Anybody that has an older house knows what I’m talking about when the winter months settle in and the cold north wind starts to blow against their home. The house starts to whistle like an aging musician sitting in a rocking chair attempting to pass the time.
What your hearing is the wind finding holes in the house to penetrate; this air infiltration is moving at such a high speed that it whistles while it is passing through the small openings.
These openings are usually around windows and doors. There are other places that it will whistle around like dryer vents, exterior hose bibs, electrical sockets, the joint between an addition and the original building, the joint between where the framing meets the foundation and any holes or knots that might have appeared in older wooden siding materials.
These whistles are extremely cold air penetrating the house creating unwanted drafts, these drafts rapidly cool a house down and drive the heating bills up immensely.
But never fear there is a way to stop your house from whistling;
• Start by caulking any holes or cracks around the outside of the building. The more holes and cracks you find and fill the less chance air can penetrate the exterior of the building. The rule on old houses is that you can never caulk enough.
• Spray foam any area’s or use batt insulation where it is needed in larger cavities, especially in unfinished area’s like the basement or crawlspace. A lot of older homes where never insulated below the main house floor and you would probably be surprised how much air penetration there is down there.
• You need to insulate around all the windows and doors. To do this you need to remove the trim, once the trim on the inside of the building has been removed then you can insulate the space between the window and framing. The most effective way to do this is to use a handheld spray foam can, just make sure that you don't put to much in or your windows and doors could have trouble opening from the pressure of the foam.
• In older homes it might be better to replace the windows, if you have older windows then insulating and re-trimming them can be a waste of time and money. It might be more beneficial for you to spend the money to have new windows installed, they will help lower your heating bills and raise the value of your home for future resale.
• If you can’t afford to replace your windows or you simply do not have the time, then another cheaper option is too install heavy curtains over them. The curtains will help slow down the heat loss through the older windows and control the drafts that can turn a comfortable room into a cold unwelcoming place.
• If your home is anything but brick or stone then a great option is too to remove the exterior material and install a layer of polystyrene insulation over it. This insulation gives you not just the added value of stopping drafts but it also raises the R-value on the whole house, this saves you money on your heating bill and easily eliminates drafts that are hard to find. In some areas there are grants for doing this to help make your home more energy efficient.
Houses built today should never have whistle problems, if they do the contractor that constructed them did not take the time to do the job properly or used an inferior product that failed.
Good luck with the whistling.
Village Builders Inc.