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With snow on the horizon and temperatures dropping off into Fall, this time of year, you never can tell what tomorrow will bring.  Best to be ready early, time to winterize your home for the 2017/2018 winter season.  Living in the mountains, you have to prepare for freezing weather and heavy snow loads.  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 even 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 till 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 in order to prepare for the inclement days. 

First, bring in all your patio furniture to a covered location such as under the house storage or garage.  This furniture is not made to handle the harsh winter conditions such as heavy snow and freeze-thaw conditions.  This also includes potted plants and other garden decor.


Second is to consider snow shed areas and low windows.  Snow shedding off the roof tends to circle in and often times fall towards the home.  This puts windows that may be at snow level (after accumulation) or floor to ceiling windows and sliding deck doors at risk.  It is best to board up your windows for protection.  Clear plexiglass also works if you still want to let the light in.    

Third is landscaping. Tie up all your trees with stretch tape so the heavy snow doesn’t break the small twig branches. Protect the trunks from critters who get hungry over winter and into fall and nibble on the barks of trees, with a protective wrap.  Rake all the leaves and fertilize the lawn one last time. This is the basic steps that you will want to take to help the spring revitalization of the garden.

This leads us to the outdoor water system. Underground yard irrigation should be turned off at the main valve.  As an extra precaution, higher a plumber to blow compressed air through the 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 frozen water pipes if not properly protected. This includes indoor plumbing. As for interior water sources, it is only a concern if you leave for any extended period of time because when you are there, the house will presumably be heated to your comfort level. When you plan to leave for more than a month or so, it is best to turn off the main shut-off valve and leave the heat set to 55°F to help keep pipes from freezing in interior walls. There are ways now that can monitor your water flow and temperature so you can track this while you are away alerting you to when something might be of concern. This could help keep your mind at ease when the weather man is reporting Truckee as the coldest spot in the nation.


A good practice is to know your plumbing and learn where the water shut off locations are. If your pipes do freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can 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.

Lets button up our homes and get ready for the big winter to come!

Click here for more information on the subject provided by the North Tahoe Public Utility District.

Katie Tyler