7 Tips To Get Your Home Properly Insulated For A Midwest Winter

Winter can get downright frigid in the Midwest. If your home isn’t properly insulated it can cause your heating bills to skyrocket, and it can lead to expensive repairs if it causes physical damage to your home.

Here are a few things you can look at around your home to make sure that you (and your wallet!) survive the next Midwest winter.


Your attic should be the first place you start. Poor or inadequate insulation in your attic can lead to ice dams in your gutters and can cause your energy bill to skyrocket.

You can measure the effectiveness of your insulation in your attic after the largest snowfall of the year. If snow is melting more quickly on some portions of your roof than others, heat is escaping through your roof. The snow on your roof should melt based on the temperature outdoors, not in your home. Pay attention to the melted areas and add additional insulation.

Similarly, watch for large icicles forming on your gutters. These are ice dams and are an indication that the snow from your roof is melting and then refreezing in the gutter. If you find you need better insulation in your attic, we offer several different types of insulation with varying R-values to meet your needs.

Lastly, don’t forget to insulate above your attic access door!


Windows and doors are great during warmer months in the Midwest because they can let in refreshing air from outside. That’s not exactly ideal for winter, though. Windows are responsible for around 30% of the energy loss for homes in the United States, which makes them important to insulate.

There are a lot of signs that your windows and doors aren’t working as efficiently as they could be to keep the outdoors outside, but an easy one to spot is an air draft. A simple way to combat drafts on most new windows and doors is by putting a draft stopper in place to keep unwanted outside air from leaking in.

Check the exterior of your home around your windows and doors and fill any gaps with caulk to prevent air from entering your home. If you don’t have a storm door, consider adding one.


There’s a reason your parents installed plastic sheeting over their windows in the winter — glass on its own isn’t efficient at retaining heat.

Modern windows are commonly double panes and have an air gap — sometimes filled with an inert gas — that helps insulate better. But their biggest advantage is that they form a perfect seal, which keeps out moisture as well as air. While double-pane windows have been around since the 1930s, they’re not nearly as energy efficient as their modern counterparts.

Today, the average home in the U.S. was built in 1978, which means there are a lot of homes that likely don’t have newer, more efficient windows. By installing plastic sheeting in the winter, you’re adding an additional air gap and barrier to keep the cold air outside where it belongs. There are special kits available for easy interior installation, with pre-cut film for standard window sizes and usually include adhesive strips.

If you find that your windows need updating, we can help get you prepared before the flurries start flying!


Anyone who has sat in front of a window on a sunny day knows how warm that sunshine feels coming through the glass. In the winter, that sunshine translates to free heat.

If you have windows that receive a lot of sun during the day, not only will you be able to enjoy the mood enhancement of sunshine, but you’ll also get the boost of slightly warmed rooms.

However, if your windows don’t receive sun during the day, make sure to keep your blinds and/or curtains closed. The same is true for the rest of the windows in your home once the sun goes down. The thermal comfort of your rooms could be increased by as much as 10% simply by closing your blinds and curtains when there’s no sun!


No matter how efficient your furnace is, it won’t work properly if your air vents are blocked or covered.

Air is meant to recirculate throughout your home through return vents. Because return vents are installed either in the floor or where the wall and floor meet, they’re often blocked by furniture or other objects.

Do a quick sweep of every room in your house to make sure you’re not accidentally blocking your return vents. You may need to rearrange some furniture if they’re blocked.


The roof and walls of your home are not the only thing that needs insulating in your home.

A burst pipe is no fun during ideal weather conditions, but it’s downright miserable in the middle of a Midwest winter.

Installing insulation around your pipes is an excellent idea for anyone who lives in the Midwest. Not only does it reduce the amount of heat lost from your pipes, but it can also raise your water temperature between 2- and 4-degrees Fahrenheit. That can save you money on your heating bill, too!

Make sure to disconnect hoses from your exterior spigots before the weather starts turning cold. Water can get caught between your hose and spigot and burst your pipe. Worse, you might not find out about it until you try to use your outdoor spigots in the spring!


If you’ve got a working fireplace in your home, you’re going to need to make sure it’s properly winterized.

Make sure that your damper is able to open and close properly so you can use your fireplace on cold winter nights. It’s a good idea to have your chimney inspected before the weather turns cold in case it needs to be cleaned. If you don’t already have a screen installed on top of your chimney, put one on so that small animals won’t be able to crawl in.


Whether you need additional insulation in your attic or totally new windows or doors, Big C Lumber can help you get your home insulated for the winter. We offer expert window and door installation services in some of the areas we operate, contact us for more information.

Our team of knowledgeable experts is ready to help you find exactly the materials you need for your home. Visit our locations page to find one of our locations near you!