Before the snow flies

Welcome to October! Crisp air, beautiful trees, and the cider couldn’t be better!  It’s time to enjoy all those crazy corn mazes and football games, right? Well, sort-of. DO enjoy the outdoors but do NOT forget that this is Minnesota. Temperatures will drop and snowflakes will fly before you know it and you will want your home to be ready before that first hard freeze. Here are some important reminders.

Clean your GUTTERS and downspouts from accumulated leaves and debris. Trim any overhanging tree branches. Check your ROOF for damage or missing shingles. Now is the time to repair holes or damage that might invite unwanted visitors. Mice and rats only need a one-inch hole to gain entrance. See This Old House to learn more about animal intruder identification and prevention. Inspect DOORS and WINDOWS for air leaks and make sure all outside covers to VENTS close correctly.      

Keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Caulk or install weather stripping around WINDOWS or DOORS to seal gaps. It might be time to properly INSULATE those cold, unfinished spaces of your house, such as the attic, basement, and crawl space as well as water pipes that might be in danger of freezing. If you can’t remember the last time you had your FURNACE inspected, you may want to schedule one to ensure it is in working order. Over time, cracks may develop in the heat exchanger which can leak dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the home. It is recommended to have it inspected once or twice a year for safety and efficiency and to replace the filter before winter and monthly throughout the season. Also, a programmable THERMOSTAT can help maintain the temperatures you need during the day, at night, and when you are out of the house to reduce energy use and cost.  

And, do not forget what lies outside your window. Fall is the time to prepare your lawn, yard, and catch basin for Minnesota snow. Enjoy raking your mountains of leaves then compost or arrange with your local city services for curbside pick-up. KG Landscape recommends fertilizing your lawn in the autumn as well as in the spring being careful to adjust mowing height as you prepare for your last lawn mow of the season. Also aerate your lawn to give it some breathing room. Read more about lawn care tips here.   Once you are finished with your lawn HOSE and exterior faucets for the fall, it is time to shut them off and drain them for the winter. This goes for your IRRIGATION and SPRINKLER systems as well. End of season equipment will need to be cleaned and put away to make way for winter tools and snow removal machines. Learn how to Winterize a Lawn Mower in 7 Steps at This Old House. This is a handy skill that would be worth the effort to learn.  

And for those SPECIAL SPACES, some special help. For an OUTDOOR POND, Tim the Pond Doctor at DIWHY EXTERIORS explains what to do in 7 Steps to Shut Down Your Backyard Pond for a Minnesota Winter. The first week of November is the typical time to do this.  If you find his steps a bit more intimidating than you like, then he offers a shortcut—contact him.  To keep that spiffy new OUTDOOR KITCHEN of any size in spiffy condition from one year to the next, just follow Brittany Chaffee’s A Step – By – Step Checklist for Winterizing Your Kitchen. Whatever your special spaces, be sure to get them ready for winter so when spring finally comes to Minnesota, you will be ready to enjoy your home and family for another year. Happy Hygge!