Cabins can be a wonderful refuge from the craziness that comes with everyday life. If you aren’t intending to use it as a getaway during the winter though, you need to take measures to prepare it to weather the cold. Making the proper preparations can make a big difference in what you come back to when the weather warms up again, so it’s important to do it right.
Winterize the Roof
Your roof is one of your cabin’s first lines of defense against winter weather conditions. Winterizing the roof will help it protect the rest of the cabin. Inspect the roof to make sure it is in good condition. Watch out for signs that indicate repairs are needed. If the roof needs repair, get it done as soon as you can. It’s also important to make sure the roof is properly insulated. This helps prevent the formation of ice dams that can potentially cause significant damage to both the roof and the rest of the cabin.
Clean Your Gutters
Since cabins are typically found in the middle of nature, there’s a good chance that quite a lot of debris makes its way into the gutters. Before you leave for the season, make sure you clean the gutters out well to help prevent damage. When working properly, gutters direct water safely away from the cabin and its foundation. As debris collects in the gutter, it becomes less able to effectively direct the flow of water. Eventually it will become clogged. This causes water to spill down the side of the cabin, potentially causing significant water damage. Additionally, as temperatures drop, there is an increased chance of water being retained in the gutters, freezing, and causing them to break. You should be cleaning your gutters twice a year at a minimum, but it’s a good idea to clean them out whenever you’re going to be away for a while.
As the weather cools, small animals will be looking for warm, dry places to take shelter. Your cabin can be a very inviting home to them, and if you don’t take precautions to prevent them from doing so, they will make themselves at home inside. Make sure your doors and windows are tightly sealed and locked. Check for any leaks in the interior and exterior of the home and seal them up. Don’t forget to close your chimney too. To further prevent animals from making their way into your cabin through the chimney, close the fireplace damper and seal the box.
The change in the weather likely means you have some equipment you won’t be needing much of for a while. You’ll need to have a place to store the equipment, preferably not too far away from the cabin. An offsite structure like a modular garage is perfectly safe for storage. Modular garages are fairly customizable, so if you want to go that route you should be able to find something that suits your needs. It will give you a place to store your lawnmower, if you have one, and other yard equipment. It’s also well suited for housing things like ATVs and snowmobiles. If you have planters, hoses, sprinklers, water toys, or fire pit accessories, you can store those as well. Don’t forget to pack away any outdoor furniture, picnic tables, or hammocks as well.
Fire Prevention Tips
More fires happen in winter than any other season. It’s important to do as much as you can to prevent fires from happening at your cabin while you aren’t there. Clean the furnace filter well before you leave. This will help your heating system run more efficiently and help prevent fires. Outside of the cabin, take the time to rake and remove leaves so they are at least 30 feet away from the cabin. Coincidentally, that’s also how far away piles of firewood should be.
Protect Your Pipes
When temperatures freeze, any water left in your pipes will freeze, causing it to expand and potentially bursting your pipes. This can lead to significant water damage. There are a couple of ways you can prevent this. The first is to keep the heat running at a minimum of 55 degrees while you’re away. Open up areas where pipes run through the cabin to expose them to relative warmth. You can further protect them from the cold by insulating them. Keeping the heat running gets expensive quickly though. The other option is to drain the water from the pipes and then blow out any remaining water with an air compressor.
Plan for Snow Removal
Just because you aren’t going to be there doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to neglect snow removal at the cabin. Accumulated snow can become quite heavy. If your cabin has a deck, this poses a problem, as it can potentially result in the deck buckling and collapsing under the snow’s weight. Additionally, nothing says nobody’s home quite like pristine, untouched snow. If you want to keep your cabin secure, making it look lived in can discourage criminals. If you don’t want to handle the snow removal yourself, hire a cabin care company to take care of it for you.
Prep Your Appliances
Prepare your appliances for winter to keep them in good condition when you return. Any appliances that use water need to be drained for the same reason your pipes need draining if you aren’t leaving the heat on. Appliances can be energy vampires, so if you’re closing up for the winter it’s a good idea to unplug them before you go. The same goes for other electronics, by the way. This helps protect them in the event of a power surge. If you decide to shut off the refrigerator, keep the door open so it doesn’t smell musty when you get back.
If your cabin is a three-season cabin, you need to act quickly to prepare it for winter. There are things to take care of both inside and outside of the cabin. There are plenty of other things you should do as well, but these measures will help get you started on protecting your cabin from winter weather.
Read this next: How to Make Your Home More Weatherproof This Winter
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