Homeowners are facing a lot of financial ups and downs in this economy, so protecting the value of the largest asset you own is crucial.
Seasonal care of your property is just the beginning of protecting home values.
While owning a home in Minnesota is cheaper (14% less)
than the national average, it presents its unique challenges, particularly the
changing seasons. For instance, the harsh winters and unpredictable weather can
take a toll on your property, leading to expensive repairs and insurance claims
if not adequately maintained.
The amount of labor expenses and materials in repairing a
Minnesotan home has consistently risen in recent years. Unfortunately, there
are no indications that the costs will go down anytime soon. As you might
expect, the ballooning trend will strain your budget if you are not careful.
So, you might have to roll up your sleeves and do some DIY
preventive measures to avoid messing up your home budget.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through essential
seasonal maintenance tasks to help you protect your home and save money in the
long run. We've got you covered, from outdoor pools and hot tubs to roof
1. Outdoor Pools and Hot Tubs Maintenance and Winterizing
Minnesota winters can be brutal, and outdoor pools and hot tubs
are vulnerable to damage if not properly winterized. Here's what you need to
Clean and Balance: Before
winterizing, ensure your pool or hot tub is clean and chemically balanced.
Drain and Winterize: Drain the
water to the appropriate level and use a winterizing kit to prevent freezing
damage. Cover them securely with a durable pool cover.
Regular Inspections: Check
for cracks or leaks that need repair during the off-season.
2. Irrigation Systems
Proper irrigation system maintenance is crucial to prevent
Fall Blowout: Before the first frost, hire a professional to
blow out the sprinkler system to remove water and prevent frozen pipes.
Check for Leaks: Regularly inspect for leaks or damaged pipes
and fix them promptly.
Programming Adjustments: Adjust the programming to reduce water
usage in the fall and winter months.
3. Downspouts, Gutters, and Roof
Maintaining a clean and functional roof and gutter system is
essential to prevent water damage:
Clear Debris: Clean gutters and downspouts regularly, especially
before winter, to prevent ice dams.
Inspect for Damage: Check for roof damage, missing shingles, or
deteriorating flashing. Repair as needed.
Ice Dam Prevention: Install ice dam prevention measures like
roof heating cables or adequate insulation.
4. Outdoor Plumbing Fixtures
Avoid overlooking outdoor plumbing fixtures like water spigots,
garage plumbing, and pipes to garden ponds:
Winterize Outdoor Faucets: Turn off outdoor water sources,
disconnect hoses, and insulate spigots to prevent freezing.
Garage Plumbing: Insulate pipes in unheated garages or consider
installing a heating system to protect them from freezing.
Garden Pond Pipes: Drain garden ponds and disconnect pumps to
prevent freezing damage.
5. Sewer Lines
Sewer line issues can be costly and messy. Prevent problems with
Regular Inspection: Periodically examine sewer lines for
blockages, tree root intrusion, or other issues.
Professional Maintenance: Consider professional sewer line
cleaning and maintenance.
6. Septic Tanks
If your property has a septic tank, proper maintenance is
Regular Pumping: Schedule regular septic tank pumping as
recommended by a professional.
Avoid Overloading: Be mindful of water usage and avoid flushing
7. Sidewalk Maintenance
Keeping your sidewalks in good condition is essential for
Debris Removal: Clean debris from sidewalks before the first
frost, snow, or ice to prevent slipping hazards.
Status Check: Examine the pavement for cracks and fissures,
which may indicate a bigger (read: more expensive) problem.
8. Roof/Attic Insulation
Maintaining proper insulation can save you money on energy bills
and prevent issues:
Review Insulation: Check your attic insulation for damage and
Replace/Replenish: Replace or replenish insulation as needed to
maintain energy efficiency.
Avoid Over-Insulation: Be cautious about over-insulating as it
can cause ventilation problems. Consult with a professional for guidance.
9. Window and Door Weather Stripping
Proper weather stripping can improve energy efficiency:
Inspect and Replace: Regularly inspect and replace worn or
damaged weather stripping around windows and doors.
Check: Inspect the glass panes for any foggy portions, as these
typically indicate broken seals.
Seal: Use foam insulation, caulk, or even fiberglass to fill the
gaps and cracks.
10. Furnace and HVAC
Even if your furnace seems to be behaving accordingly, the last
thing you need is for it to break down at zero temperatures.
Inspect and Replace: Your air filters must be thoroughly examined
so that air will move through your home unobstructed.
Check: Get a professional to diagnose your HVAC, ensuring that
they also go through the exhaust and vents to remove junk and debris.
Clear: Remove debris, vegetation, and obstructions around the
outdoor units that bring in air to guarantee adequate airflow.
For snowbirds who regularly leave their homes for a warmer
climate, it’s critical to create a checklist to avoid an expensive disaster
when they return.
1. Avoid Frozen Pipes
Frozen water expands, which may break your pipes. The Red Crossrecommends
that you leave exposed faucets continuously trickling, at least slightly, to
keep them from freezing.
Ask a family member or someone you trust to keep the thermostat at
55° F or higher. Even if you pay a higher electricity bill, you still save a
lot more than replacing broken pipes.
Turn the faucets off if you are connected to the city sewer.
2. Do not empty your pool
You may come across a piece of advice that suggests you must drain
your pool while you are out for a prolonged period, but this is a bad
idea. When your pool is properly winterized, you help protect the pool liner — keeping it clean and preventing unnecessary damage from debris and harsh winter weather.
Instead, drain the heat pump to eliminate excess water and drain below the jets and skimmer to avoid plumbing damage.
While it has nothing to do with preventive maintenance and
repairs, it’s critical that you take extra precautions to avoid being
victimized by prowlers and burglars.
Ask a neighbor or relative to check in on your home routinely while you're away.
Hire someone to remove snow from your driveway or sidewalk. Thick
snow is a dead giveaway that your home is currently unoccupied.
Invest in advanced security systems, including motion-sensitive
cameras, allowing you to monitor your home through your mobile phone.
By following these seasonal maintenance and repair tips for your
Minnesota home, you can avoid costly repairs and insurance claims in the long
Remember that preventative maintenance is critical to keeping your
property in top condition throughout the changing seasons. Stay proactive, and
your home will thank you with years of comfort and cost savings.