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The Home Depot

Why Is My House So Cold?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Heating & Cooling > Why Is My House So Cold?
Why Is My House So Cold?

When the winter winds blow and the temperature dips uncomfortably, a warm and snug house makes it all bearable. Curling up indoors, watching the snow fly, can be a pleasant way to survive the winter. Unfortunately, sometimes a house doesn’t feel snug and cozy and you fight to stay warm indoors during the winter.


The Energy Star website has some helpful tips and advice for homeowners struggling to keep a house warm during the winter. There are common problems and solutions that exist in many homes. For example, sometimes you may notice that your floors do not stay warm in the winter, due to insufficient insulation or the type of flooring material you have.


By resolving the reasons for your house feeling so cold, you should not only feel more comfortable in your home, but you should also save money on heating expenses.

  1. 1.Insulation Problems

    In homes without sufficient amounts of insulation, it’s common to experience issues with heat loss, drafts and uncomfortable winter interior temperatures. Generally, the minimum amount of insulation recommended in the attic is 6 inches. For walls, you should add as much insulation as you can fit within the space beyond the drywall and the outer wall. Floors require a minimum of 6 inches also.

  2. 2.Window Cracks

    As much as one-third of a home’s heat loss occurs at windows and doors. Although windows can be beneficial for emitting natural light, they can be devastating for your home’s comfort level if they have gaps and cracks. Even if you cannot afford to replace old windows, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency significantly by sealing and insulating around the windows. Check around windows to find any drafts occurring from cracks. If you find cracks at the window edges, seal the cracks with caulk.

  3. 3.Door Cracks

    Similar to window crack issues, door cracks can also be a significant source of heat loss in a home. Check around door frames to doors leading outside. If you find cracks around the frames, seal them with caulk to prevent heat loss in your home. Another option is to apply weather stripping around doors to seal cracks.

  4. 4.Broken Heating System

    A furnace or heating system that is not operating sufficiently or efficiently can create a chilly home environment. Before the beginning of every heating season, schedule an appointment with a furnace professional to come to your home and inspect the furnace. The professional will perform maintenance on the furnace to keep it operating efficiently. Some repairs can be easily completed by you. To learn more see, How to Repair a Furnace.

  5. 5.Blocked Sun

    The sun can be an effective means of adding heat to a home. If you have large and tall trees around your home, you may notice that the shade from the trees stops sun from entering your home’s windows. Before you proceed with removing trees, think carefully about the long-range effects of the lack of trees, however. Trees can be effective wind blocks for a home, preventing cold winds from penetrating through to the inside of the home. Trees can also provide beneficial shade during the cooling season, which could increase your home’s cooling costs. You may find you need to run the air conditioner more often and for longer times if you do not have shade trees providing beneficial summer shade.


    Consider installing window awnings during the summer to block sun. During the winter, you could remove the awnings to allow sun to enter the home.

  6. 6.Plug Gaps

    You have several options for plugging gaps in your home where cold air is entering and where warm air is exiting. Latex or silicone caulk can be effective for sealing gaps and preventing leaks. Urethane foam, available in pressurized cans, is simple to apply to gaps. Insert the nozzle of the can into the crack and apply the foam in a thin layer. The foam will expand to fill the crack.

  7. 7.Keep All Windows Closed

    Although it might seem obvious, open windows during the winter can be a significant source of heat loss. Check each window carefully to ensure they are all closed tightly. Close storm windows tightly as well. Double-hung windows often lower from the top and rise from the bottom. Make sure that the windows are closed at both the tops and bottoms for the tightest seal against cold winter air.


    If your windows still feel drafty and chilly, even after closing them with storm windows, you might add an extra layer of insulation with warm window coverings. Window coverings that can seal out cold air attractively include insulated drapes, quilted Roman shades, shutters and honeycomb shades. While each window covering is different, they all can seal out drafts attractively to complement whatever interior design and style you have in a room.

  8. 8.Change Insulation

    Sometimes insulation needs replacing in a home. Insulation can become contaminated by rodents, covered by debris, damaged by moisture or it may simply be outdated and ineffective. When this occurs, you may need to hire a professional to remove the existing insulation. Professionals have special equipment that can pull existing insulation out from wall spaces, attics and from beneath floors. Although performing this work yourself may seem possible, without experience and proper equipment, you may create more issues and messes as you try to remove the old insulation.


    Once you have the old insulation out, careful clean-up will be necessary to ensure that you prepare the area for new insulation. This is especially important if your old insulation was contaminated by rodents. After cleaning, it is time to replace the insulation with the new insulation, ensuring that you use the proper depth and type of insulation for the area you are insulating.


    While winter weather can be challenging, with a little time and effort, you can work to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Not only will your home be cozier and more pleasant, your monthly heating expenses will also be more comfortable for your pocketbook. As you troubleshoot and work on your home, don’t forget to visit the Red Beacon website for more helpful guidance and information on energy efficiency.

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