When should I open my foundation vents in Tahoe City?
If you live in a mild climate, where the temperatures do not drop below the freezing point, then your foundation vents are probably open all year-long.
If you have a property in the greater Tahoe City, North Lake Tahoe, or Truckee area, where our temperatures will drop below freezing for months at a time, it is highly recommended that you close your foundation vents in the fall, which means you will also need to re-open your foundation vents during the warmer months.
As a local Tahoe REALTOR® I am often asked by buyers when should they open and close their foundation vents in the greater Tahoe City area? It’s a great question, and here is what I suggest:
My general rule of thumb to open and close your Tahoe home/condo foundation vents:
- Open Foundation Vents – Any time beginning from late May – Memorial Day Weekend through early June, no later than Fathers’ Day.
- Close Foundation Vents – Early October, but no later than Halloween.
Why is it important to open and close your foundation vents each year in the Tahoe area as a home, or condo owner?
The Tahoe area receives on average about 400 inches of snow each year. That means our area has high levels of snow/water exposure around our buildings. As the snow melts, the ground becomes wet and that can include the area under your home, or condo.
Opening the foundation vents in the early summer lets warmer air flow through the space under your ground level floor and the ground. This area may be referred to as a “crawl space”, or it may be much larger and you can walk into this area. Either way, this dirt area under your floor needs to be dry to prevent problems, or damage to the structure.
- When you open the foundation vents around the base of your home/condo, this allows for that ground area to “dry out” if it has become wet.
- Dry dirt is what we need to avoid the formation and growth of organic materials like fungus and other nasty items that can cause significant problems for home owners down the road.
If you are a Tahoe condo owner, your local home owner association (HOA) may open the foundation vents in your building, but that responsibility may fall-back to you.
In early June look around the foundation for vent opening and if they are still closed, call the HOA and find out who needs to do this important task.
While it may seem that just 3-5 months of open air flow is not enough time to do the job, given our dry, low humidity climate, it is more than enough time to “dry” things out and avoid future problems if you do this task every year.
What if you forget to do this in May/June? Even opening the vents up for just a few weeks in August/September is better than not at all, so do it as soon as you remember.
How will you know if the foundation vents are open, or closed when you are buying a home/condo? When a local pest company does their inspection of the property you are buying, or just a regular check-up, they will note if the foundation vents are closed.
If the inspection is done during our winter months, we would expect the foundation vents to be closed, and if they are, the pest inspector will recommend that the home owners opens them once the weather is warmer.
Why close the foundation vents in early October? Closing the foundation vents in the greater Tahoe City area is a way to prevent freezing water pipes.
During the late fall and early winter, our temperatures will start dropping below the freezing point. At some point during our winter season we will experience at least a few days/weeks of single digit temperatures during the winter season and that’s when having the foundation vents closed can help prevent water pipes from freezing.
These low temperatures can cause plumbing problems, so closing the foundation vents in October is a way to help prevent frozen water pipes. It is also a way to prevent animals from making a home under your home, and creating damage to duct work, or insulation.
Today, I removed our foundation vent covers. Our home was built in the 1930’s so our covers are on the outside of the home, so I’ve removed the insulation board pieces and stored them away for the season.
I’ve also made notes on my calendar to close our foundation vents back up during the first week in October.
You may need to open your foundation vents by going under your home, or you may be able to open them by using a lever on the vent (see first photo). How to open your foundation vents will depend on the style of vent that has been installed and how the previous owner decided to close them.
If you don’t know how to open your foundation vents, or close them, set up an appointment with your handyman to do this task for you. They can also show you how to do this work so you’ll be ready for the fall when it is time to close them, or you’ll know you need to have the handyman come back in the fall to close things up for you.
Home ownership in the greater Tahoe City – Truckee area is different than in other parts of Northern California. A little planning and a few reminders on your annual calendar can help you do some simple things that will really help you maintain your Tahoe property.
If you haven’t opened your Tahoe home foundation vents, now is the time to do it!
As a Tahoe second home Buyer, or Seller you are going to have a number of questions, so let me know how I can help you!
Thinking about making Lake Tahoe, California your second home? Check out the homes that are for sale here:
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- Tahoe City Homes for Sale
- Tahoe City Condos for Sale
- Tahoe City Lakefront Homes for Sale
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- North Shore Lake Tahoe Homes for Sale
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All information is deemed reliable, but is subject to change, and/or correction without notice.
When should I open my foundation vents in Tahoe City?