Winterizing your Cabin/Home

Broken pipe

Should you winterize your cabin…. or leave it on?  This comes down to personal preference and how much you come up in the winter.

Winter is amazing in Park County and in my opinion one of the best times to be up here!!  Wildlife wanders into residential areas more, the quiet falling snow around the Cabin and of course snow ball fights with the kids.

A Couple things you should ask yourself… how often do you come up?  Will you be up in the winter?

If you are coming up at least every two weeks them most folks will leave their cabin “On”.  This is just simply turning down the heat and closing up the blinds and lastly turning off the well pump.

Some Basics to Shut Down:

  • Always turn off your well pump!!  Even if you come up every single week.  This little effort can save you from a real headache if for some reason heating fails in the cabin.
  • Get a digital thermostat, especially if you have zoned heating.  Set it to turn up the temp automatically on the day you normally come up a few hours ahead of time.
  • Turn it as low as you are comfortable doing, most do around 50 degrees.
  • Close the blinds to hold some of that heat in.
  • Do you have a switch for your furnace? Tape it in the on position to make sure it doesn’t accidentally get turned off by someone during a shut down process (guests usually).  The Breaker also if your well Breaker is next to your furnace breaker.
  • If you dont visit your place AT LEAST every 3 weeks ideally more you will likely need to possibly get septic tank heaters installed.  Plumbers & handymen can give you a hand on these. 

If its longer than every couple weeks then you may want to consider draining all your pipes and actually turning off you heat to save on propane bills. So this involves completely draining the pipes and using antifreeze to keep some spots from freezing.

Some Basics to Fully Winterize:

  • Turn off the heat
  • Drain all pipes, Pressure Tank & Hot water Heater, Water line to the ice maker, check for low spots… they may need to be blown out (id recommend having a plumber install a blowout).
  • Don’t forget the water to the fridge and dishwasher
  • Toilet & Tanks need to be drained
  • Put antifreeze in the P Traps, Toilets, Sinks, Tubs, Showers, Clothes Washer Drain, USE RV ANTIFREEZE (PINK) this will not kill the bacteria in your septic system.

Every house is different so be sure to look everything over and to have a plan.  If you are at all unsure of how or what to do it is a great idea to hire a local Handy Man or Plumber to walk you through it the first time or two an then make a checklist to use in the future.

Contractors List – 

Misc Tips

  • Make a checklist especially if friends & family use the cabin.  One to turn on the cabin the other to shut id down.
  • Be sure the Hot Water heater is full before turning it on, especially if they are electric.  Electric units will pop the heating elements if they are not surrounded by water.  Couple extra elements are always a good idea to have around.
  • Charge up your septic before winter with bacteria. Rid-X or we all like to use a product called Bio-Sure available online.  This will generate heat in the septic tank.
  • Check for Leaky toilets or dripping faucets they can cause water to freeze in the waste line.  Reason being the slow moving water will freeze before it reaches the tank causing a big ice dam.  This is nearly impossible to clear without professional help.  This is probably the leading cause for problems with cabins in the winter time.
  • If you have a digital thermostat… CHANGE OUT THE BATTERIES IN THE FALL!  If the batteries die it will not tell the furnace to fire up.  While you are changing out those go ahead and do the smoke/CO detectors at the same time so you have fresh batteries through out the winter season.
  • Monitor your home!!  If you have any internet connectivity many thermostats have a way to monitor the temp, there are also smart thermostats that will notify you.  And lastly there are monitors that hook into the phone line that will call you at a set temp setting.
  • Always turn off your well pump!!  Even if you come up every single week.  This little effort can save you from a real headache if for some reason heating fails in the cabin.  Yes this one is on here TWICE for a reason!!

Kevin Copeland

Email: [email protected]

Cell Phone: 970.368.0025

Office Phone: 719.838.7001

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