How to Prep Your Lake House for the Off-Season

You’ve toasted the last s’more, taken your final paddle around the lake, and just like that, it’s time to say good-bye to another season on Lake George. Whether you’ll be back in February for some winter weather fun, or you’re waiting for that final thaw in the spring, here’s everything you need to do to prepare your Lake George vacation home for the harsh winter weather that lies ahead.


Preparing your pipes for winter is the most critical step in closing up your Adirondack vacation home. You’ll want to turn off the main water valve to the house, then drain any remaining water from the pipes by turning on the faucets.

Most plumbers also recommend blowing out the lines with an air compressor and draining the water heater and toilets. Pouring a non-toxic anti-freeze down the drains is another simple, yet effective line of defense. And, if you have a dishwasher or washing machine, don’t forget to drain those, too.


Your first instinct may be turn off the electricity to save money, but keeping your lake house at an even temperature can prevent big problems, such as mold and frozen pipes. Instead, leave the power on for your heating system and set the thermostat to 55 degrees.

You can always conserve energy, and prevent a fire, by unplugging all of your electronics and appliances, or, turn off the power to different parts of the house, such as the bedrooms or an electric-powered water heater, via the circuit breakers. Just make sure to leave the power on for your front porch light and, if you have one, the security system.

Pest Control

Keeping critters out of a vacant lake house is a constant battle for Lake George homeowners, but removing or properly storing food is a good start. Dry goods should be stored in tin or aluminum cupboards and cabinets, while grains and seeds are best kept in metal containers with air-tight lids. Empty the refrigerator and freezer of perishable items, and, if you’re turning them off, make sure to keep the doors cracked to prevent musty odors and mold.

Take out all trash and vacuum the house top to bottom to eliminate crumbs. You can also put wire mesh over the chimney and outside vents, and install traps or repellants in strategic entry points and under sinks, tables and kitchen counters.

Home Security

Even if you don’t have a home security system, you can still discourage break-ins by securely locking all of your windows, doors and dead-bolts. Motion-sensor exterior lights and a programmable porch light and interior lights are also excellent deterrents. You’ll also want to protect any valuables you leave behind by storing them in a fireproof safe.  

If you have year-round neighbors, let them know you’re going to be away and provide them with your contact information so they can alert you if they see anything unusual. And keep the numbers for the Lake George Police and Fire departments handy in case you need to check on your property in an emergency.


Whenever possible, try and bring outdoor furniture inside, especially umbrellas and foam padding. If leaving metal furniture outside, spray it with a coat of WD-40 and coat any wood with teak oil. You’ll also want to clean your outdoor grill, cover it and disconnect it from the propane tank.

To protect your canoes or kayaks from theft and harsh weather, stack them on sawhorses out of view from the lake and road, and chain them together with a good lock. For homes with a pool, it’s best to hire a professional for winterization, and if you’re concerned about the Lake George ice damaging your dock, you may want to consider a dock bubbler. The new systems feature quiet air pumps made of aluminum housing, which provide better ventilation and are easier to maintain, as well as being energy efficient.

Prepping Your Lake House for Sale this Winter

If you’re planning to put your lake house on the market next spring, your plans for the winter will be slightly different. Find out why now is not the time to relax, consider these top 5 updates to increase your home’s value, and if you have any questions, please give me a call at 518-321-1870. I’m happy to talk to you about ways to prepare your home (and yourself) for the spring real estate market in Lake George.