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.