out the hard way about the devastating nature of mould, unknowingly purchasing a home that had been infested with black mould. The couple had been told that the house was built in 2016, despite the fact that the foundation had sat exposed to the elements for years prior.

Mould specialists deemed the property to be a complete loss, and so the family was forced to move out of their home after just one month.

Control the humidity in your cottage
It takes just 48 hours for mould to run rampant in your cottage, affecting the air quality, leaving unsightly stains, causing odors that can be tough to remove, and impacting the integrity of walls, windows, and everything inside the property including furniture and clothing. The most effective way to curb this is by more effectively controlling the humidity inside your cottage.

Mould thrives in humid conditions, and so addressing the humidity will ultimately halt the spread of mould. Running a dehumidifier in your cottage, and opening windows or using exhaust fans when showering, cooking, or doing dishes can go a long way in eliminating humidity, as will drying wet towels and clothing outside of your cottage rather than inside.

Prevent moisture from accumulating whenever possible
Without moisture, mould can’t grow. This makes it extremely important for cottage owners to take immediate action to dry wet areas like leaky windows or appliances, basement seepage, or any rain water or snowmelt that has made its way inside. Spills on carpets should also be quickly dried, as this can be a source for moderate mould growth.

Downspouts should be directed away from your cottage in order to minimize the risk of water entering your home, and snow should be shoveled away from the foundation of your home wherever possible. Taking these proactive measures will prevent excess moisture from accumulating in your home, making it an unsuitable habitat for mould growth.

Take appropriate flood prevention measures
One of the most common sources of mould growth in cottages is seasonal flooding, which typically takes place during the cottage off-season. Flooding causes snowmelt and rain water to enter your cottage and its foundation, going unchecked until you arrive to re-open the cottage and allowing mould to grow at uncontrollable levels.

Taking flood prevention measures is important in reducing the risk of mould growth, especially for properties in high-risk flood zones. Sandbags should be used around waterfront properties to slow flooding, and proactive measures like installing foundation vents and sump pumps, applying dry flood proofing coatings and sealants to the foundation and walls, and grading your lawn away from the cottage. While many of these precautions likely won’t eliminate the risk of flooding, they can go a long way in reducing the damage done, and the mould growth that inevitably follows flooding. To find out more about the high performance window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

How to Save Hydro at the Cottage

This past summer, Hydro One announced that electricity bills for their seasonal customers were set to rise by up to 129%, a shocking discovery for cottage owners everywhere. The massive jump in hydro rates came after the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announcement that it was exploring the idea of eliminating the seasonal rate class, which would affect cottage owners around the province. The changes would see Ontario cottage owners divided into R1 and R2 classes, depending on the cost of delivering power to customers. This means that around half of cottage owners in Ontario may see their bills double.

With these major changes to your electricity bill, it’s always a good idea for Muskoka cottage owners to explore ways they can save hydro at the cottage year round. Saving money on hydro can help you enjoy the cottage more during prime cottage season, and save you some stress during the off-season.

Close your cottage the right way before leaving for the season
The most effective way to save electricity at the cottage is by powering down before you leave for the season, and unplugging appliances and electronics between visits. Anything plugged in while not in use is using phantom energy, even if it isn’t actively turned on. These costs can quickly add up, especially with rates increasing for cottage owners. Before leaving for the season or just for the week, unplug any appliances and devices that don’t require being left plugged in. Doing this will help you save money on your hydro bill with a minimal impact on your overall enjoyment of the cottage experience.

Energy efficient windows and window treatments prevent energy loss
Depending on how old your cottage is and how often it’s used, your windows may be a major source of energy loss. Drafty old windows should be replaced with newer energy efficient windows that eliminate energy loss, demanding less of your heating and cooling systems to keep your cottage warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If window replacement isn’t an option quite yet, you can reduce energy loss by using energy efficient window treatments like blackout curtain, blinds, and awnings, all of which will work to minimize drafts and energy loss until you’re ready to replace those drafty old windows.

Tankless water heater
Traditional water systems are designed to hold and heat large quantities of water at any given time, using up far more energy than is needed. A great way to reduce your hydro bills going forward is to make the switch to a tankless water heater, which is an ideal water heating solution for cottage owners. Rather than heat large amounts of water at once, tankless water heaters are activated on demand, heating only what you need instead of wasting energy on heating water that is just going to sit in the tank.

Explore the possibility of switching to a small solar setup
Another option for cottage owners is to make the switch from traditional hydro to a small solar energy setup. Solar energy isn’t nearly as costly as it once was, with many manufacturers gearing solar energy solutions towards cottage owners, offering affordable solar panels and batteries that are perfect for powering your cottage throughout the bright summer months.

With plenty of solar energy dealers in the Muskoka region including Muskoka Renewable Energy, Greenside Electric, and Haliburton Solar & Wind, starter kits are easier to find than ever before, helping you kick start your transition to renewable energy that won’t be affected by exorbitant rate increases. Even a solar setup to only power certain items, such as a hot water heater, can save you money over time – especially with the new hydro rates.

To find out more about the high performance window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

Insulating Your Windows for Cold Weather

If your home or cottage never seems to be warm enough during these frigid winter months, there’s a good chance that your windows are old and drafty. Older windows can turn any comfortable home into a nightmare of drafts and high heating bills during the winter, leading to homeowners trying just about anything they can to keep the warm air inside where it belongs. If you haven’t yet gotten around to replacing your old drafty windows, there are temporary measures you can take to keep your home warm this winter.

Apply caulking around your windows
Caulking is one of the most common ways to insulate your windows during the winter months, working to block drafts from entering from outside. You’ll have to begin by removing any old caulking, dirt, and grime around the window’s outer perimeter. Once the surface has been sufficiently dried, simply apply new exterior-grade caulking between your window’s frame and exterior trims boards or the siding. Exterior-grade caulking generally features silicone content that will stand up to the elements for a longer period of time.

Make smart use of window coverings
Heavy layered curtains and other window coverings like cellular shades and blinds are a stylish and effective way of reducing the effects of leaky windows. Window treatments reduce the amount of cold air entering your home through old drafty windows, adding some extra insulation to your windows. The downside to using heavy curtains and window coverings during the winter months is that on colder days you’ll be sacrificing letting sunlight into your home for insulating your windows against the entry of cold air.

Install weatherstripping around the window sash
Weatherstripping is a cost effective and easy to install solution that’ll help you close the gaps in and around your windows, serving as an air-tight barrier that will seal off many of the drafts in old windows. Weatherstripping comes in many different sizes and materials, with options that are ideal for windows of any type and size. While weatherstripping can last for long periods of time, regular window operation can cause it to wear down and detach from window sashes.

Good old fashioned insulation film will help reduce heat loss
Insulation film is the most popular way for homeowners to insulate windows during winter months, standing as a tried and true method of keeping cold air out. Insulation film is a plastic sheet affixed to the interior of your window with double-sided tape and then heated with a hair dryer to shrink it down to size and remove any wrinkles that may allow cold air to leak in. Insulation film is one of the most cost-effective ways of insulating windows, but comes with one major caveat – views are completely obstructed by the plastic film, and windows will not be accessible while the it is in place.

Draft stoppers
Another affordable but slightly less effective way of insulating windows for cold weather is to make use of draft stoppers. These can be quickly installed on the bottoms of windows and doors to lessen the flow of air leaks. Draft stoppers come in various shapes and sizes, acting as a cheap and dirty way to keep your home warmer until the spring. If your old drafty windows are making your winters more uncomfortable than necessary, it’s time for you to replace them. The winter is the perfect season to book your window replacement, as businesses become busier in the spring and summer, making it difficult to have your windows replaced before the cold weather comes around again. To book your free consultation with Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

How to Eliminate Winter Window Condensation

Interior window condensation is one of the most annoying things to accompany the arrival of the heating season, obstructing the view to the outside and causing homeowners to constantly have to wipe down their windows. During the cold winter months, some homeowners will find that condensation is produced on the inside of windows. This problem can be extremely damaging not only to the affected windows, but to everything around it. If you’re plagued by winter window condensation, there are a few ways you can reduce or eliminate this annoying problem.

What is interior window condensation and why is it a problem?
Condensation happens when water vapor or moisture in the air is turned into liquid water. It happens after interior air that has been able to warm up and hold more moisture cools down and contrasts, reaching a saturation point where the excess moisture turns into liquid water.

Condensation happens on windows so regularly because the warm air circulating around your home makes contact with cold window panes, causing the air to quickly cool and reach its saturation point, releasing excess moisture as liquid on the surface of the window. Condensation regularly happens on window exteriors, especially during more humid summer months – that condensation is considered to be normal, whereas excess interior window condensation is not.

Condensation on window interiors can quickly become a major problem for homeowners, as it means that there may be excessive moisture in your home. This can eventually cause problems that include mold growth on and around the window, as well as visible rot and decay around the windows. The unchecked spread of mold, rot, and decay can cause damage to your home and to the health of those within it. If this is not remedied, it can cause irreparable damage to the windows and surrounding parts of the home, demanding costly repairs.

Monitor internal humidity levels and adjust accordingly
One of the first steps in eliminating window condensation is to monitor the humidity in your home with a hygrometer, a device that allows you to easily gauge internal humidity levels. Being able to determine how much humidity is in your home is key to deciding how to tackle the problem. If your home contains higher than normal humidity levels, purchasing a dehumidifier is recommended, as it will regulate internal humidity levels which has been shown to reduce internal condensation on windows. If you have a modern thermostat in your home, it may come with a built-in humidity meter.

Lower the temperature
While it may seem counterintuitive to lower the temperature during the winter months, doing so will go a long way to reducing buildup of condensation on windows. Warm air in your home contains more moisture, so lower the thermostat by even a degree or two will greatly reduce its ability to carry excess moisture. If you can spare a couple degrees, lower the temperature inside will reduce some of the humidity and condensation.

Improve ventilation and seal leaks
Improving the ventilation is another major way to reduce condensation on windows. To do this, homeowners can run fans while using appliances like ovens or dryers, or even during showers. Unblocking covered or blocked vents is another way to improve the ventilation in your home – this can be done by moving furniture away from vents and cleaning ventilation covers to ensure that air can easily move around your entire house. Vents should be cleaned if you notice large amounts of dust, as dust can impair ventilation and reduce airflow.

Changing filters and monitoring filter health is another recommendation to improve air quality and ventilation. It’s also recommended that you seal any leaky ducts that may exist in your home, as these leaks are responsible for a huge amount of air loss from your home. Fixing these leaks can improve the flow of air and improve air circulation, reducing humidity and condensation. With the right strategy, your windows can be free of condensation this winter. The winter season provides the perfect opportunity for homeowners to install new windows in your Muskoka home or cottage. Not only will upgrading windows reduce interior condensation, they also work to prevent energy loss, keeping you more comfortable and increasing your home’s overall energy efficiency. To find out more about the high performance window products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

Where Am I Losing Heat In My Cottage?

Cottage owners around the Muskoka region are settling in for another long winter season. As the bitter cold moves in, the stress on our heating systems increases, usually bringing with it a significant rise in utility costs. The rise in heating costs can often be blamed on homes and cottages rapidly losing heat through a variety of sources, increasing the strain on your heating system and your wallet. Cottage owners can take proactive measures to pinpoint and correct sources of heat loss before the blistering weather arrives.

Roof and walls are two of the leading causes of heat loss
The roof and walls account for a combined total of around 60% of heat loss in your cottage. Rising heat escapes through leaks and holes in poorly insulated roofing, causing most experts to recommend that the roof be one of the first places you tackle when looking to eliminate heat loss. It can be curbed by insulating the roof, as well as by sealing any existing leaks or holes that are causing increased heat loss. It’s also a good idea to check out your attic’s ventilation (if you have one in your cottage, of course), as improper ventilation can cause too much heat to escape.

Your walls, which can account for 35% of total cottage heat loss, are a slightly more complicated problem. Heat loss through walls is often caused by overdue maintenance, typically clogged gutters and drains that cause walls to become damp and cold. Reinsulating walls is another recommendation for lessening heat loss, though it can come at a much higher cost than reinsulating the roof – because of this, it’s a good idea to eliminate other potential culprits first.

Leaks are one of the biggest causes of heat loss in your home
The potential percentages of heat loss through your walls and roof are calculated assuming that your windows and doors are in tip-top shape. The presence of leaks or drafts in your windows, doors, and walls are the primary cause of heat loss if you have them since they are a direct conduit to the cold – it’s estimated that up to 25% of heat is lost through drafts, windows, and doors. These drafts often go undetected because they can be extremely subtle – even the smallest gaps around windows and doors can become an uncontrolled source of heat loss.

Some of the biggest trouble spots in old homes and cottages are old or poorly installed doors and windows that have developed small gaps. When these leaks go unnoticed, they can let in as much cold air as a small hole in your wall. The recommended fix for drafts in windows, doors, and walls is to seal cracks with caulking and install weatherstripping around windows and doors, though this may prove to be only a temporary fix to a year-round problem.

High performance windows and doors can drastically reduce heat loss
While fixes like caulking and weatherstripping will do a decent amount to stop the loss of heat through draft windows and doors, the most effective long-term solution is to replace them. The majority of new windows are energy efficient, drastically reducing the amount of energy lost from your home.

Energy efficient windows save you money by keeping warm air inside during the winter months, and cool air during the summer, demanding less of your heating and cooling systems and keeping you more comfortable year round. Upgrading your windows and doors is an investment that continues to pay back year after year, not only saving you money, but keeping you from having to spend your time wrapping windows in plastic, installing weatherstripping, and sealing air leaks every single winter. The winter season is the perfect time to upgrade your home with new windows and doors, saving you money by eliminating heat loss in your cottage, and keeping you more comfortable all winter long. To find out more about the high performance window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.