The Midwestern U.S. is paradise for most of the 65 million-plus inhabitants who live in the twelve states that make up this region. Unlike many other areas of the United States, the Midwest boasts four distinct seasons: You’ve got gorgeous snowfall in the winter that turns your property into a wonderland, followed by lovely spring days full of new life and blooming trees. Summers are lush and green, and autumn brings refreshing, cool evenings and stunning fall color.
But with the beauty of the Midwest comes potential seasonal complications for your home that homeowners in other regions don’t have to worry about. Wisconsin real estate firm Adashun Jones Real Estate stresses the importance of working with a realtor when relocating to the Midwest to ensure that any existing defects in the home are properly disclosed.
These are five of the most important things you need to know about homes located in the Midwest.
- Extreme winter weather can wreak havoc on your roof.
Heavy snowfall in the Midwest is beautiful, and it sometimes means that you get to stay in your pajamas all day instead of trudging off to work. But heavy snow on the roof can cause expensive damage. Invest in a roof rake, and when the snow on the roof reaches a depth of two feet, head outside and rake it off.
- Heavy spring rains can damage your foundation.
Spring storms in the Midwest can take your breath away, but they can also cause breathtaking foundation repair bills. Make sure you clean out your gutters every fall after most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, and do it again in the spring to clear out the stragglers and ensure proper drainage during heavy rainfalls. Make sure downspouts are tightly connected to the gutters and that the joints are tightly sealed. The ground should slope away from the house where the downspouts terminate.
- High winds can topple trees.
Maintaining your trees by having dead or diseased limbs removed is essential for making sure they don’t fall on your roof, car, or fence during the high winds that often accompany spring and summer storms. Have your large trees inspected yearly and pruned properly to ensure the safety of the trees and your property.
- Hot summers and cold winters can send energy bills sky-high.
Scorching summers and frigid winters mean that in the Midwest, an efficient HVAC system is essential for keeping energy bills in check. The government conservation program Energy Star recommends annual preventive HVAC maintenance on the A/C in the spring and on the furnace each fall to ensure top efficiency, prevent common problems, and extend the operating life of the systems.
- Summertime heat gain can seriously compromise your comfort.
Long, hot Midwestern summer days mean that the sun’s energy is constantly striking your home during the day. The radiant energy heats up your rooms and the UV rays can take a toll on carpeting and furniture. Plant shrubs and vines close to the house to help protect against heat gain through the walls. A light colored roof and exterior will help reflect, rather than absorb, the radiant energy. Adequate insulation in the attic is essential for a cool, energy efficient home, and awnings installed over windows help keep the sun’s heat and UV rays from entering your home through the glass.