Residents of Minnesota, especially those that have been in the area for sometime, are no doubt preparing for yet another upcoming year of crazy weather. Minnesota is home to some of the most unusual and inconvenient weather patterns in the Nation, which means being fully prepared for anything is key. So if you are a homeowner anywhere in Minnesota, you should definitely be getting your home prepared for the new season, if you haven’t already done so. Here are six tips to help get you started.
1. Clean the gutters.
Having clean gutters is vital for avoiding serious and costly water damage to your home, including water leaks, flooding, rotting wood, mold/mildew, weakening of the foundation, and damage to the roof. This is especially important during periods of high wind and heavy rainfall. To ensure your gutters and exterior siding remain as clean as possible, remove any debris that might be present (leaves, twigs, ect.) and use a garden hose to remove any remaining debris and check for holes and leaks. And remember to always practice safety when using a ladder.
2. Know how to turn off the water.
Inclement weather can pose a serious threat to your home’s plumbing integrity, especially when dealing with strong winds and flooding. In the event that a pipe bursts during or after a storm, you need to be prepared to act quickly. Start by locating your home’s water valve (this is usually located near the water meter outside) and check that you can turn it off and on with ease. If all is well, practice turning the nod several times to ensure you can act quickly in an emergency.
3. Check home supply lines for leaks.
Your home supply lines include your water and gas lines, which can be greatly affected by inclement weather conditions associated with El Nino. This is best handled by a professional and should be done periodically anyway to ensure everything is running properly. You can also perform small checks yourself by occasionally checking for leaking/collecting water and smelling for gas.
4. Landscaping and Drainage.
A well-designed landscape can greatly affect your property’s ability to properly drain water in times of flooding and heavy rain. Ideally, the landscape design would cause any collecting amounts of water to run/flow away from the home. The slope of the lawn, plus any dips that would cause water to collect in the grass, may have to be amended to avoid any serious damage to the home.
5. Check your attic for rodents.
No one ever wants to find rodents in their house, but they become more of an issue during large storms because they will be looking for a warm, dry place to use for shelter. On top of general sanitary concerns, rodents can chew through your home’s utility and supply lines, causing leaks and flooding if left unattended. Listen for noises in the walls and attic, including scratching, chewing, and check for smells of urine and/or droppings and chewed up insulation and/or boxes.
6. Carry homeowner’s insurance.
Before the season comes into full swing, it is a good idea to review your home insurance policy. Water damage from busted pipes or other plumbing issues is usually covered by your general insurance. However, you may have to purchase more specified plans to be covered for things like floods from heavy rain, overflowing rivers, and/or mudslides. Ask your insurance provider what coverages you already have and what others you may wish to receive.