With the coldest times of the year approaching, you need to start thinking about protecting your property. Frost is a particularly widespread hazard that can damage both your garden and your home. Here’s a bit more information about how frost works and what you can do to keep your space safe this winter.
What Is Frost?
Sure, you’re probably familiar with what frost is — that thin frozen layer of ice that forms on exterior surfaces on a cold night. Scientifically, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Frost forms because the water vapor in the air gets chilled past the dew point. When this happens, the vapor changes into a liquid form. However, because it’s so cold outside, this liquid quickly freezes into tiny bits of ice — the tell-tale crystal array you’re used to seeing on wintry mornings.
Usually, frost is more common in low-lying areas because hot air rises and cool air sinks. While there are several kinds of frost, the two that are probably the biggest threats to your home are radiation frost and window frost. Radiation frost is the standard ice crystals that form on exterior surfaces on cold days, while window frost is when the glass of your windows gets so cold, frost starts to form.
Ways to Stop Frost From Destroying Your Property
To avoid frost in your attic:
- Seal any air leaks, as this is how cold air gets inside. Caulk any cracks or add weather stripping to gaps.
- Reduce indoor humidity, as this provides moisture that can freeze. Do this by installing exhaust fans, using a dehumidifier, or adding a heat recovery ventilation system.
- Reduce house pressure by sealing up holes in your furnace’s ductwork.
To avoid frost on your windows:
- Eliminate window condensation by installing bathroom vents, limiting how long you boil water on the stove, or keeping your indoor temperature a little lower.
- Seal any cracks or gaps in your window frames using caulking or weather stripping.
- Spray de-icer along the outside of the window on cold days to prevent frost from freezing the window shut.
- Use plastic shrink wrap on the inside of your window to help insulate it.
To avoid frost on your plants:
- Cover your outdoor plants with horticultural fleece to keep them warm when frost is predicted.
- Use a thick layer of mulch around the roots of shrubs and other perennials to limit how much the ground can freeze.
- Move your plants indoors or to a sunny spot against a south-facing wall so they’ll get a healthy dose of sun in the morning.
These are just a few tips and tricks to protect yourself from frost. What other suggestions do you have to keep your property safe during chilly weather?
“Frost damage.” RHS. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=704.
Rutledge, Kim, et al. “Frost.” National Geographic. 6 Sept. 2011. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/frost/.
Saltzman, Reuben. “How to Prevent Frost in the Attic.” StarTribune. 19 Dec. 2013. http://www.startribune.com/how-to-prevent-frost-in-the-attic/236530961/.
Tucker, Kristine. “Tips for Keeping House Windows From Freezing.” Home Guides | SF Gate. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/tips-keeping-house-windows-freezing-23946.html.