How to Winterize Your Cabin

Now there are a lot of us who live around this parts full-time but there are some who don’t and many of those part-time residents and home owners close down their cabins in the fall so that the colder winter weather doesn’t ruin the plumbing or other fixtures.

Most people think of winterizing as it relates to plumbing because broken pipes can create a lot of havoc but there are other considerations, too.

Outdoor Sprinklers & Landscaping
This year we shut off the outside watering system in September–just before the freeze hit.

I usually shut off the sprinkler controls and then turn off the water at the house (not the meter). We make sure to open all the spigots to drain the sprinkling system. Since I am on a hill and all the spigots are downhill–this works well.

I don’t worry about the external faucets here but you can find insulated external faucet covers. Many folks wrap outdoor faucets with insulation or rags and then cover them with plastic.

Usually I leave the ground cover in place until spring. Although this year I decided to pull out some of the dead plants because they were tall and a fire hazard. Dead or dormant plants insulate the ground nicely and I’ve had mountain gardeners pull tasty treats from the ground midwinter–growing under the coverage!

Indoor Plumbing
Most people shut the water off at the source and then bleed the water lines and water heater lines. Some people leave the water on but winterize the pipe lines with insulation or heating tape to prevent freezing.

You can protect sink, bathtub, and shower drain traps by pouring about 1 cup of plumbing antifreeze down each drain. Make sure to use the non-toxic type of antifreeze called propylene glycol in products such as Sierra Antifreeze.

Some people turn off the circuits to their home. It is a good idea to unplug unused electrical appliances because they draw phantom electricity even when they are not being used.

Air Conditioning
Most of the older homes up here do not have central air conditioning but it is more common than it was previously. Make sure to cover the outside condenser and if you use a window air conditioning unit be sure to  weatherize it with insulation and plastic.

Some people will cover their windows with shutters, plywood, or plastic because it helps prevent snow and ice buildup on ledges. In addition to protecting any wood frame, this also helps to prevent the ice and snow from melting and seeping into the cabin.

I use faux double panes on my windows. The plastic sheets are in the screen frame and protect the windows while also raising the inside temperature of the house about five degrees.

Roofing: Unclogging any rain gutters before the winter is a good idea so that they will work well and any melt will run off. We don’t have a large problem with ice dams in the gutters around these parts due to the warm winters but it is a good idea to clear the gutters of snow to prevent the ice melt freeze cycle that cause the issue.

I’ve got a metal roof which keeps the buildup on the roof to a minimum but roof rakes are popular and some people install snow melting heat elements over the eves to avoid this problem.

Make sure to check that house foundation vents and any roof air vents are clear.

Many people take time just before winter to do some septic tank maintenance by adding a commercial septic treatment product or an enzyme product to aid in breaking down solids.

Many people will store their patio furniture indoors for the winter. I leave mine out but use linseed oil to help buffer the elements.

Now I am SURE that you have some tips and hints on this topic so why don’t you leave a comment below?

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2008 and is filed under Mountain Lake Resort, Small Town Living.

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