5 Ways to Create a Cozy Home in Minnesota

Cozy Home in MinnesotaHome is where the heart is. Or as my wife says, home is where the dog is!

Whatever your family says, home is where you spend most of your time. You sleep there, you eat there, you read your favorite books, play with your kids and pets – all at home.

Each home has its own personality – even your home has a unique look, its very own smell, those squeaks and noises (apparently out of nowhere) and a “secret” junk room that you hide from even your closest of friends.

Just like your physical health can be improved by making a few tweaks here and there (better diet, a little exercise),  the comfort and health of your home can be greatly improved if you know what to look for.

Here are 5 ways to create a more cozy home in Minnesota year-round:

1. Noise

Do you live at the end of the runway at MSP? Or does the neighbor’s Golden Retriever think every car that goes by is the mailman? Unfortunately, you’re just stuck with some noises.  But you can definitely reduce the noise levels inside your home.

Most new appliances are considerably quieter than older models. Almost all appliance models now-a-days come with ‘sound ratings’. So if your furnace or air conditioner wakes you up every night – or if you can’t run the dishwasher and watch TV at the same time – look into the new ‘ultra quiet‘ models.

The only noise you’ll hear is your husband snoring over there on the couch!

2. Temperature

It’s too hot! It’s too cold! We’re from Minnesota, so we all love talking about the outdoor temperature – but many Twin Cities homes have the same hot and cold issues inside the home.

Hot air rises and cold air falls, so naturally many homes have 2nd floors that are too hot and basements that are too cold. Plus, everyone has that room or two that’s always about 5 degrees different than the rest of the home. You don’t have to just live with these uncomfortable rooms!

In most of today’s high-efficiency furnaces, blower motors automatically adjust airflow speed which does a great job to even out temperatures throughout the home. Plus, the cost of running a new ‘variable speed’ furnace is just a fraction of the cost of older models.

3. Humidity

It’s not the heat …. it’s the humidity! We’ve all heard that one before. Once again, Minnesota has the humidity extremes.

In the summer, a Minnesota home without an AC can feel like the inside of the Gorilla exhibit at the Como Zoo.  And, there’s a reason the winter cold & flu season in here lasts forever! We’re all cooped up inside where it might be 70 degrees, but feels as dry as your son’s lizard aquarium.

There are three things that all home owners can do to ensure their indoor humidity is perfect, 365 days a year:

  1. Install and properly maintain a whole-home humidifier. These humidifiers deliver moisture to the home during the dry months – and all come with automatic controls to keep the humidity levels perfect all winter.
  2. Properly size your central air conditioning system or install to two-stage AC for maximum dehumidification in the summer. If your home reaches the desired temperature level during the summer months but still feels clammy, your system is probably not removing enough moisture form the air.
  3. Some homes are always damp (or perhaps just basements). The best way to permanently dehumidify a basement is with a whole-home dehumidifier. These dehumidifiers are drained directly into a basement floor drain or wash tub and are able to dehumidify large spaces.

4. Safety

When we were babies, we carried a special ‘security blanket (or maybe just a pacifier). Back then, it didn’t take much to make us feel safe & secure. Today, we go to great lengths to protect our homes and make them secure for our families.

Locks, cameras, security systems and  neighborhood night patrols all keep the bad guys away. But how about all of the silent threats? Homes today have more dangerous stuff inside than ever before.

Chemicals, cleaners and paints are all items that should be sealed and kept in safe places. Your gas appliances should also be checked annually to ensure they’re operating safely.

Last but not least, every home should have working CO detectors and smoke detectors.

5. Air Quality

When most homeowners think of their indoor air quality they think of dust. That’s natural because we can all see the dust on tabletops and the TV if we wait too long between vacuuming and dusting the house.

Dust (or ‘airborne particles’) makes up just one slice of the airborne contaminants that float around your home and mine.

Airborne particles are easy to remove from the air.  Simply install a high-efficiency air cleaner in-line with your furnace – the better the air cleaner, the smaller the particle that it will remove from the air. Also, make sure you get an air cleaner with a MERV 13 rating or higher if anyone in the home has allergies.

The other two types of contaminants in your home’s air are Bioaerosols (living organisms like, mold, bacteria, viruses, germs) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs – chemical gases, solvent, odor causing contaminants).

In order to remove Bioaerosols and VOCs from your home, you need to bring fresh air into the home with whole home ventilators (HRVs & ERVs). You’ll also need to treat the air with UV Lamps or special air cleaners.

Remember – each home is a little different!  A well-trained advisor will be able to design a system that’s perfect for your home, budget and circumstances.