How to Winterize Your Lake Tahoe Home

Woman in snow doing yoga

According to the National Weather Service, winter is arriving at Lake Tahoe early in 2021. Our first cold front arrived with snow today. The forecast for next week shows freezing temperatures, so it is important to winterize your mountain property.

Lake Tahoe Weather Forecast October 2021

10/8/2021 National Weather Service: High temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal today and Saturday. Overnight lows this weekend will be near and below freezing for suburban and rural valleys, with Saturday night into Sunday morning looking to be the coldest night.

Freeze potential increases as an even colder air mass drops into the region Monday and Tuesday. Widespread hard freezes are highly probable (80-90% chance) by Tuesday morning. This weekend will be a good time to winterize your irrigation systems. 

Rain and snow (first system high confidence, second system low-medium confidence):

The best chances today for wetting rains will be along the eastern Sierra into western Nevada. Several inches of snow will be possible in the Sierra over 8000 feet. Use caution if traveling over the Sierra passes this morning. Wet roads can be just as slick as snow covered roads. A few thunderstorms are also likely today, especially in west central Nevada.

A second colder system will drop into the region Monday and Tuesday with snow levels falling below 5000 feet. There is still a wide range of possibilities in the simulations where the best bet for precipitation will be, but be prepared for light snow showers "down here" by Monday morning.

How to Winterize Your Mountain Home

Prevent Freezing Pipes

When not using your mountain property, it is important to turn off the water and drain any water supply lines. Your home should have a water shut-off valve, and after turning it off, open all faucets and flush toilets to ensure all water is drained from the pipes.

You may want to insulate any pipes or fixtures that are outside and above ground if they are not ‘freeze-proof.’ If you are unsure how to drain your water lines, contact a plumber to walk you through best practices for winterization.

Irrigation lines will require draining too. Your landscape maintenance company should be able to help ensure all irrigation lines are empty.

Maintain Heat Settings

Heat should be left at a setting of at least 55 degrees. Even while the house is not being used, this will ensure that temperatures inside the home do not drop below freezing. If you are renting your home, be sure to leave instructions for tenants to leave the thermostat setting at 55. The cost to run heat at a low setting far outweighs the potential damage to home that can be caused by freezing.

Chimneys and Woodstoves

Chimney and woodstove maintenance is also important to prevent fires or smoke damage. There are many services in North Lake Tahoe that can ensure your chimneys are clear and flue damper is operational.

Prevent Snowload

During heavy snow years, have your roof periodically inspected to ensure snow buildup and ice dams do not become a problem. Ice buildup can sometimes cause windows to break and clearing away icicles and snow buildup will ensure your property stays protected. Balconies too, will require periodic snow removal. Changing temperatures and the buildup of ice can cause snowload danger to your property.

Ensure that your driveway snow removal contract is renewed and paid. If you require access to the property during winter, you may want to hire a service to shovel from the driveway to the front door.

Power Outages

During winter storms, Lake Tahoe has periodic power outages. Check that the house is stocked with candles, flashlights and batteries. Stock up on paper products and non perishable foods to avoid leaving the property during snowstorms.

This has been a long, dry summer and we are excited to see precipitation coming early to Lake Tahoe and Truckee.

Available inventory of homes for sale in Lake Tahoe and Truckee continues to be scarce. If you are thinking of selling your property, there has never been a better time to get top dollar for your home. Contact me today for more information on winterization or for any of your real estate needs.