How to Winterize a Cabin

Winter cabin covered with snow

Is it time to winterize your cabin? “Winterizing” is a process by which property owners ready their cabin, cottage, or summer home for winter. In most cases, individuals winterize a cabin because it will not be in use for an extended period over the cold months / offseason.

It’s important to know how to properly winterize a second home in order to protect your investment. Improperly closed cottages and cabins will be left vulnerable to the elements. As a result, they could become a haven for birds and small mammals or sustain serious damage from burst pipes.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Winterizing Your Cabin

Winterizing your cabin or cottage is no small task, but the reward is sweet: peace of mind all winter long.

Read on to learn how Aire Serv® recommends winterizing a standard cottage or cabin, both inside and out …

How to Winterize the Exterior of a Cabin

  1. Mow and weed whack
    Mow and weed whack around the exterior of the cabin to remove tall weeds and plants that can be homes for small critters. Use a leaf blower or rake to corral leaves. Keep debris away from exterior air conditioner units, dryer vents, and windows to prevent future damage.
  2. Winterize all gas-powered tools
    After you finish using your lawn mower, weed whacker, etc., carefully clean, drain, and store all gas-powered tools according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Clean the gutters
    A blocked gutter can, over time, cause major damage to the roof and leave the attic or ceiling of a cabin susceptible to water damage. Inspect your cottage or cabin’s gutters and clean any blockages before closing your cottage for the year.
  4. Inspect the exterior of the cabin for damage
    Inspect for damage to siding, trim, and windows. If damage is discovered, repair or replace accordingly to prevent water damage and animal and insect entry.
  5. Clean and store lawn décor
    Empty flowerpots and birdbaths and carefully wipe down and pack all lawn décor in the garage or basement.
  6. Store summer recreation equipment
    If you have a boat dock, boat, or summer recreation gear, store them safely for next summer, according to the manufacturer’s instructions

How to Winterize the Interior of a Cabin

  1. Deep clean the interior of the cabin
    Wash windows, vacuum flooring, wash all laundry, clean out cabinets and the refrigerator, and scrub countertops prior to closing the cabin. A deep clean will reduce the likelihood of finding rodents and pests next spring and will help you to quickly open your cottage again in a few short months.
  2. Turn all HVAC appliances off or to “vacation mode”
    Turn off or set all major HVAC appliances—heaters, furnaces, water heaters, etc.—to vacation mode. Vacation mode will keep your appliances active but at a lower-than-normal level, to conserve energy. If your water heater does not have a “vacation mode,” dial the thermostat back to 55 degrees or turn off and drain the water heater entirely, to reduce energy consumption.
  3. Turn off the water and drain excess water from pipes
    Turn off the water main. Flush toilets and turn on sinks to drain water from the pipes. Use an air compressor to push any remaining water out of pipes.
  4. Protect textiles
    Protect your cottage’s textiles by closing drapes, covering upholstered furniture, and placing mothballs or dryer sheets in linen closets.
  5. Clean out the kitchen
    Remove all perishable items from the refrigerator and freezer and turn off the power and fully defrost. Place a broom handle in the doorframe to keep the refrigerator and freezer from closing over the winter, which creates bacteria growth and a horrendous odor in the appliance and throughout the cabin. Additionally, take a moment to clean out and wipe down all kitchen cabinets. Remove any food that will expire over the winter. Repackage any non-perishable food that you wish to keep in the cottage for the winter in airtight, pest-proof bags or boxes.
  6. Close the damper
    If your cottage or cabin has a fireplace, close the damper to prevent animals like raccoons, mice, bats, and squirrels from taking up residence in your vacation home.
  7. Unplug all electronics and appliances.
  8. Lock windows, doors, and storm doors.
  9. Shed a tear and bid your cabin farewell for winter!

Turn to Aire Serv With Your Cabin Winterizing Questions

Fall is not only the perfect time to winterize your cabin, it’s also a great time to have your HVAC and water heater systems inspected and tuned up. Our Total Comfort Tune-Up is designed to keep your home’s HVAC systems running smoothly, year-round.

If you’re ready to have your HVAC or water heater systems inspected, repaired, maintained, or replaced, contact your local Aire Serv. Our technicians are here to make sure you breathe easy with heating and cooling services you can count on. Schedule an appointment online or call today.