Prep for Winter in Tahoe Part 2: Prep your Home

This is part two of a series about preparing for winter in Tahoe. In part one of this series, I discussed how to dial in your vehicle for winter and best practices for driving in snowy conditions. If you missed that post, you can find it here.

As I write this, Tahoe is getting pummeled by an atmospheric river, which has brought 6 inches of rain over the past day and is likely going to turn into snow tonight. Who knows if the snow will continue, as a “false winter” that is followed by a “second fall” is common in Tahoe. Regardless, this early snowfall seems like a good instigator to get the house ready for impending winter season. Below I’ve listed my step by step process for getting your house ready to handle a winter in Tahoe.

Prep your House for Winter

OUTSIDE
  1. Disconnect hoses and turn off your irrigation system
    • Disconnect your hoses from all outdoor spigots. If you have an irrigation system, turn it off and drain it. It’s important to properly flush your irrigation system because any water that is left in the system during the winter can damage it and create issues when you turn it on in the spring.
  2. Clean out your gutters
    • Remove the pine needles and leaves out of your gutters and make sure the heat tape is attached and working. If you have too big of a build up of debris in your gutters water can get backed up and turn to ice, even with the heat tape. A large build up of ice in your gutters can damage them and create an expensive problem.
  3. Prepare your landscaping for winter
    • Cut back plants, stake small trees, tie up bushes and delicate tree branches. Doing these things will help prevent your plants from breaking under the weight of the winter snowfall.
INSIDE
  1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Winter is the time of year when we’re blasting the furnace and building fires. We are also much more likely to have our houses closed up tight, so carbon monoxide is a much bigger hazard. Check all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working and that they have good batteries. 
  2. Cover your patio furniture
    • Protect your patio furniture either by storing it or covering it with a snow-rated cover. However, if your going to cover your furniture, make sure you wait until a clear day so you don’t trap moisture on it.
  3. Prepare for snow removal (more on this in part 3 of this series)
    • Even in a mild winter we will still get a decent amount of snow in Tahoe. Pull your shovels and snow blower out of storage and make sure they are in good condition. Nothing is worse than waking up to the first snowfall and realizing you don’t have the tools to manage the load.  
  4. Clean your chimney and stock up on firewood
    • If you have a wood burning fireplace, call a chimney sweep unless you are familiar with the process of cleaning the inside of your chimney. Now is also a good time to stock up on firewood for the winter season.
  5. Check doors and windows for cracks and leaks
    • Cold air coming into your house through leaks can be costly. If you notice that you have air leaking in from outside, you can apply weatherstripping and caulking where needed for a simple and inexpensive solution.
  6. Change the filter in your heating system
    • It’s a good idea to have your HVAC system checked annually to ensure everything is clean and functioning properly. However, at a minimum you want to make sure you change your air filters before starting your heating system for the winter.

What else do you do to prepare your house for the winter months? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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