By KATIE TYLER | Moonshine Ink
With snow on the horizon (yikes!) and temperatures dropping as we move into fall, you never can tell what tomorrow will bring. That is why it is best to be ready early. Believe it or not, it is time to winterize your home for the 2017/18 winter season. Living in the mountains, we must prepare for freezing weather and heavy snow loads. Don’t want to winterize just yet? Remember, costly repair bills can be avoided if you take the time to prepare your home for winter.
Have you secured your plow service or serviced your snow blower? The snow is coming, and there’s no reason to wait on this. Most plow services offer a discount if you sign up early for the season. It’s also nice to have some ice melt on hand for those slippery walkways and driveways.
Do you have a wood burning fireplace? It’s easy to wait until it’s cold outside to order your cord, but it’s much easier to get your wood supply now when it’s still dry and nice outside.
Now it’s time to shut down the exterior of your home to prepare for inclement days.
First, bring in all your patio furniture to a covered location such as an under-the-house storage area or a garage. This furniture is not made to handle the harsh winter weather, which can include heavy snow and freeze-thaw conditions. Don’t forget potted plants and other garden decor.
Second, you need to consider snow shedding areas and low windows. As snow sheds off roofs, it tends to circle in and fall toward the wall. This puts windows that may be at snow level (after accumulation), as well as floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding deck doors, at risk. It is best to board up your endangered windows for protection. Clear Plexiglas also works if you still want to let in the light.
Third is landscaping. Tie up all your trees with stretch tape so the heavy snow doesn’t break the small branches. Protect the trunks with a protective wrap to prevent critters who get hungry over winter from nibbling on the barks. Rake up leaves and fertilize your lawn one last time. These steps will help the spring revitalization of your garden.
This leads us to the outdoor water system.
Underground yard irrigation should be turned off at the main valve. As an extra precaution, hire a plumber to blow compressed air through pipes to confirm that the pipes have been drained. Above-ground irrigation, such as outdoor faucets and hoses, should be turned off, disconnected, and drained of excess water.
Freezing temperatures will cause water pipes to freeze if they are not protected, and this includes indoor plumbing. As for interior water sources, this is only a concern if you leave home for an extended period of time, because when you are living at home the house will presumably be heated to your comfort level. When you plan to leave for more than a few days, it is best to turn off the main valve and set the heat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit so pipes won’t freeze in the interior walls.
A good practice is to know your plumbing and learn where the water shutoff locations are. If your pipes do freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you shut off the water, or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.
A good home care provider will be fully versed in what it takes to protect your home from the elements. If you do leave your home for long periods of time, you will have peace of mind knowing someone is looking out for your property.
So, let’s button up our homes and get ready for the big winter to come!
~ Katie Tyler has been in the resort/luxury real estate industry for over 15 years, stemming largely from her love of the outdoors and wanting to help others experience and enjoy it. Katie is passionate about the North Lake Tahoe area, safeguarding its immense beauty while helping the community thrive.