When our calendar reaches the winter months and temperatures begin to drop, we immediately locate our thickest, warmest coats and our comfy knit hats, scarves, gloves, and boots designed to handle the elements. Just like we brace ourselves, our family members, and our pets for the chilly impact, it’s wise to make sure that our homes are prepared to handle the winter weather as well. With a few key steps, you can ensure that your home continues to operate as efficiently as possible until temperatures rise again! Here are some valuable tips on winterizing your brick home:
The Value of Brick – Thankfully, brick’s natural thermal mass properties and ability to absorb, retain, and release heat, mean that it will take less energy to heat your brick homes during the winter. If your brick home is a relatively new build, there’s a good chance that you will not have any cracks in the brick mortar. Since brick has an over 100-year lifespan and the mortar used has a shorter lifespan, prized older homes built with brick can experience tuck-pointing issues.
In this case, the mortar joints can deteriorate over decades as the home settles and tuck-pointing will prevent water and snow from seeping into the wood behind the brick. This can especially affect an older brick chimney so try to identify any gaps early and ensure that any new mortar seals properly to effectively keep moisture out.
Brick Chimney Care – Speaking of brick chimneys, it’s also wise to make sure that your favorite heat source is ready to roar during the winter months! If you live in a climate that experiences heavy snowfall every year, small cracks and fissures in the masonry and mortar caused by moisture can expand over time. Hiring a chimney care specialist to inspect your brick chimney can identify any cracks, damage to the chimney cap, flue damage, staining, or rust. You may even want to explore with your care specialist applying a waterproof agent to seal out moisture and prevent any future damage from freezing and thawing. This chimney care early will ensure peak performance during extreme temperatures when you need the heat the most!
Maximize Energy Efficiency – After your brick masonry is inspected and in top shape for the winter months, maximize the energy efficiency of your home to keep even more warmth inside. Eliminating air leaks will reduce your energy bill and keep things toasty indoors. Make sure that any gaps from your windows and doors are sealed effectively with weather-stripping that’s in great condition. If you notice that you are still experiencing drafts, it may be time to invest in new windows- one of the biggest culprits of warm air escaping the home! No matter what the age of your brick home is, updating the windows when needed will make a major impact on the energy efficiency during the winter.
Minimize Moisture – Now that the structure of your brick home is prepared to resist the cold, it’s time to prepare for the inevitable winter moisture and the complications that can arise from freezing and thawing. It’s recommended to flush your hot water heater to clear sediment build-up that reduces the heating efficiency of your tank. If you don’t have any experience in flushing water through the drain valve, it’s wise to hire a professional to learn the process. Your water heater will refill itself and end up saving you money on heating costs. Similarly, if your gutters have clogged up with dirt, leaves, and debris over the year, it’s important to clean them in advance of winter weather. If rainwater and snow cannot flow and drain properly, it can spill out and pour over your house. When freezing temperatures strike, this can lead to icicles, ice dams, and icy front steps and pathways that all present injury hazards. This unhelpful runoff can also deteriorate the ground around your home. Make sure your gutters are cleared out to minimize winter moisture.
With proper winterization steps, your brick home will serve your family admirably until spring comes back around. For all of your brick needs this winter, be sure to visit our North Georgia Brick website and pay a visit to our brick experts in our Cartersville or Cumming showrooms. Take your proper home care steps, start a fire in your pristine chimney, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and snuggle up with your loved ones. It may be cold outside, but your home is full of warmth and comfort indoors!