With the changing of the colors of the trees in the Sierra, it only means one thing: winter is on its way. With that said, our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe / Truckee decided to dedicate this news article to winter home preparation.
Our offices are located above 7,000 feet which means we take this subject very seriously. As for my clients’ homes where we have architecturally designed everything from lakefront estates to charming golf course homes and mountain estates, the elevations varied a bit yet not enough to change the following list.
Now that the temperatures are dipping into the mid-30’s overnight, we suggest you get started on these winter home preparation tips sooner than later.
Clean Your Gutters: With the rainy season upon us, this task is always at the top of our list. Inasmuch as we love the fall colored leaves from the trees that wrap around our property, we don’t like what could happen if they clog the gutters. The water has to go somewhere, and the last place you want it to go is down into your foundation, basement, and walkways.
Check Your Downspouts and Drainage Areas: While we’re talking about the rainy season and snow to come, add this to your list. Take a walk around your property and look for low-lying areas that may cause water to run in and around your home’s foundation. The last thing you want to have is a close-by creek detouring under your home.
Clean and Inspect Your Chimney: This task goes hand in hand with the gutter cleaning project. If you are comfortable with inspecting and cleaning your chimney, you might as well complete this important task while you are up on the roof. If you’d prefer not to handle this one, there are many professional chimney cleaning services in Lake Tahoe and Truckee region.
Cut and Safely Stack Wood: For those of us who still enjoy the ‘sport’ of finding down trees, cutting and splitting them to the appropriate size to fit our wood stoves, and stacking them for future use, now is the time to commence this annual project. Not into it? A simple search on-line will find you plenty of options for others who enjoy this difficult task to deliver it to your front door. Just be sure when you stack the wood that you keep it at least 30 feet away from the side of your home.
Turn Off Your Sprinklers: If you haven’t done this already, stop reading this and go do it! Be sure to disconnect and drain your hoses and store them inside away from the winter elements.
sClean/Replace Your Air Filter: We actually do this twice a year, and it never ceases to amaze me how much dirt our filters collect.
Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms: This task comes hand-in-hand at our house as we already have the ladder out to replace our air filters. During the winter months, our homes are sealed up from top to bottom, which means we are more susceptible to smoke and carbon monoxide which may leak from your furnace and water heater. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm, put it on your list and get it installed.
Prep Your Landscaping: Now is also the time to protect your landscaping from the winter elements and prepare it for the springtime thaw. Fall is my favorite time to plant new trees, bushes, and aerate and fertilize my lawn one more time before the snow falls. As we all live in various elevations, I suggest you make a quick visit to your favorite local hardware store or nursery to find out what the best winter fertilizer may be for your lawn.
Once the lawn is prepped, take a look around your property for dead or dying trees. If there seems to be one or more that may be on its last legs, it’s probably best to cut them down before the blustery winds of winter do that for you – especially if they may be leaning in the direction of your home or other structures.
For taller bushes, we wrap them up with plant netting so collectively the plant has more stability and protection from heavy snowfall.
While we’re talking about landscaping, be sure to drain all the gas out of our movers and weed eaters as the fuel will go bad. I like to add a bit of stabilizer as well.
Get Ready for the Big One! One more essential tip: get that snowblower out and fire it up. As with all equipment, check the oil, fill the fuel tank, and have it close to your driveway so you’re ready when the snow arrives.
If you need any assistance with one or more of the projects above, I have some very reliable connections to help you get prepared for the winter months ahead. Feel free to give us a call at Borelli Architecture in Incline Village, NV. We’ll be delighted to share our connections with you!
Lake Tahoe / Truckee