Frost covered leaves

There is cold weather coming and there’s no way of stopping it. In fact we’ve already  hit lows in the 30’s and its only the middle of September. You can curse and grumble all you want but the reality is summer has come and gone. Now is the time to start getting your home ready to take on the cold Minnesota winter. Here are  a few easy tips to help combat the effects of winter on your home.

1) Drain your outside faucet

When the temps are consistently reaching the freezing mark at night you need to drain your outside faucet line. Doing this prevents your water line that supplies your outside faucet from freezing and bursting during the cold winter months. Most outside faucets should have a shut-off valve inside on the water supply line. It will look something like the valve pictured below. Start by getting a bucket to catch the water. Shut the valve off supplying the water to the outside faucet. Next go and open up the outside spigot to prevent an airlock in the line. Then go inside and unscrew the small brass drain cap located on the side of the valve being very careful not to lose the cap. When it’s done draining PUT THE CAP BACK ON. If you lose the cap you are going to be kicking yourself when spring arrives. You can purchase new caps for most valves but not every manufacturer makes the same. For more info check out these other blogs: How to prevent an outside faucet from freezing, What’s the deal with backflow preventors for outside faucets and What to do for frozen pipes

Brass ball valve with drain

2) Make sure all gaps and cracks are filled around your home

You should go around your home and do a visual check of your window and door casements, and your foundation to make sure there are no cracks for cold or uninvited guests to get in. Use an all-weather window and door caulking. I like to use a caulk that’s 100% silicone like GE Silicone II supreme. It stays flexible and is rain ready in about 1 hours time. You should also patch any cracks and holes in your foundation to prevent critters from entering your home as well as preventing heat loss. Unwanted guests of all kinds including insects and mice are going to be looking for somewhere warm to spend the winter. Don’t let it be your home. For more info on getting rid of unwanted guests check out these blogs: How to get rid of mice, how to get rid of ants in and around your home

Seal all cracks in windows doors and foundations

3) Replace weather seals around windows and doors

Check the seals around your windows and doors to make sure the weather-stripping is still in good shape. Caulking the casement helps but you also need to make sure the seals on the windows/doors are doing what they’re supposed to. It gets a little more difficult when replacing the seals on windows and doors because every manufacturer has their own specific seal that fits only their product. You can use a generic adhesive backed foam in place of what was there but if want the best seal you need to go back to the manufacturer. For more info on insulating your home check out this blog: How to save money by insulating your home

adhesive backed foam tape

4)Prevent frozen sump pump lines and damage from ice dams.

Take advantage of the still bearable weather to install heat tape to your sump pump line and to your roof and gutters. We all know about the remarkable amount of snow we received last year. People all over the U.S. were dealing with ice dams and the Twin cities area was no exception. Now is the time to install roof de-icing cables, before there’s snow and ice present. If you had problems with ice dams last year you should purchase and install cables on your roof or at least in the gutters to keep the water flowing off your roof instead of in your home. 

If you have a sump pump that is constantly running even through the cold winter months they’re aren’t a lot of options that meet code. One non-code option is to run the line into a floor drain or work sink. Remember this is not an option that is code. In order to solve the issue and still be up to code you need to find a way of keeping your line from freezing. Try using a water proof heat cable inside the sump line to keep the water flowing.

For more info on roof dams and frozen sump lines check out these blogs: Roof de-icing tablets, Roof de-icing cables, Get a roof rake to prevent an ice dam, how to prevent an ice dam on your roof, what to do for a frozen sump pump discharge line,

 For more information on what to do for your house before the

snow flies call us at 763-553-1222

Stop in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Rd. Maple Grove MN 55369

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