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Energy Crisis Checklist: Preparing Your Home for Winter with Insulated Maintenance Free Siding

Whether its foam backed Vinyl, James Hardie Fiber Cement or Everlast Composite Siding- it’s all about keeping your home warm this winter.  Read on to learn why insulated siding is the way to go!

Have you heard about Farmer’s Almanac bone-chilling weather predictions for this winter? It’s going to be intensely cold with a lot of snow, especially through January and February. To make matters worse, we are in the midst of an energy crisis with gas and electric rates increasing from 39%-50%.  It’s time to act NOW.  Some areas are expected to see frequent snowfalls, followed by bitter arctic air plunging temperatures to levels not seen in several years.  Forecasts are predicting the first “bite of winter” to come earlier than last year with frigid temperatures.  “The big takeaway for our winter season forecast,” according to USA Today [1], “is that frigid temperatures should flow into the Northeast where homeowners will certainly be shaking and shivering!” Read on to prepare your home and protect your wallet.

The good news is that you can prepare your home for Winter with insulated maintenance free siding, crafted from quality vinyl that lasts a lifetime.

Can maintenance-free siding help reduce your energy bills this year? Consider this checklist for key performance, overviewing warning signs that your current cladding won’t offer proper protection.

Not having a properly insulated home will result in high energy bills as electricity spikes up to 50%, and oil prices are 2.5 times since last winter-62% increase and natural gas is up by 39%.  According to the Boston Herald [2], In just a few short months, we’re going to be facing a harsh winter in New England,” state Rep. Nicholas Boldyga, R-Southwick, For me, I know that every time I go to fill my oil tank, it’s about $500. That was before inflation.  “This fall, it’s going to cost me close to $1,300 to fill my oil tank, and I’m worried about it. I know that my family is going to struggle to fill our oil tank and put heating in and heat our home.”

Rotted or Warped Siding

Energy Crisis Checklist

If you spot warped or rotted siding on your exterior, you’ll need to determine the extent of moisture damage to the underlayer. Taking a screwdriver, push down into the siding to see how much resistance (if any) the siding gives. If the screwdriver sinks right through the panel, you have a serious case of rot on your hands. If the layer under a home’s siding has begun to rot or become soft, that is a sure sign that the home’s siding is due for immediate replacement

Rotting siding does not provide an insulating barrier against the elements. Moisture damage will continue to get worse over time, especially as frigid winter settles over New England with plenty of ice, snow, and freezing rain to cause further damage.

Vinyl siding is maintenance-free [3]and moisture proof. Unlike wood siding, vinyl is not susceptible to rot, keeping an insulating layer against the elements while your home remains warm.

Loose or Cracked Siding Panels

Energy Crisis Checklist

Loose and cracked siding panels are more than just an eyesore. The panels may be hiding damage underneath, since loose panels are typically knocked out of place by strong winds or an object hitting the siding.

Take a peek under the panels to find out what is going on. You may find moisture damage, or even termite damage underneath. Not to mention, panels flapping in the wind won’t help conserve energy during the winter months. Heat will escape through the wood studs without any barrier or insulation.

Check any layers underneath broken or cracked siding to make certain that there has not been additional, and possibly extensive, damage that will need to be repaired. Cracked, broken, or loose pieces of siding must be removed and replaced. Otherwise, water may seep behind those pieces of siding and potentially cause severe (and expensive) problems down the line.

Bubbled and Blistered Siding

Energy Crisis Checklist

Bubbled siding is a clear sign of moisture damage. It means that moisture is seeping behind the panels and settling in, causing the panels to boast a bubble pattern.

Not to burst your bubble, but bubbled siding is a major sign that replacement is in order. The paint is separating from the underlying surface. Not only can moisture be a culprit for bubbling and blistering, but so can heat.

Regardless of the cause, the structural integrity of your siding is suffering if you find signs of bubbling and blistering paint. Keep in mind that Accuweather and the Farmers’ Almanac is predicting one of the coldest winters we’ve seen in years with several winter whopper snow storms, allowing moisture damage to run rampant. New vinyl siding panels are engineered to maintain their structural integrity for life without being susceptible to moisture damage.

One almost certain sign that a home needs new siding is the presence of bubbles just under the surface of the siding. Bubbles are an almost certain indication that water has become trapped. Any indication of water trapped on or under the siding is an immediate red flag. The one thing that siding is meant to do is to keep moisture away from the walls under the siding.

Mold and Mildew Growth

Energy Crisis Checklist

Mold and mildew growth is another sign of moisture damage to your exterior cladding. Mold and mildew can be prevalent on wood siding since it’s an organic material. Allowing mold to grow and flourish [4], especially under the panels, can pose major problems such as breaking down the material of your cladding.

Any type of growth such as fungus, mold, or mildew on a home’s siding, especially at or near seams in the siding, may indicate that water is penetrating it and being held inside the wall, where it is slowly released once again, causing unwanted growth. While not all signs of fungus, mold, or mildew on siding is a cause for alarm, such growth should be cause to investigate further.

Looking for a real life example? This video on our YouTube channel shows a client who had a moldy exterior [5]. Upgrading to new vinyl siding transformed their curb appeal while bringing all the benefits of maintenance free siding, including energy savings and insulation for the cold months.

Keep in mind that vinyl siding is a big part of the equation for preventing mold growth. However, house wrap [6] acts as a moisture proof barrier that prevents mold growth as well.

Sealing Your Home’s Thermal Envelope

Energy Crisis Checklist

Your home’s thermal envelope [7] consists of several components, including your exterior cladding. Think of the thermal envelope as the heat flow control layer of your home [8]. It helps heat from escaping while keeping a comfortable indoor environment through the winter months.

Unfortunately, over 30% of your home’s energy can escape through the walls [9]. This includes gaps and cracks in the exterior as well as the wood studs. This is why insulated vinyl siding is a smart investment. Insulated siding improves energy efficiency by reducing thermal bridging acting as a blanket-continuous insulation over the studs, which helps homes stay cool in summer and warm in winter.

Poorly performing siding and low grade wall insulation can be a prime cause for excess heating and cooling bills. If a visual inspection of the siding (as well as the seams where it meets the roof) indicates that heating or cooling could be escaping through the siding, then it’s time to act now before the bitter forecasted Winter weather comes,

House wrap can help in terms of sealing the thermal envelope. This is because house wrap helps block drafts that can otherwise make your home feel cold and uncomfortable.

Be Prepared for the Energy Crisis: Choose Insulated Maintenance Free Siding

Insulated vinyl is a maintenance free siding option. It can help offset high energy bills caused by the spike in electricity and natural gas. The upcoming bone-chilling weather is no match for our quality insulated siding, maintenance-free and designed to protect your home for life. Click HERE [10] to see how we can help!