Winterizing the Cabin

8/30/14 @ 12:14 PM
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river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12
My family uses the cabin in the winter and need running water so I do keep my heat set at 50 throughout the winter when the cabin is not in use. What do people do to minimize heat loss from the windows during the winter? Anything besides the usual visqueen or 3M shrink wrap to weatherize the windows? Am thinking of blocking the inside of the windows with sheets of 1 inch foam insulation. Trying to do away with horrendous fuel bill like last winter Any one with thoughts or experience on this. Thanks
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Displaying 1 to 10 of 19 Posts
2/12/18 @ 4:59 PM
Shellfish
Shellfish
USER since 7/19/03

My cabin is more for new build methods.  On my cabin which is 12 years old I had my plumber during the build set cabin up for quick drain.    When leaving cabin, 

Turn furnace down to 56,   flip fuse for water pump and electric water heater off.  Open all faucets and flush all toilets until empty. Plunge water out of toilet traps and put rv antifreeze in all traps. Open drain valve above water heater and both valves after pressure tank in basement.  These are at lowest spot.  They catch in 5 gallon buckets remaining water in angled pipes around house.  Takes about 5 to 7 minutes to stop draining.  I do not empty the water heater tank.  This sits in basment next to floor drain.  Plumber stated i would without doubt start the water heater before i refilled it and ruin it long before this place would freeze and maybe lose the heater to freeze.  I turn thermostat on gas fireplace to 50 degrees. Installed in fireplace a device called the cabin friend that can turn gas fireplace on by battery power.  If power would go out for extended time and dropped to 50 degrees in cabin the device would turn on fireplace.  Does not run fans but easily heats all the main floor.  12 years no problem.   We heat  and electric cabin in northern wi in dead of winter for less than 100 per month.


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2/12/18 @ 1:15 PM
7thson
7thson
USER since 6/4/06

Lakeshiner , your house/cabin sounds just like mine . Monolithic slab that has pex type heat coils run from a boiler throughout it . Summer fills and woodburner , 2x6 walls , home faces south with enough glass to catch whatever is available in winter to also warm the tile floors . Toasty !!

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2/12/18 @ 5:35 AM
albertbill21
albertbill21
USER since 2/11/18

thanks 4 this. i also also have the same problem.

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11/3/14 @ 7:13 PM
buckhound
buckhound
USER since 4/18/06
We turn off the pump from under the kitchen sink then open all the faucets.The pressure tank pushes water out of the system down to floor level. the basement is walled off below the kitchen/bath and has a small radiant heater which keeps it at 50 degrees. thats all we have done for 13 years with no problems yet. when we come back up north we just turn on the pump switch. no big production.

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9/3/14 @ 8:08 AM
redhornet
redhornet
USER since 1/7/05
My dad is a plumber so have lots of that stuff figured out, was planning on using Pex tubing for the water lines since they can withstand freezing and thawing so some degree. Thought about the radiant heat, but if we turn the heat off when not there it will take so long to warm the place up. I know the HVAC guy I talked to said he can put in a thermostat that we can control from the home. Plan on insulating the outside basement walls. Thanks for the advice guys.

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9/3/14 @ 7:51 AM
lakeshiner
lakeshiner
USER since 7/20/09
Just a little off topic but if you would be building new I would suggest radiant heat under a slab. I kept my place at 50 degrees all winter and never even used 1 tank of propane (500 gallon tank, 26'x32' building). Worked well so I can fill up in summer at a low price. That entire slab being one big warm rock, with 2x6 walls really held the heat.

If you have a phone line, you can get a freeze alarm too. My water heater actually went out last year because the intake froze up and that is how my radiant heat runs. My alarm called me and let me know. I could then call it at different intervals to see the current temp in the building so I could tell how fast I had to head up. I only lost a degree every few hours so I had enough time to deal with it. Moved my exhaust pipe further away and then I was fine. Nothing like gluing PVC in -4 temps lol.

I have a Vermont Castings wood stove, I really like it. The ash tray swings out underneath it. That thing can cook us out if we overload it. We got it figured out now but there were times we had the windows open in the middle of winter and it was 80 inside. Heavy cast iron, like 350 pounds even though it doesn't look like it.

Edited on 9/3/14 7:55 AM
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9/2/14 @ 7:34 PM
tutor
tutor
MEMBER since 6/24/07
Sapman is right and in addition I would add a good wood burning fire place free standing or built in either must have a block chimney so you are not worried about soot! All the items in the cabin including the walls are cold and really take a while to heat up but with a wood burner it only takes minutes. Wood is cheap, fun to cut at times and just has that up north feel!',,,, when building almost everything you do to help with your energy cost as we mentioned here are going to be more $ upfront but will save in the long run. Put additional plug ins close or right next to your well because you may want to add heat tape to your pipes and or place a lightbulb in a insulated box over your well or sump a lightbulb only cost 5cents a day to run .insulate the outside wall of your basement , add a clean out to your fireplace, put in special freeze proof piping add plug-in to under cabinets plan plan plan before you build it will pay in the long run. Start talking to plumbers ,, builders now and get several so you have lots of input. Good luck in all you do!

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9/2/14 @ 3:13 PM
sapman
sapman
USER since 8/16/01
Our cabin froze last winter due to furnace troubles. Yes, your sump pump and pit will freeze without heat. We only lost one toilet and two broken pipes. Now we shut everything down to save on heat. It takes about 2 hours but nothing can go wrong and we save money on the propane bill. The biggest hassle was what was a 3 day fishing trip became a 3 day fixing trip. Our water heater also froze but thanks to gentle thawing it didn't need to be replaced.

Winterization process; Drain water heater and pipes, blow out traps and replace water with rv antifreeze, when water is done draining blow out pipes, plunge out toilet and put in rv antifreeze, sponge out toilet tank and rv antifreeze, (take apart fill valve and rv anti freeze, rv anti in the dishwasher and run it for 30 seconds, sponge out sump pump it. It's a hassle but worth not having worries on the return.

Cabin building thoughts; put pipes on a slant so they will back drain, DO NOT put a check valve anywhere (holds water, avoid pipes on outside walls (better to come up inside of a cabinet)

just some thoughts from a weekend warrior.

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9/2/14 @ 10:20 AM
redhornet
redhornet
USER since 1/7/05
I have a question, we are planning on building a cabin in a few years and plan on having a basement so you guys with basements what do you do with your sump pump to keep it from freezing or does it not freeze up because of the depth, but figured it the heat is not on in the cabin it would get pretty cold in the basement so it might freeze up.

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9/1/14 @ 6:37 PM
roofer
roofer
USER since 6/6/04
tutor is spot on! pretty much how we run our cabin, family fishree in mid feb, temps are 20 below at night and takes three hours to warm up, but well worth it.

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Displaying 1 to 10 of 19 Posts