Investing in Real Estate in South Lake Tahoe is a great way to own a slice of heaven and can be very affordable compared to land ownership in other resort areas. One thing to keep in mind when owning a property here at the lake is that we can experience extreme winter conditions. Most properties in Lake Tahoe were built to withstand the harsh winter climate, but a little winter preparation will go a long ways. Winterizing your home will help to prevent winter problems and will make it easier to get your yard ready for fun in the spring!
1. Put the toys away! Make sure that your patio furniture, trampolines, and any yard supplies or decorations are packed up and stored in the garage or covered up and stored where they will not be damaged. The weight of the snow and the elements can be very hard on your toys! Also make sure that all water hoses are disconnected, drained, and put away.
2. Clean up the yard! I like to rake up the lawn, pick up any doggy messes, and trim back any perennial plants. I may even run the lawn mower over my lawn to make raking up in the spring a little easier. I will put down winterizing fertilizer and vole repellant on the grass but I still seem to get some vole damage no matter what I do.
3. Winterize the sprinklers! If you have a separate irrigation water supply valve, make sure that it is turned off. I also like to disconnect each zone valve, turn off the timer, and blow out the sprinkler lines with an air compressor. It may be a good idea to hire a landscaping company to do this for you if you do not have an air compressor.
4. Check the roof! Pine needles blow off the trees by the bag full in the fall. Pine needles will build up in the roof valleys and in your gutters trapping the water on the roof and in the gutters. Standing water will potentially damage the roof and can even cause leaks. Sweep off the pine needles and leaves from your roof and clean out gutters if you have them. It is also a good idea to check to make sure that if you have heat tape it is working and that it is in good condition. If you are not comfortable climbing up onto your roof or if you have a two story home it is a good idea to hire roofing contractor to clear and inspect your roof for you.
5. Service your furnace! You should have your furnace, heater, or boiler serviced once a year to help prevent any cold nights without heat and to make sure that your furnace lasts for years to come. At a minimum you should change any filters and inspect the furnace for any visible damage or strange noises.
6. Clean the Chimney! If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove you should have the chimney cleaned and inspected to prevent any chimney fires. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure that the exterior vents are clean and clear. These vents make great places for bird nests and can be a real hazard when you go to warm up by the fire!
8. Seal your house! Check to make sure that all of your window seals, door seals, and other exterior penetrations are sealed tightly. Door shoes can wear out and if you see daylight it is time for a new one! I like to close my foundation vents in November but it is very important to make sure that they are opened up in the spring to prevent any moisture/fungus problems.
9. Check your pipes! Make sure that any exposed pipes are insulated. You can purchase some foam insulation or even wrap pipes with heat tape if there are any problem pipes. Most newer homes have non-freeze hose bibs, but it is a good idea to buy foam covers for older exposed hose bibs.
10. Keep your thermostat on! I would recommend that you leave your thermostat on to at least 55 degrees to prevent any frozen pipes, appliances, or toilets. If you plan on turning your heat off for the winter, make sure that you hire a plumber to winterize your water system. If you winterize the water system the water needs to be turned off, the water heater needs to be off and drained, toilets and traps need to have RV antifreeze poured in them, and the dishwasher and washing machine need to be disconnected and drained.
There are now some great ways to keep an eye on your second home remotely. You can have a security install an alarm system with a low temperature alarm and motion cameras or you cannow install them yourself. There are low temperature/freeze alarms that you can purchase and that will send you a text or call you if the temperature drops to a certain level or if the power goes out at your house. There are also remote cameras that you can monitor that run off of a Wi-Fi signal.
If you would like more information about winterizing your home please call South Lake Tahoe real estate agent Brent Johnson at (530) 416-2625 today!