Vacation Cabin Upkeep: How to Winterize a Cabin


Closing down a vacation cabin at the end of a long, relaxing summer is important to insure harsh winter weather doesn't play havoc on plumbing or other fixtures. Taking time to properly winterize a cabin is also a great way to save fuel costs.

To take the guess work out of how to winterize your vacation home, use the handy checklist below:

• Make sure the water to your summer cottage is cut off at the source. Winterize plumbing; bleed pipe and water heater lines (see How to Drain Heater Water section below). If water is to remain on, winterize pipe lines to prevent freezing.

• Protect sink, bathtub, and shower drain traps by pouring about 1 cup of plumbing antifreeze down each drain.

• Turn off electricity to the vacation cabin if there are no electrical items that will remain on, or unplug unused electrical appliances.

• If your summer cottage has central air conditioning, cover the outside condenser; if you've a window air conditioning unit, weatherize it well with insulation and plastic.

• Cover windows with plywood or plastic in areas with heavy snowfall. This prevents snow and ice from building up on window ledges, which can later melt and seep into your vacation cabin, or cause damage to the wood frame.

• Clean gutter rain spouts and other drainage systems so they will work properly.

• Check foundation and roof air vents to insure they are clear.

• Winter is a great time for septic tank maintenance; add a commercial septic treatment or enzyme product to aid in breaking down solids.

• Weatherize external features such as flower beds, landscape or floodlights, patio, and water spigots.

Uncertain how to winterize your outdoor faucet?  Insulated external faucet covers are available commercially. Or wrap strips of toweling or blanket insulation around the faucet; cover with plastic.

Note:  avoid using regular antifreeze, which is very toxic, to winterize water pipes and drains in your vacation cabin. Use plumbing antifreeze; for campers and mobile homes.

How to Drain Heater Water

Further weatherize your home by draining the water heater. Take the following steps:

  • Make sure the circuit breaker is turned off

  • Connect a hose running from the water heater drain valve to a drain sourc

  • Open the water heater drain valve and drain out the water

Note: the water heater drain valve is usually located on the lower side of the heater; if not, refer to your owner manual.

How to Drain a Water Softener Uni

  • Unplug the unit

  • Take the fittings apart on top of the water softener (where water piping connects to the unit)

  • Uncouple the two lines; let them drain in a bucket

These great tips on how to winterize your vacation home will go a long way in preventing cold weather problems. If you require the services of contractor handymen or a general contractor to help winterize a cabin or make repairs, post your project needs online at

Membership and posting job requirements online is fast, easy, and free; without obligation. Questions?  E-mail us at

Posted by: TrustedPros
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area. Read real customer reviews, browse photos and compare credentials.

Find your home service pro
comments powered by Disqus

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.


Get quotes from top-rated contractors