Winterizing Your Home

When Should You ‘Partially’ Winterize: Anyone that does not live in their residence “full time”, and those full time residents that leave for extended periods of time for vacations, etc. should ‘partially’ winterize as a precaution by turning off their water, even in the Summer months. It only takes a few minutes and if a leak/break occurs, the only amount of water that can potentially leak out will be what is actually in the lines at the time.

When Should You Completely Winterize:

We advise our second home shareholders to start a ‘full’ Winterization on Labor Day Weekend, and don’t stop until after Memorial Weekend. While we don’t expect temperatures to drop low enough to freeze pipes this early into Fall, most of you will find that your ‘visits’ to the cabin will be few, if not at all before Thanksgiving. Many owners will leave after Labor Day with the ‘intention’ of returning before Winter sets in, only to find that ‘all of a sudden’ they are hearing that snow is falling at the cabin and they realize they failed to Winterize.


While the ‘set up’ in each cabin can differ, the following is a simplified version of the procedure:

  1. Insulate exposed water pipes under the cabin and any exposed service lines outside. A watertight box should cover outside insulation. (Wet insulation loses its insulating value.)
  2. When closing the cabin, shut off the water at the CABIN shut off valve. (Please do not use the service box shut off valve.)
  3. Turn off electricity to the hot water heater. Be sure heater is full of water before restoring energy.
  4. Drain lines by opening the drain valve that should be at the lowest point in the system. (If you have no drain valve, you should install one.)
  5. Open all inside faucets. (kitchen, bathroom, service room, etc. including shower riser)
  6. Open all outside hose bibs and relieve all vacuum breakers if so equipped.
  7. Flush toilets and add 1/4 cup of biodegradable non-toxic antifreeze to toilet bowls. Add 1/8 cup of biodegradable non-toxic antifreeze to water left in flush tanks and in all wastewater traps. CAUTION: ANTIFREEZE MAY AFFECT THE PROPER OPERATION OF YOUR SEPTIC TANK AND SHOULD BE USED IN MODERATION.
  8. Please DO NOT let water run in order to prevent freezing since this not only wastes water, but will result in a penalty charge of $100 for water loss on the first offense. The second offense will result in the water being shut off in addition to a penalty of $200 and a charge for water loss. Both the penalty and water loss charge must be paid before service will be restored.


Even though you (or a service provider) properly shut down and drained your cabin, it is virtually impossible to evacuate all of the water from the system. There will always be an amount of water still in the pipes. The amount of water depends on if the plumbing system was properly ‘sloped’ when it was installed. When we experience freezing conditions, the remaining water in the system can still freeze and result in broken pipes. If you or someone else has not been to your cabin recently, we have very strong words of caution.
Do not turn on the water and leave the cabin without looking and listening for breaks!