Tips to winterize your home
Our beautiful autumn weather soon will be followed by snow and cold. With that in mind, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency offers these tips to help homeowners and cabinowners save energy and prevent problems in the winter months:...
Our beautiful autumn weather soon will be followed by snow and cold. With that in mind, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency offers these tips to help homeowners and cabinowners save energy and prevent problems in the winter months:
Septic system maintenance: It's important to have your septic tank pumped out regularly. How frequently depends on how often the cabin is used and by how many people. Septic system maintenance prevents leaking and the possible contamination of groundwater. To help prevent septic systems from freezing, spread a layer of straw or leaves over the system to provide insulation.
Furnace tips: A clean, well-adjusted heating system will save money on fuel and prolong furnace life. Tasks homeowners can do themselves include vacuuming the furnace interior, changing the air filter and checking any belts for wear. For more complicated maintenance, turn to a repair service. If you don't plan to use your cabin during the season and are winterizing the plumbing, you can turn off the furnace.
Winterize plumbing: If you are going to completely close the cabin, you can shut off the water and winterize the plumbing. Bleed pipes and water heater lines completely and use recreational vehicle antifreeze, which is rated for potable water lines and is not as toxic as regular antifreeze. If you have never winterized plumbing before, you may want professional assistance. For those using the cabin periodically throughout the winter, set the thermostat to 50 degrees and open the doors of cabinets that have pipes in them so heat can get in. Pipes also can be insulated or wrapped with heat tape.
Lawn care: If you absolutely must fertilize, use a phosphorus-free product and do not apply any fertilizer within 20 feet of lakes and streams. Also, don't forget to clean out gutters and add the material to the compost pile.
Sealing windows and air leaks: Sealing windows and air leaks will help conserve energy and save dollars. Also, have some steel wool on hand to plug any holes large enough to invite critters into the cabin while you are away. Mothballs or dryer sheets around the cabin also keep out unwanted pests out.
Appliances: If you are shutting off the heat in the cabin, drain any appliance that uses water. Check the owner's manual for specific guidelines. Many electrical appliances use energy when they are plugged in -- even when they are not in use. Conserve energy, prevent fires and protect appliances and electronics by unplugging them when they are not in use. Finally, don't forget to cover the outdoor air conditioning unit if you have one.