With winter quickly approaching, it will soon be time to close down the cabin for the season. Unfortunately, too many cabin owners simply turn off the lights, lock the doors and leave without properly winterizing the cabin. This increases the chance of a potentially dangerous and costly occurrences, such as busted pipes, water damage and fires. Thankfully, the following 5 tips will help you get your cabin in order and prepared for the colder months before you leave.
Far too often, people don’t think about their furnace when closing their cabin down for the winter season. And this really is a shame since a well-tuned and cleaned the heating system will not only save you money, but it will also increase the lifespan of the furnace. Before you leave your cabin, make sure to change the air filter, clean the inside of the furnace using the vacuum attachment and examine the belts for wear. You should also consider hiring a trusted HVAC company to give your furnace a good once over before turning your heating system off for the winter.
Pipes are susceptible to freezing even in homes that are lived in year round. That is why it is important to properly winterize your plumbing, especially if your cabin will sit empty during the cold season. Turn the water off and bleed the water heater lines and all the pipes. However, seeking the help from a company that offers professional plumbing services is recommended if you have never winterized the plumbing before. If, however, you will periodically use the cabin through the winter, open the cabinets and doors, and set the furnace thermostat to 50-degrees. This will help prevent the pipes from freezing. Wrapping pipes in heat tape or pipe insulation will also help prevent frozen pipes that can cause water damage.
Don’t think that you can leave your septic system without properly preparing it for the winter. The first step is to make sure the tank is regularly pumped. The frequency of how often it is pumped varies depending on how much use the cabin gets. That is why you must make sure that the septic system is working properly before leaving the cabin. This will help prevent leaks that could contaminate groundwater. Like pipes, septic systems can freeze. But you can help prevent this by spreading some leaves or straw over the system, which will act as insulation.
Air leaks are a big problem even when you’re not using the cabin. Thankfully, they are rather easy to correct. Simply install weather-stripping around the doors and windows to eliminate air leaks. While you’re sealing air leaks, look for any holes that unwanted critters could use to gain entrance into the cabin. Plug in holes you find with steel wool or foam caulking.
Turning off appliances before leaving the cabin for several months is not efficient enough. You must actually unplug the appliances to prevent them from using energy. Many appliances, especially electronics, are energy vampires, which means they continue to use energy even when turned off. By unplugging the appliances, you protect the item, conserve energy and prevent fires. If, however, you are turning the electricity off at the breaker, there is no need to unplug appliances. You should also drain any appliances that may have water in them and cover the exterior air conditioner unit.