The days are getting shorter, leaves have already started changing colors in many parts of the country and cottage-goers are thinking of everything that needs to be done to close up the cabin and winterize it.
Properly winterizing your cabin will save you money on water, energy and maintenance and it can help prevent costly problems during the colder months when you aren’t spending time there. In addition to regular home fall maintenance or home improvements like cleaning gutters, checking for pests, and tidying up the garden there are some chores that are specific to the summer house.
Water, Well and Septic Systems
• These are some of the most important systems when it comes to winterizing your cottage. If you are a new cottage owner or unsure how to proceed, a professional plumber can show your how to properly winterize your system in order to avoid expensive plumbing repairs down the road.
• You will want to make sure that the water to your summer house is cut off at the source and that all lines are drained, or bled.
• Drain and unplug all appliances that use water (water pumps and tanks, hot water heater, water softener, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.), following the manufacturer’s manual for specific instructions.
• Drain any outdoor hoses or pipes and turn off the valves running to the outside.
• If your septic system hasn’t been emptied recently, you may want to have it done now. Alternatively, you can add an enzyme or treatment product that helps break down solids. If you’re concerned with freeze-thaw cycles, you can spread a layer of leaves or straw over the septic system to help insulate it.
Heating, Cooling and Electrical Systems
• Turn off and cover the air conditioning unit.
• Clean out the furnace filters and turn the furnace off completely, as long as you are completely winterizing and draining all water pipes.
• If there are no electrical items that must remain on, turn off the electricity to the cottage at the main panel. If you are leaving the electricity on, be sure to unplug any unused appliances or furnishings.
If you want to protect your property, prevent potential problems and save money, winterizing your cottage is essential. It may seem like extra work now but you’ll be happy to open up and well-maintained cottage in the spring.
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