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  • 16 Jan 2018 10:34 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Reprint of this Jan 9th SPECIAL REPORT:
    State of the Construction Industry 2018

    ROD DICKENS

    Each year, leading economists look into their “crystal balls” in an attempt to foresee what the New Year holds for the construction industry. For 2018, this proved a tougher task given key uncertainties clouding the outlook at year end, including the incomplete 2018 federal spending package and as yet enacted tax reform legislation (just passed at time of publication). Add in storm and wildfire recovery boosting construction demand, costs and labor woes (further compounded by immigration reform), then throw in the pending mid-term elections, and the future is cloudier still.


    Boldt4

    “The labor shortage will continue to be an impediment to company growth and immigration reform will only worsen the trend. Labor-saving technologies will alleviate some of the this, but they can only go so far.” Ed Sullivan, Portland Cement Association

    Overall Economic Outlook

    What level of U.S. economic growth do you see for 2018? What are some key drivers that will impact growth either positively or negatively?

    Robert Dietz, senior vice president and chief economist, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): NAHB sees continued modest yet positive growth prospects for 2018. We should continue to grow, but at below 3% rates. Wage growth is increasing, which is good for consumer spending and housing demand, but is a concern for employers. The wild card for 2018 and 2019 is tax reform. Smart tax reform that rewards small business and promotes housing will contribute to growth. Tax reform that increases taxes on homeowners to reward investors, including foreign owners of U.S. assets, will be counterproductive.

    The tight labor market is a key limiting factor for overall economic growth. Increases for the labor force participation rate will help labor markets to continue to grow. However, absent those improvements, wage pressure could increase inflation and cause the Fed to move somewhat faster than its current gradual pace of interest rate hikes.

    Ed Sullivan, chief economist, Portland Cement Association (PCA): We project GDP growth to be at 2.3% in 2018. We came off the worst recession since the Great Depression and there has been a tremendous pent-up demand. It takes time to fill this demand, and our growth has been slow.

    It will likely continue to be slow driven in part by millennials who are in debt, who are taking their time to start families and who currently don’t participate in the housing market. The recession also changed peoples’ behaviors. But people forget and eventually they will return to old spending habits, just as millennials will one day start families and buy homes.

    Ken Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC): The economy should keep expanding at a moderate 2% to 2.5% rate, after inflation. However, this could be affected by big changes in tax and spending policy or by an international crisis.

    Anirban Basu, chief economist, Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC): As we enter 2018, consumer confidence is at a roughly 17-year high, unemployment is at a 17-year low, financial markets are surging, the global economy is improving and leading indicators suggest plentiful momentum during the year’s early months. It has been many years since the U.S. economy entered the New Year with such momentum.

    Consumer spending will continue to be the leading engine of growth. But that will be supported by faster export growth as the world economy continues to heal, and by faster business spending growth, particularly if pending corporate tax cut legislation is passed. In short, the economic outlook for the U.S. in 2018 is quite good.

    There are abundant risks, however. One could argue that asset prices rose too fast and furiously in 2017. That could set the stage for significant asset price volatility in 2018. Stock and other prices can’t rise forever. This is particularly true given rising inflationary pressures, whether in the form of wages, tuition, rent, medical care or fuel. Should interest rates rise with unanticipated rapidity due to these emerging pressures, elevated asset prices could become jeopardized, setting the stage for negative wealth effects. This means that while 2018 should be strong for the U.S. economy, there are few guarantees with respect to 2019 or 2020.

    Building Construction

    How strong was construction in the commercial and housing markets in 2017, and what level of growth do you expect to see in both segments for 2018?

    AGC: Single-family construction spending increased 9% through the first 10 months of 2017, about the same growth rate as in 2016. But multifamily construction really hit the brakes, slipping to a 4% growth. I think that in 2018, there will be a lot of rebuilding and renovations in areas of Texas, Florida and California devastated by hurricanes, flooding and wildfires. Meanwhile, multifamily building may dip after six years of generally torrid growth.

    ABC: There was a considerable volume of building construction in 2017. Leading segments included hotel, casino, office, distribution center and multifamily construction. There are many forces at work, including Millennial demographics, the e-commerce revolution, foreign investment into commercial real estate and growth both in consumer and business travel. One suspects that this momentum will stretch into 2018 since both domestic and foreign capital is on the hunt for investment opportunities that yield income.

    NAHB: On the demand side of the housing market, incoming household formation data show strength for the for-sale market and some softening for rental markets. These trends are consistent with demographic data that show a growing number of millennials entering their 30s. This process will continue to sustain demand for single-family homes in the years ahead.

    Single-family construction should continue along its modest growth trend (7%), while still being constrained by supply-side bottlenecks, including lack of labor and rising building material prices. Nonetheless, builder confidence, as measured by the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, remains solid. Remodeling should also post gains given rising homeowner wealth and reduced homeowner mobility, which will increase the need for aging-in-place and other kinds of structural improvements.

    Multifamily starts peaked in 2015, and NAHB expects a leveling off process to continue over the next few years. The decline in apartment starts in 2017 was steeper than expected, with a 10% 2017 decline expected. We forecast smaller but still negative growth rates over the near-term as rental vacancy rates increase, rent growth softens and housing demand momentum moves to the for-sale market segment.

    PCA: We anticipate modest growth throughout the building construction market in both the nonresidential and residential sectors. That should translate into a growth rate similar to 2017.

    Nonresidential is approaching a peak and there is slowing in sectors like industrial that are impacted by the macroeconomic environment. The single-family residential market should be fairly healthy in 2018. Gains, however, will be slowed by difficult application processes, lack of Millennial participation and modest increases in mortgage rates that will impact affordability. The multifamily market still has strong potential, but it too is reaching its cyclical peak. Like 2017, next year will likely see 350,000 units built.

    The big surprise is the improvement and repair sector thanks unfortunately to two serious hurricanes and California wildfires. This sector saw strong percentage gains toward the end of 2017 and will continue to see these gains throughout 2018.

    Raw Material Costs

    Do you expect to see the costs of raw materials such as asphalt, cement, steel and lumber increase in 2018? If so, to what level and what is driving the increases?

    NAHB: We expect continued gains in building material prices, particularly for lumber given tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. Rising building material prices was the issue that increased the most as a concern in 2017. While still below the lack of labor and lots, prices for drywall, roofing materials and other building components increased in 2017 due to hurricane repair efforts and the broader growth of the housing market. We expect this pressure on prices to continue in 2018.

    ABC: The past year was associated with noteworthy increases in construction materials prices. After slumping for much of 2014 and virtually all of 2015, global commodity prices stabilized and then began to rise in 2016/17.

    A more contentious view on trade, including with respect to Canadian soft lumber, also served to elevate price pressures. During a recent 12-month period, softwood lumber prices surged 15%. Diesel fuel, natural gas, iron and steel and other prices also expanded for much of 2017.

    Given the expectation that the global economy will heat up even further in 2018, one would expect that materials prices will continue to rise. However, the rise in materials prices could be quite gradual. Quantity supplied is already responding to higher prices in many categories, which should translate into more gradual price increases in general.

    AGC: Materials costs ended a years-long slide in late 2016 and rose at a moderate rate in most of 2017. Those increases are likely to accelerate a bit further in 2018 as global demand picks up and construction continues to grow, albeit slowly and unevenly. I don’t foresee a return to the severe, widespread escalations and occasional shortages that cropped up before the last recession.

    Employment and Labor Costs

    In recent years, finding skilled and experienced workers has challenged many construction companies. In fact, for many, it has been their No. 1 impediment to growth. Do you foresee companies continuing to struggle with this trend in 2018? What impact, if any, will the administration’s stand on immigration have on the industry and finding workers?

    AGC: Finding capable workers will remain the leading challenge for contractors in 2018. The job market is continuing to tighten after more than seven years of continuous job gains and ever-increasing retirements of baby boomers. Restrictive immigration policies and stepped-up deportations are adding to the competition for workers and threaten to slow the growth in the overall economy as many industries struggle to fill openings or to replace the customers who are kept out of the country.

    NAHB: On the supply side of the construction market, we need additional gains in the labor force participation rate to allow employers to continue filling open jobs. The construction industry is in the middle of a labor shortage and data suggest it will not turn the corner quickly. Without growth in the size of the labor force, it will be difficult for the residential construction industry to continue adding workers at the current pace of a little more than 100,000 per year. Higher wages due to a tight labor market will bring in some additional workers, but will also increase cost pressures on employers.

    We could, of course, build and remodel more homes if we could add workers even faster. The demand is there. The industry must recruit the next generation of construction workers.

    PCA: There is no easy fix to the labor challenge. Training programs for skilled workers are great, but they take time and we see companies struggling with labor for several years to come. The labor shortage will continue to be an impediment to company growth and immigration reform will only worsen the trend. Labor-saving technologies will alleviate some of this, but they can only go so far.

    ABC: The lack of skilled workers is apparent throughout the U.S. economy, whether in construction, trucking, healthcare, hospitality, cybersecurity or a host of other industry segments...

    The year 2018 will be yet another during which America’s low labor force participation rates will continue to hamstring businesses in many segments, including construction. A confluence of factors has led to these circumstances, including cultural shifts, shifts in educational philosophy, the atrophying of apprenticeship programs in much of the nation, and the ongoing large-scale retirement of many of the most talented, skilled and experienced construction workers. The nation’s shifting stand on immigration will not help, with employers finding it increasingly challenging to secure both skilled and semi-skilled personnel.

    With respect to construction, the impact is to raise the cost of delivering construction services and to stretch out timetables. That makes it less likely that construction projects can move forward because this serves to reduce the predicted rate of return.

    The industry can only combat this by aggressively engaging educators and policymakers. Too few students are aware of middle-income opportunities in construction. The mantra has been college preparedness, particularly four-year college preparedness. That has deflected much talent away from construction — talent that often finds itself under-utilized upon graduation. Construction industry leaders must insist on more experiential learning in schools and more field trips. They must also offer more internships, and better support apprenticeship programs.


  • 02 Jan 2018 8:22 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Source: Eye on Housing

    The residential sector accounts for less than 8% of water used in the U.S., according to a recent NAHB analysis of information published by the U.S. Geological Survey. The analysis also found that the average home in the U.S. uses about 260 gallons of water per day. 

    However that amount can vary considerably. The survey also revealed a distinct geographic pattern with relatively low use per home in some upper Midwest and New England states, and higher use per home in the central South and West, especially in mountain and desert states. At the state level, water use per housing unit is positively correlated with average temperature and household size, and negatively correlated with annual rainfall. In short, homes tend to use more water in states that are hot and dry and have larger households.

    Link to Residential Water Study


    The average of 138 gpd for total indoor use is down from 177 gpd for the homes in the Residential End Uses of Water study released in 1999. The Water Research Foundation's analysis shows that, between the 1999 and 2016 studies, there was a statistically significant reduction in water used per household for toilets, clothes washers, showers, leaks and dishwashers. Among the major indoor categories, the only one not showing a significant reduction over that 17-year span was faucet water use. In most cases, the declines are easy to understand given efficiency standards for water using fixtures and appliances that governments began to implement in the 1990s.

    Figure 3. Average Water Use per Single-Family Home

  • 26 Sep 2017 9:31 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    ·         Beware of Fake Charity Scams <https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/beware-of-fake-charity-scams-relating-to-hurricane-harvey>

    ·         Make a Difference, Become a Community Tax Volunteer <https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/make-a-difference-become-a-community-tax-volunteer

    ·         Watch Out for the W-2 Email Scam <https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/dont-take-the-bait-step-6-watch-out-for-the-w-2-email-scam>  *** More incidents in 2017 than 2016. Scammers are still using this one!

  • 20 Sep 2017 1:11 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    blog by NAHB

    Home buyers have the choice of two types of houses on the market: resale or new.

    Home buyers planning to buy a brand-new house or condominium often cite energy efficiency, open layout, a warranty, and being able to select appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements as factors driving their choice. 

    But builders say that buyers can be drawn to a new house for reasons that aren’t so obvious. Here are a few more benefits of a brand-new home that you may not see in the sales brochure.

    Building a Community Together

    families enjoying barbequeA brand-new community is one of the built-in benefits of many new homes. When families move in to a subdivision at the same time, they often form lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness right away. Nobody is the "new kid on the block," and many home builders host community parties in new developments to help owners meet and connect.

    Popular amenities like pools, walking trails and tennis and basketball courts offer additional opportunities for interaction among neighbors of all ages. Often new communities are comprised of home owners in the same stage of life, such as young families or active retirees, so neighbors can get to know each other through carpools, PTA meetings, tennis matches or golf games.

    Entertaining 

    Throwing a party in an older home can be a challenge because smaller, distinct rooms make it difficult to entertain guests in one large space. Today, new home layouts feature more open spaces and rooms that flow into each other more easily. While you are preparing dinner, you can still interact with guests enjoying conversation without feeling closed off. The feeling of spaciousness in today’s new-home layouts often is enhanced with higher ceilings and additional windows that bring in more light than you would find in an older home.

    A Clean Slate

    frustrated painter

    For some buyers, parking the car in a sparkling-clean garage or being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen is part of the appeal of new construction. In addition, you won’t have to spend time stripping dated wallpaper or repainting to suit your own sense of style — creating your own home décor from the get-go!

    The advantages of being the first owner extend to the outdoors. Instead of inheriting inconveniently or precariously placed trees, or having to tear up overgrown shrubs, you can design and plant the lawn and garden you want.

    Outlets, Outlets Everywhere 

    Homes built in the 1960’s and earlier were wired much differently than houses today. Builders had no way of anticipating the invention of high-definition televisions, DVRs and computers that we enjoy today — and the very different electrical requirements they would introduce. New homes can accommodate advanced technologies like structured wiring, security systems and sophisticated lighting plans, and can be tailored to meet the individual home owner’s needs.

    Anyone who has ever lived in an older home can also attest to the fact that there are never enough outlets, inside or out! Today, home builders plan for the increased number and type of electronics and appliances used by today’s families, so you can safely operate a wine cooler, Christmas lights and your laptop — and more.


  • 27 Jul 2017 12:44 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Jane DeAustin, CMBA Government Affairs Director, BAM and NAHB

    In a move that will raise housing costs and price countless American households out of the housing market, the Commerce Department on June 26 imposed a preliminary 6.87% anti-dumping duty on Canadian lumber imports on top of the 19.88% countervailing duties announced in April.  Combined, the two duties impose a 26.75% total tariff on Canadian lumber imported into the U.S. 

    Note:  According to NAHB, in the St. Cloud area, for every $1,000 increase in housing costs, about 200 households are priced out of the housing market.

    Although the feud pertaining to softwood lumber between the United States and Canada may be nothing new, the anticipated NAFTA renegotiation certainly is.  The 30 year old battle, which began when the US industry argued that Canada provided cheap access to public land, which in return they say unfairly subsidized its lumber, has ceased to subside.

    In May of this year, Congress was notified that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Minnesota, along with 34 other states, have Canada as its largest trading partner, so the status of NAFTA extends beyond just the cost of lumber for Minnesota's economy.  NAFTA talks are expected to begin as soon as mid-August and will address trade policies including energy and agriculture.

    NAFTA's pending renegotiation has created a fluctuating market, demanding builders to protect themselves. It is known that the uncertainty surrounding a new trade pact has already triggered a 22% spike in lumber prices since the beginning of the year, and the fact that it takes about 15,000 board feet to build a typical single-family home, it's really important that members pay attention and protect themselves from the fluctuation in costs.

    Because of this uncertainty, the CMBA, BAM, and NAHB, strongly encourage members to review their contracts to determine whether they might need an escalation clause.

    At the federal level, NAHB is working hard to address the softwood lumber trade agreement in a fair and balanced way that will increase supply and contain costs. At NAHB's Legislative Conference, BAM members put into action part of NAHB's plan when addressing Minnesota's Congressional Delegation. Members asked Congress to hold hearings into the long-running trade dispute between the United States and Canada over softwood lumber and to consider ways to increase the domestic supply of timber from public lands.


  • 18 Jul 2017 2:06 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Travis M. Notch, C.P.A. - In-Charge Accountant
    Schlenner Wenner & Co. | Certified Public Accountants & Business Consultants

    Highlighted below are some upcoming notes for either changes in the tax law or updates to current law.

    First, linked here are some details on the upcoming Minneapolis minimum wage increase that could affect any employers in that area, but the MN minimum wage does increase to $9.50 per hour as of August 1. 

    Also, our latest contractor newsletter has some good information.

    Then, a couple of items to be aware of with construction companies buying equipment are the limitations to expense the cost of that equipment on the tax returns. For 2017, the amount of purchased assets that a company can expense under Section 179 has been adjusted to $510,000 ($500,000 in 2016) with a threshold of $2,030,000 in equipment additions before a phase-out.  Another option for businesses is to take special bonus depreciation on purchases of new assets, which will allow business to take a 50% deduction of the cost of the assets without using the Section 179 expense.  Although this deduction is phasing out in the next couple of years.  Companies can take a 50% deduction for 2017, 40% for 2018, and 30% for 2019 and 2020.  The bonus depreciation election will go away after that.

    I hope that you find this information helpful,

    Travis M. Notch, C.P.A.

    In-Charge Accountant


  • 05 Jul 2017 11:45 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by CMBA President Matt Cecko, Home Check Plus

    Without a doubt, owning a home is one of the key tenets of the American Dream. The stability and social “arrival” signaled by home ownership is at the heart of most American’s long-term aspirations.


    But the benefits of homeownership don’t stop at stability and social status; individuals and families benefit from owning their own home in many other ways. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has conducted several studies on how home ownership affects individuals and their communities. The findings include:

           Most Americans consider homeownership to be the single best long-term investment and a primary source of financial security.

           Owning your home means owning your future — a place to raise your family, fulfill your dreams and create strong communities.

           Over the long term, homeownership is a solid stepping stone to a future of financial security. The equity accumulated over years of homeownership can be used to help pay for college, to downsize into a retirement home, or for a range of future financial needs.

           The nation’s housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen.

           Housing is vitally important to local, state and national economies. It is critical that homeownership remains attainable and that access to safe, decent and affordable housing remains a national priority.

           Fifteen percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing, and nothing packs a bigger local economic impact than home building.

           Constructing 100 new single-family homes creates 297 full-time jobs, $28 million in wage and business income, and $11.1 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

           A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger economy. Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities.

           Housing, like no other sector, is “Made in America.” Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured here in the United States.

    This list makes it clear that home ownership drives the ship of a vast array of economic and social benefits. It should go without saying that in order to realize these benefits, home ownership needs to be obtainable and affordable. It has taken an industry that is driven to work together to keep the costs of home building down, so that owning a home continues to be an affordable reality.

    The unity that exists within the home building industry is what provides the way for countless families to own a home. Industry unity drives affordability, and affordability drives the economy and ultimately, the American Dream.


  • 09 Jun 2017 10:51 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by CMBA President Matt Cecko, Home Check Plus

    The CMBA has been busy. Here is a snapshot year to date of the array of activities and happenings.

    The CMBA has trained 189 members since the start of January and as always, has provided builder members with free Continuing Education Credits. 

    Our membership retention is at 91%, one of the highest retention rates for any Home Builders Association in the country.

    The CMBA participated in Building Day at the Capitol. We worked with area legislators to help pass townhome definition legislation. Our efforts helped successfully change the definition of townhome from two connected units to three units, now newly constructed two connected units will not have fire sprinklers mandated. Success!

    Tools for Schools

    The CMBA increased the funding for High School technology trades to $18K. Last year the funds were awarded to 11 area high schools. We assembled fund advisors and started the charitable fund with the Initiative Foundation for our Presidents Fund. With the Initiative Foundation, all donations are tax deductible, plus donations to the fund will be matched by the CMBA up to $20K. The funding will go towards helping to spark interest in our youth to find construction attractive and pursue a career in our industry. We recommend donating online on the Initiative Foundation website or you may drop a check off at the CMBA office. Your support is appreciated!

    In addition to bolstering our funding, the CMBA participated in the SCTCC job fair. We created a Career Central display with 39 member job listings and 69 jobs were distributed.

    Tools for Schools isn’t our only charitable donation year to date. The CMBA presented a $1,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity in an ongoing effort of helping families achieve homeownership.

    The Spring Tour of Homes

    The Tour had 37 homes with 27 builders. It was the highest number of homes in recent years. We received great feedback from the tour and on our newly created Parade Craze App that highlights the homes features, photos, maps and more. 


    The HomeShow 

    The committee and sponsors are focused on shifting their marketing strategies to target a broader and younger audience. Our goal is to make the event more fun and educational for the attendees. Also, the CMBA invested $10K in the first annual Forever House. 

    The CMBA joined the Benton Economic Partnership, Inc. to support new economic development in the marketplace. This is in addition to our membership with The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation to support business growth and expansion in our community. 

    The CMBA also welcomed Jenny McDermond to the staff team as an administrative assistant. Jenny is doing a great job helping Bonnie, Colleen, and Jane with a variety of responsibilities. We are happy to have her!

    The Board of Directors is actively working on a By-Law change to allow associate members to become President of the CMBA. The CMBA sent out a survey asking for input from members on allowing associates to serve as CMBA president. The surveys were sent through Survey Monkey and 86% of the members that responded approved of allowing associates to serve as president so please stay tuned for a vote at an upcoming membership meeting. I’m excited about this proposed By-Law change and the talented people that will have an opportunity to lead this great organization with new fresh ideas.

    It is significant what our association can accomplish when we all work together on common goals. The CMBA continues to improve the Central MN building industry by advocating for the industry, educating our members, and strengthening the public’s confidence. 

  • 29 Mar 2017 8:50 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    As March comes to a close, we are proud to take a moment and look back on the success we had this year with our Spring Tour of Homes and our HomeShow.

    The 2017 Tour of Homes

    On this year’s Spring Tour of Homes, we showcased homes in 11 different communities. Visitors were able to view over 35 homes and 20 builders. With so many homes involved in the tour, we were able to exhibit the hottest trends in home building like thermal heating and energy-efficient appliances. We also featured the Parade Craze App for the first time this year, and it was a great success!


    Thanks to our sponsors Bayer Built Inc., Holiday Gas Stations, and Brock White Co., local builders were able to promote their work first-hand. To learn more about the homes and builders involved in the tour, click here.
             

    The 2017 HomeShow

    Our HomeShow is the largest in central Minnesota and this year it had some exciting new booths displaying the latest in innovative home products and design. We had several different seminars on home planning including gardening tips from KARE 11’s Bobby Jensen, as well as kids building projects. 


    We set out to show the community what our members are capable of doing. With our attendance numbers up by 10% at 4,607 people this year, we certainly achieved our goal!


             

    One of our new displays, the “Forever House”, was also the biggest display and involved the most pre-planning, but we pulled it off and it turned out to be the hot topic that we hoped for!


    Constructed with high-quality features and cutting-edge modern design from local vendors, the Forever House was made to stir the imagination and help buyers envision that dream piece of property that always wanted. More on the sponsors of the Forever House and products featured in the home can be found here.


    We would like to thank all of our members and participants in the 2017 Spring Tour of Homes and HomeShow, as well as everyone who came out to attend. You all made these events the successes that they were! We are especially thankful for our HomeShow sponsors Premier Real Estate Serviced and Liberty Bank MN.

    With this spring’s HomeShow and Tour of Homes past, we begin to look toward the next events! If you or your company is interested in becoming a member of the CMBA or would like to take part next year, click here to learn more.         


  • 08 Dec 2016 3:38 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)


    In Central Minnesota, we have seen a bit of the winter weather that will befall us over the next few months. The good news is that it is not too late to winterize your home. Your house needs to get ready for the cold months ahead just as much as you do. Winterizing your home can keep your home warm, save you energy and money, and protect your house from possible damage.

    Prevent Frozen Pipes

    Although an indoor pool sounds wonderful, an unexpected pool is not very exciting. If pipes are left unattended, they can freeze and burst. If you don’t keep water moving through your pipes, try insulating them or investing in a freeze alarm to warn you if temps get too low. Wrapping and  insulating your pipes will make them more energy efficient and protect them from possible harm.

    Clean The Gutters

    In the fall, leaves can collect in your gutters and clog them. This can cause water to back up and freeze, which may lead to ice dams that block the path of melted snow from your roof. Check to make sure your gutters are clean and while you’re on the ladder, look for any gutter leaks or misaligned pipes that may cause water to drain into your home. Water from your home should be drained at least 10 feet from your house.

    Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

    Did you know on every ceiling fan there’s a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades? Make sure your fan is turning clockwise; this will push warm air down. This easy switch will help you stay a little warmer this winter, meaning you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees.

    Replace Your Air Filters

    By changing out your air filters a few times a year, you can improve the efficiency of your home’s heating system. It also improves the quality of the air circulating around your home. This is a cheap and easy way to make your home more energy efficient, especially since a new filter costs only about $10.

    Insulating Your Home

    Adding fiberglass insulation can help you save big on your energy expenses. In order for your home to be properly insulated, you need at least a foot of insulation in your attic. Unless your home was built specifically to be energy efficient, chances are good that it could use more - especially older homes.


    Seal Your Windows & Doors

    Window insulation is an essential step to keeping heat inside your home. Window insulation film can keep as much as 70% of heat from leaking out your windows. These small layers of plastic can help you save big in the long run. Use a draft guard to help stop heat from leaking under the door. If you do find any leaks around your doors or windows, add weatherstrip tape or caulk to seal it. If it seems like a major leak, consider replacing the window or door.

    Recruit A Professional Set of Eyes

    While no one knows your home quite like you, it is important to have a professional check your home for any unexpected problems. In the winter, you will use certain parts of your home that haven’t had much use in recent months. It is important to make sure nothing has been damaged since last winter. Have your inspector check the heating and ventilation system, as well as your chimney or fireplace.

    The cold is here, but your home should stay warm. Winterizing your home can help you stay warm and save money. By taking these simple steps you can keep your home efficient and safe from harm.

    If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the equipment to tackle these tasks on your own, browse the array of professionals within the Central Minnesota Builders Association, or contact us directly here. 



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