Fall Maintenance Tips

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Welp, the temperature’s dropping and the trees are giving us a preview of their fall colors. The season-that-must-not-be-named is just around the corner, so while we’re all scrambling to squeeze in the last of our summer fun, we’re also talking about getting our homes ready for - eek! - winter. (Wait! What happens if you actually name it???)

Anyway. Fall home tips! We’re always discovering new things, so here are three fall maintenance tasks that we’ve learned about in the last year. Enjoy!

Matt’s Tip: Keep out uninvited guests.

During our cold winters and wet springs, cracks and holes can open up around homes every year, and that means new entry points for mice. Now’s the time to call up a good pest control agency to find and seal any holes where the critters might get in. When we purchased our home last year, it came with a transferable 2-year warranty from BOGO Pest Control. So when we found a mouse in the basement, we called BOGO right away. They came out and did a full inspection. Aside from sealing up two new entry points, the inspector also looked around for where the mice might be coming from in the first place. We have a lot of bushes and vegetation around our foundation, which could be nice rodent homes. But the inspector pointed to the unused wood pile next to our garage. It had been sitting there for so long that it was covered in moss and the stuff on the bottom was turning into compost. The inspector was positive they were coming from the wood pile. So I went and bought myself a fire pit and have been working on “cleaning up” the wood pile. So far, so good with the mouse problem…and we’ve got a great excuse to spend these cooler evenings around the fire pit.

Amanda’s Tip: Know where your water shut-offs are for your outdoor faucets.

After we moved in to our house last year, we had one really cold night earlier than normal in the fall. We thought we had shut off our outdoor faucets for the season, but when I walked out of the front door the next morning (thinking it might be a good day to fill the hot tub), there was water spraying through the porch floorboards! Turns out that there was uninsulated copper pipe running underneath the porch, and the temperature overnight had dropped enough to freeze the water and burst the pipe. I ran to the basement and was able to find the forgotten shutoff in record time. Due to the weather, we decided to wait until spring to get it fixed (I was able to fill the hot tub from another spigot, thankfully). So when spring came around I called up True Blue Plumbing. I always recommend True Blue if you live in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities - they are courteous, they clean up nicely after each job, and their prices are great!

Jessie’s Tip: Maximize the sunlight and minimize the drafts.

Step 1: Call me if you’d rather spend the winter on the Gulf Coast of Florida! :)

Seriously, though, even if you’re snowbirding like me, you’ll still want to give your windows here in Minnesota a little TLC to make sure they’re ready for the winter before you leave. And if you dare to stay, there are a few things you can do to help keep your home bright, warm, and efficient as possible through the winter months.

  1. Clean all the windows and remove the screens to bring in as much natural light as possible. You don’t need screens during the winter months, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much brighter your windows will seem without them.

  2. Storm windows: if they’re not on, get them on! They are huge energy conservers, and you won’t have to put as much work into cleaning your windows in the spring.

  3. Seal it up! Caulk and seal around exterior door and window frames. For inside, try plastic covering such as 3M Window Insulator Kits, which are especially nice if you have single-pane windows. Another good product is Dap Seal N’ Peel Removable Caulk, which can be used around the edges of windows and frames of interior storm windows, and inside the regular windows as well. It’s easy to apply and it peels off in the spring.

And remember, when it gets cold here, Florida awaits!

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