Minnesota natives are used to the bone-chilling, negative fifty-degree temperatures winter brings. They don’t bat an eye at the weeklong periods in which they can’t even leave the house! Buckling down and preparing well ahead of time for the cold is somewhat of a cultural norm.
However, for the uninitiated, Minnesota winters can hit fast and hard in more ways than one. Sure, it might be shocking for you to look outside one day in October to see it's snowing, but imagine what the toll is for your unprepared home.
Preparing your home for winter? Yes, that’s a thing in Minnesota. Below, Midwest Exteriors MN, a Lake Elmo roofing contractor and provider of roofing and siding installation services, discusses why proper preparation of your home for winter is necessary in this frigid state and how to do it.
Winterization: A Fancy Word with a Basic Meaning
To prepare your home for winter is to “winterize” it. In Minnesota, winterization tends to focus on preparing for the rapid plunging of temperatures and increase in precipitation (namely snow and ice) that we tend to see in the colder months.
Here, we’ll only be talking about home winterization, but the term is used in the context of pools, boats, campers, lawns, and diesel vehicles.
Who Needs to Winterize? When?
Everyone who lives here! Unlivable temperatures and loads of snow, unfortunately, don’t discriminate. However, a thorough winterization is especially important for the following:
● Snowbirds. These are people who, for the warmer part of the year, live in a more Northern climate, but flee to the south during winter. As a result, one residence they own is always left vacant.
Because they are away from their homes for such a long period of time, extra preparation is necessary. After all, if something breaks due to poor preparation, they won’t find it until spring—at which point it could have rapidly spiraled out of control!
● HOAs. Maintaining high property values and building community are what HOAs do best. However, it’s hard to both look good and keep community morale high when your residents are drowned in roofing repair fees in the springtime or astronomical energy bills from improper siding installation!
Preventive replacement in the form of winterization is often much cheaper; it is oftentimes a must for HOAs.
● Those who are selling their home. Selling your home is stressful enough, but it’s even more stressful if something crucial breaks in the middle of winter. You’re then forced to schedule showings around replacement crews and to pay even more out of pocket to get your house ready to sell.
Moreover, a well-taken-care-of house is definitely more attractive to buyers in the first place, and many winterization processes, such as window replacement, have the added bonus of boosting curb appeal.
When to winterize? Now, of course! The fall months, before the first frost, are when you should begin the actual work of preparing for winter. Working outside in below-zero temperatures is not only a drag but also downright dangerous. Hypothermia and frostbite are serious concerns here, as any Minnesotans will tell you.
How to Winterize
● Trim your trees. We’ve discussed the need for this in a previous blog post of ours, but in short, keeping your trees cut back behind the roof line stops critters from nesting there and saves you the mechanical damage, should a storm come through and rip those branches off.
● Opt for roof replacement if needed. Ever heard of ice dams? In short, they’re ridges of ice that form at the edges of the roof and prevent melted snow from draining. This can lead to anything from mildew forming in your house to your roof collapsing due to the increased snow load.
Newer construction codes are written to help prevent ice dams, so if your roof is older, roof replacement might be the most cost-effective and safe option.
● Clean and clean again. We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but a brisk autumn clean is also necessary to ward off pests. Patch up holes in your home’s exterior that animals could use for nesting, and don’t forget to check the weather stripping on your front door.
● Gutter Inspection. If you haven’t had your gutters looked at in a couple years, gutter inspection may help you know if you need to have your gutters realigned, replaced, or even add extensions to them!
Gutter winterization is important as they are directly exposed to all the harsh elements of the winter, and are a vital part of channeling moisture away from your roofing and siding. During an inspection, Midwest Exteriors MN will let you know just what your gutters need to survive the Minnesota cold.
● Sealing Cracks. Be sure to look around your home for any cracks that may expose your home to extra cold air or moisture. You can use caulk and holes or openings before the winter to avoid extra exterior damage. Seal those cracks before the freezing temperatures hit this winter!
● Proper Pipe Protection. Pipes are susceptible to freezing, and sometimes even bursting. To avoid major pipe damage, there are a few ways to take care of your pipes. Adding insulation to any exposed pipes should be the first order of care. Exposed pipes can sometimes be found in crawl spaces or attics.
Heat tape or cable is another way to winterize your pipes to keep them warm this winter. Unsure where to start? Midwest Exteriors MN can provide you with the proper care instructions to winterize your pipes before the cold Minnesota winters.
● Keep It Cozy All Winter Long. Although it may seem like a more obvious solution, keeping the temperature of your home at or above 65 degrees fahrenheit can help ease how hard your home is working to keep warmth in. Be sure to double check your thermostat is working properly before the winter hits.
Nothing worse than dealing with a cold home that can’t keep warm! Stay cozy this winter by keeping your home warm and insulated!
Overwhelmed? Contact the Professionals at Midwest Exteriors MN
Winterization isn’t easy, even for the seasoned Minnesotan. If you’re not sure how to begin, or if your home needs serious replacements, give Midwest Exteriors MN a call today at 651-346-9477 or contact us online.