Vacation homes give you and your family a chance to enjoy the beauty of the mountains whenever you like. These cabins and luxurious retreats can also generate income through short-term rentals. However, the cold and snow that make it tricky to live in the mountains in winter reduce opportunities to use your vacation home in the winter. Winter conditions can also damage plumbing and other parts of the home. Winterizing your vacation home prevents damage and ensures your place is ready to use again when spring arrives.
Drain the Pipes
A frozen pipe is the worst consequence of avoiding winterization because the pipe will inevitable melt and flood your vacation home. Draining the pipes is as simple as cutting off the main supply to the home, letting the water run out at the lowest tap, then pouring a little RV safe antifreeze into the sinks, toilets and tubs. Since these fixtures are plumbed with a small bend that traps water, you can’t entirely drain them. Just rinse the antifreeze out when you turn the water supply back on for spring to resume normal use of your plumbing.
Shut Off Your Water Heater
Since there’s no water to keep your water heater topped up during winterization, you need to turn it off manually. Many water heaters are easily switched off at the unit or thanks to a nearby switch. Other models may require you to flip the breaker in the circuit box to cut power. Leaving a water heater running while the water supply is cut causes the unit to run dry, burn up, and potentially explode or start a house fire. Protect your vacation home by preferably turning the water heater off any time you’re not present for more than a day or two.
Set the Heating System
Even after you’ve drained the pipes, it’s safest to keep the vacation home just above freezing in the winter. Unless you prefer to cut all power to the structure to prevent electrical fires, set your vacation home’s furnace to around 50 degrees F. This will prevent most forms of damage to the vacation home caused by extremely cold temperatures. You should still drain the pipes in case the heat fails or there is a power outage.
Get Insurance Coverage
Finally, don’t leave your vacation home unattended for months at a time without the peace of mind offered by an insurance plan. Vacation home insurance costs far less than you think and can help you quickly repair any damage that occurs over the winter.