In Deutch




Heat winterproofing a home


Housing shortages, in many cases, force a great number of families to purchase homes which were never built or intended for winter occupancy.

As a general rule, these houses are rather flimsily built, lacking insulation, central heating and other major items which are normally found in a house built for year-around living.

There are several things that can be done to such a house to make it considerably more comfortable during the cold weather, and many of these improvements can be done by the home mechanic in his spare time.

One question he must decide for himself is how thorough a job to do. If he owns the house and plans to use it as his home for many years, then it would certainly be worth his while to do as complete a job as possible. If he merely rents the house and is unable to get sufficient cooperation from his landlord, then his interest is to make the house as livable as possible-but at a minimum cost.

Many summer cottages are so flimsily and jerry-built that the problem of heating begins with making the exterior walls and roof airtight or at least plugging up some of the obvious cracks in the siding.

One quick and rather inexpensive way of doing this is by tacking sheets of heavy waterproof paper on the outside and covering these with composition siding, such as asphalt designed to resemble red bricks.

This comes in rolls and is easily nailed on. A somewhat more expensive, but certainly more attractive method, is to use wood shingles over the waterproof paper. This work can be done during spare time over the course of a summer and will insure the outside walls being air tight.

More heat escapes through the roof of a house than at any other point, so steps must be taken to reduce this loss as much as is possible. If it is possible to get at the under side of the roof or the floor of the attic, then insulation applied here will give the best results (see insulation).

Many cottages, however, have no attic or even sufficient space under the roof to allow this work to be done. One alternative measure would be to cover the ceiling with insulation board. The other would be to put down another layer of roofing which would serve in some degree as insulation as well as make the poorly constructed roof watertight.

Many summer cottages do not have basements and, in fact, do not even have complete foundations, the structure being supported on blocks or posts at the corners. In a case like this cold winds will blow under the house and if there are any openings or cracks in the flooring, and there usually are, cold air will be constantly displacing the warm air in the house. There are practicable ways to deal with a situation of this sort.

One is to build foundation walls of stone, brick or cement blocks around the house. Wood should not be used for this purpose as the lower portion would rot from contact with the damp ground. By building foundations around the entire house, cold winds would not be able to blow up through the floor, and the task of insulating the plumbing would be easier because the still air would not drop to the same temperature as the outside air. When putting in such foundations, a concrete footing should be put down first and this must be below the frost line.

After this has set hard, the wall is built on top of it. Allow space in the wall for windows, because during the summer months you'll want some ventilation under the flooring to prevent excessive moisture collecting here and possibly rotting the under portion of the floor boards.

Before the foundations are laid, a thought should be given to a heating plant. There are several brands of gas and oil floor furnaces that require no basement. These are secured to the underside of the floor with strong fasteners, and a register forming the top of the furnace set in a mortise cut the full depth of the flooring.

These are comparatively inexpensive plants, producing considerable heat and equipped with automatic controls.

Should the homeowner contemplate having such a furnace installed, the installation should be done before the foundation walls are put in. It may be necessary to dig out under the house for the furnace, and if the sides are enclosed, this is all the more difficult. Also some sort of flue or chimney will be required and this will be connected to the furnace and run under the floor to the outside air. The flue can run up the side of the house or into a chimney.

If building up around the bottom of the house is not practical, or under existing circumstances, impossible, the under portion of the floor can be covered with insulation and this in turn covered with waterproof paper to protect it from dampness. This insulation will do a lot towards keeping the floors free of drafts.

Water pipes set in the ground below the frost line will not freeze but those exposed to the weather will, unless insulated.

As a precaution against severe cold weather freezing the pipes in spite of the insulation, it is a good idea to have a plumber install some conveniently located valves at low points in the system so that the plumbing can be quickly drained.

Heating a home



  • Boilers
  • Chimneys
  • Coal furnace
  • Condensation
  • Fireplaces
  • Fuel economy
  • Furnace damper
  • Heat loss
  • Home insulating
  • Hot water
  • Insulation
  • Oil burners
  • Maintenance
  • Radiators
  • Regulators
  • Steam heating
  • Thermostat
  • Warm air
  • Winterproofing
  • Wood burning
  • Home Construction