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Cabin Home Winterization | Ultimate Guide

Making memories at the cabin is about as American as a barbeque on the 4th of July. But as the seasons change and you spend more time at your primary home, winterizing your cabin is important to its overall integrity. In this guide, we will give you clear answers to what needs to be done to complete your. (If you want a quick checklist guide, scroll to the bottom, grab a screenshot, and get to work).

What Is Cabin Home Winterization?

Cabin winterization is when you take steps to prepare your cabin or home for an extended time of vacancy. This is an especially common practice for people living up north who spend their winters in the south. However, these steps would also work if you were preparing to be away from your cabin or home during the summer months and want some added safety while your home is empty.

Do I Need To Winterize My Cabin Home?

Yes, especially if your home will be vacant during the cold months. Winterizing your cabin gives your home enhanced safety from extreme weather changes. If you choose not to winterize your home, you risk burst pipes, unneeded electrical charges, and added wear and tear on your HVAC system.

What Do I Need To Do To Winterize My Cabin Home Exterior?

Winterizing your cabin home exterior takes a fair amount of work. But the alternative is coming back to a cabin property that is in poor shape and needs work when you should be relaxing. To make sure that your cabin is as relaxing as possible, go through this list below to make sure the outside of your home is ready for when you return.

Mow, Weed Whack, Pickup Leaves

When winterizing your cabin, having the exterior appearance in great shape is more important than you may realize. Think about this: When you go somewhere and see the grass that is high and a plethora of weeds and leaves covering the driveway, the odds are that you believe the home is vacant. To ensure your home is not a prime target for vandalism or being broken into, take the extra few hours to mow, weed whack, and clean up leaves around the exterior of your home. Some people take this a step further and have a lawn care service to keep up with the maintenance while they are gone.

Clean The Gutters

Along with cutting the grass and picking up leaves, don’t forget to clean the gutters. This is done more for the safety of your home than for appearance. While the gutters may not seem full when you leave, making sure that they are empty can allow for water to flow easily and will prevent two things from happening. First, it will make sure that your gutters are able to drain away the water runoff correctly. Second, making sure your gutters are clean will prevent too much weight from being put onto the fastener system, which could result in the gutters being pulled away from the building.

Inspect Your Roof and Home For Damage

Once your gutters are clear and your grass is mowed, it’s time to inspect your roof and home for any possible damages. This is important as any unnoticed damage can result in more hassles later. Checking the ground level of your home should be as simple as doing a thorough examination while walking around the building. If you want to get an accurate representation of how your roof is looking we recommend that you use a drone to give you a birds eye view of the roof’s integrity.

Pressure Wash The House

Once you see that there is no damage, and the leaves and grass are taken care of, it’s time to wash your house. The best way to do this is pressure wash your home. This will help you remove mold, mildew, or dirt from the home, giving you a clean home to enjoy at the beginning of the next season. 

If you are worried about the pressure of a pressure washer on your home, we would recommend that you use a hose attachment that helps to mix the water and soap together.

Winterize Your Gas Powers Tools

Now that you have mowed and pressure-washed your home, it’s time to winterize your tools. This will ensure a long life for your outdoor tools and make sure that they are ready to go for the next season. The simplest way to make sure that your outdoor tools are winterized is to run your equipment until the gas is completely used up. If you want a more detailed look at the issue, watch the video above.

Store Your Outdoor Furniture

Now that all of your tools are stored and your house is clean, the next step in winterizing your home is storing your outdoor lawn furniture. While outdoor furniture is designed to be outside, it is not ideal to let your belongings sit outside when not in use for an extended period of time. This is how things tend to “grow legs” and walk away from your home when you are gone. If your furniture is too large to pack away, we recommend that you tie it down with a lock and some wire cabling.

Lock-Up Any Outbuildings

In our opinion, if you have an outbuilding, it’s best to have some kind of padlock as a part of the door-locking system. This makes it obvious to you that it has been locked up and will make it equally obvious to you if someone else has tried to break into the building while you are gone. If you are anything like us, you have forgotten to lock something up once you have everything packed away, so make a detailed list of what should be packed away.

Talk To You’re Neighbors

When done, your home gives neighbors you trust a key to your cabin. This way, if there are any emergencies while you are gone, someone can get into your home. We’ve all heard nightmare stories about no one being able to get access to the home in the event of an emergency, and we don’t want that to be you.

Ensure Snow Removal Tools Are Accessible

Depending on when you open your home after winterization, there may still be some snow on the ground. Make sure that you have easy access to your snow removal tools. This will allow you to get into your home and start the process of getting ready for the summer that you have been longing for.

What Do I Need To Winterize My Cabin Home Interior?

While winterizing the exterior of your home is important to the building and property integrity, the indoors need to be winterized as well. This is often where most problems start when the home is not winterized properly. So, let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to finalize the interior for winter.

Block The Cold

Blocking out the cold is integral to keeping your wallet safe from unneeded heating or cooling expenses when you are not around. To block the cold, we recommend putting weather stripping on windows. If you aren’t sure what type would suit your needs best, check out the video above.

Deep Clean

Part of making sure that your home is winterized and ready for next year is to do a deep cleaning. No one wants to come back to a dirty home after dreaming all winter long about their cabin vacation. To get the best results, you may want to hire a trusted cleaning service or make it a part of the chores the last weekend you were there.

Turn Off All HVAC

If you are truly winterizing your home, we recommend shutting off your entire HVAC unit. There is no need to keep your home warm for nobody. However, if your home is prone to moisture or freezing pipes, you may want to have it set to vacation mode to prevent any serious issues of mold or burst pipes.

Shut Off Your Water

Did you know shutting off your water is not as easy as just turning off the faucet when winterizing your home? This is actually a multistep process, this involves shutting of the main as well as draining the taps in each room. Keep reading if you want to know how to shut your water off for winter.

Shut Off The Main

Your water main is what brings water into your home from either the municipal system or from your well. Shutting off the main will make sure that no water gets into your home’s plumbing. This is crucial when winterizing your cabin home as water in the pipes can lead to pipes bursting when there are temperature fluctuations.

Drain Excess

Once you shut off the main, you need to turn on the water at every tap. Let the water drain out completely so that no water is left in the pipes. It is important that you do both the hot and cold water handles, as each one of them is attached to a different part of the plumbing system. Once you drain the water out, we recommend you put some kind of label on the handle indicating that the home has been winterized.

Protect Your Pipes

As we have mentioned several times taking care of your plumbing is vital. To add an extra layer of protection to your home take extra care to protect your pipes. This would look like covering them in foam or if it is extra cold covering them in heat tape.

Protect Textiles

Protecting your furniture is important as during the colder months mice may try to find a way into your home. From there they may try to take up residence in your furniture. We recommend that you cover your furniture with plastic. Buying some kind of plastic painters drop cloth typically is enough to protect your furniture.

Clean Out The Kitchen

Cleaning out the kitchen is really important to home winterization if you don’t want to come back to an unpleasant “aroma” in the spring. Make sure that you take all unopened and non expired food back to your home with you. We promise that throwing the $1 bottle of open ketchup away will not be the beginning of your financial ruin, in fact leaving the fridge running while you are gone to keep it in the fridge will probably cost you more money.

Close The Damper

Enjoying a cozy fire is the pinnacle of enjoying your cabin. However, to make sure that no critters make their way in ensure the damper to your fireplace is closed. If possible make sure that there is a lock on the damper so that if any animal were to mistakenly get into the chimney they can not end up making a mess in your home.

Unplug All Electronics And Appliances

Did you know that one of the biggest causes of cabin home fires is outdated electric failing, such as those found in older appliances? To make sure that your home doesn’t become a tragedy on the local news, unplug those old appliances when winterizing your home. This way, you limit the ability of a spark to occur.

Set traps

Setting some traps on the inside or outside of your home is a great way to make sure that pests can’t get into your home. The more you do on the outside of your home the less you will need to do inside. Just to be safe, though, we recommend having a few set just to make sure that any field mice don’t tear up your furniture inside.

Take Your Valuables

One of the biggest reasons for break-ins is the result of people leaving valuables in their home unattended home. We recommend that you take your valuables back home with you to mitigate a break-in. We especially recommend the removal of firearms and other items that could be used to hurt people if they were to end up in the wrong person’s hands.

Security Camera

If you have internet at your cabin home, we recommend that you add in some kind of security camera. Especially if your home is winterized for several months. Not only will this allow you to see if anyone is trying to make your home the next target, it will also allow you to see some wildlife while you are gone. 

Pro tip: Guys, this is an easy sell for an extra “deer cam” at the cabin.

Put Your Mail On Forwarding

When you are getting ready to finalize your winterization, make sure your mail is forwarded to your primary residence. This is something that can be easily overlooked. In forgetting this step you essentially are putting a target on your home that says, “ no one lives here,” so let’s prevent that from happening and have your mail forwarded.

Are Their Companies That Will Winterize My Cabin Homes?

Yes and no. Typically, you can get in touch with a plumber and cleaning service to help you take steps to have your home winterized. However, upon a quick Google search, there are no results for a full-service home winterization process. If you know of any, make sure you share them with your family and friends who need this kind of service.

Do I Need To Winterize My Home When I Am Gone For 1 Week?

Generally, no, you would not need to winterize your home if you are only gone for 1 week. However, it does depend on your climate. We recommend that if you are going to be gone for more than 2 weeks, you implement this cabin winterization process to avoid any major problems. On the other hand you may find it to be a better option to have someone house sit for you and avoid this problem all together.

Free Home Winterization Checklist

If you like this blog and want to use these steps for yourself self, take a screenshot of the list below to make for an easy checklist guide. If you are in the market to get your very own cabin, take a look at our available inventory of completely finished cabin homes. Or, if you are a bit more of a DIYer, check out a shell and get to designing.

Cabin Home Winterization ChecklistCompleted
Mow, Weedwack, Pickup Leaves
Clean Gutters
Inspect Your Roof
Pressure Wash Your Cabin
Winterize Your Gas Power Tools
Store Outdoor Furniture
Lock-Up Any Outbuildings
Talk With You Neighbors
Block The Cold (Seal WIndows and Doors)
Deep Clean The Inside
Turn Off All HVAC
Shut Off Your Water (Mains and Taps)
Protect Your Pipes
Protect Textiles
Clean Kitchen
Close Damper
Unplug Appliances
Set Traps
Take Valuables
Security Cameras
Put Mail On Forwarding
Cry Because You Had To Winterize The Cabin
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