During the last week of January 2014 children are kicking a soccer ball around, golfers are swinging mightily at the driving range, cyclists are out in full force and sun worshipers are laying on the beach. While this might sound like the typical description for a seaside town in Southern California, it's actually an accurate portrayal of life on the Nevada side of North Lake Tahoe this year. The unseasonably warm weather combined with historically low levels of precipitation have resulted in many people putting away their ski boots and dusting off their hiking boots as the bizarre weather turns the normal wintertime lifestyle upside down.
For those who live all year round at Lake Tahoe having access to an unlimited supply of drinking water is a refreshing thought especially when considering the water rationing programs that have started to appear in other parts of the parched Western states. However, property owners will want to take special measures during this unusually warm and dry winter season to maintain and protect their homes from both the natural elements and the threat of wildfire.
With little to no snow on the ground below 7500 feet in Incline Village and Crystal Bay (except for some shaded or North facing areas) it behooves property owners to rake up pine needles and pick up fallen branches and twigs now rather than waiting for the usual springtime cleanup. Take a walk around your property and remove pine needles and other combustible materials, paying special attention to creating a no burn zone within 5 feet of your house. The wind events of the past four months have deposited pine needles and branches all over the ground on every property. Just one spark from a carelessly discarded cigarette or other ignition source could create a most unfortunate situation and lead to a fire that quickly spirals out of control.
It is also a good time to inspect around the foundation of your house and the deck support posts to make sure that there are no earth to wood contacts. When dirt builds up next to any type of wood there is a high propensity for deterioration, rot or insect infestations to occur. Taking a proactive approach and eliminating earth to wood contacts during this time of year can help to preclude very expensive repairs in the future. All you need is a garden claw, gloves and a steel brush to perform this preventive maintenance and eliminate any earth to wood contacts.
Daytime temperatures are warm enough that you can do caulking around windows and doors and the caulk will be able to cure properly. Normally, this task needs to be attended to during the summer or autumn months. However, with the days getting longer and temperatures well into the 50s a good deal of the time, this is an excellent opportunity to perform a task which will not only help to keep your home warm and cozy but will also have a positive impact on your wallet by reducing your heating bill.
Exterior painting jobs at Lake Tahoe are traditionally performed from late spring through mid autumn. But, in the winter of 2014 it is feasible to engage in smaller painting projects and touchup work on exposed beams, trim, deck posts and rails. Outdoor painting work this time of year should ideally take place between 10 AM and 2 PM so that the ambient air temperature will be conducive to the paint being applied smoothly and evenly while allowing enough time to dry before temperatures drop in the evening hours.
Even though Mother Nature has not blessed us with abundant snowfall during the current winter season, there is a high probability that we will see at least a few significant snow storms between now and the end of April. So, it is a good idea to be prepared for the inevitable blizzard-like event by taking your snowblower out of the garage and starting it up to make sure that it is ready for the next accumulation of the fluffy white stuff. You don't want to be trapped in your house and missing out skiing a fine powder day simply because your snowblower is not tuned up and ready to go.
The fire danger will likely be very high to extreme for a good part of 2014. The recent wildfires in California are a reminder that everyone who lives in our part of the world needs to be extremely vigilant and take precautions all year round to avoid a catastrophe. By taking a little bit of time to perform defensible space work during what is normally the peak of ski season you can have peace of mind and a more enjoyable summer to look forward to.
Don Kanare is the Broker/Owner at RE/MAX Premier Properties