Consequences to Cabin Owners

As a cabin owner, you will likely have significant repair costs from water damage if your water supply fails while full water pressure is present. There are also potential additional financial consequences to you, the cabin owner, for failing to use our water system responsibly.

Unauthorized Use of Water

The Lady Creek Water Association bylaws provide for fees of up to $200 per occurrence for “unauthorized use of water, ” such as:

  1. Leaving water running while not at cabin. Some people think that they can avoid frozen pipes by leaving the water running at a low level. This approach simply doesn’t work. The water will freeze anyway if it is cold enough. Have you ever seen ice on a stream or river in the winter? But what it does do is:
  2. Waste water
  3. Lower water pressure for everyone in the system
  4. Increase costs for everyone through added electricity and wear and tear on the pumps
  5. Having a catastrophic failure and leak resulting front negligence in water usage.

If a cabin owner fails to follow the winterization steps outlined to the left, and their cabin experiences a broken pipe and leaking water (thereby depriving other members of their right to use the water system) that would constitute ‘unauthorized use of water’ and would be subject to the $200 fee.

Winterizing Your Cabin

The number one cause of water loss to the system is a broken pipe inside a cabin, particularly during the winter months.

Our water systems are gravity fed and capacity is small enough that a major break could drain down an entire system relatively quickly. When this happens we all lose our water supply, and the system incurs added expense for electricity and wear and tear on the pumps to refill the system from the wells.

Protect our Water Supply

Please take these simple steps to protect your cabin from a plumbing disaster and to protect our water systems from outages and low water pressure so everyone can enjoy reliable water service at their cabin.

  1. Turn off the water supply whenever you are not at your cabin. This is a good idea any time, but especially important during the cold months of November through March. The older plumbing found in most of our cabins can fail even in warm weather. If you turn off your water supply, even a broken pipe will not cause a catastrophic system failure or cause extensive damage to your property.
  • Please use your own shut-off valve to turn off your water supply. Do not use the valve at your meter; it is not designed for continuous on/off use.
  • lf you don’t have your own shut-off valve (usually located under the crawl space), temporarily use the valve at the meter but have a shut-off valve installed for your cabin as soon as possible.
  1. Drain your system after you turn off the water. This step could reasonably be skipped during time warmer months, although it is still a good precaution any time of year to relieve the pressure on your lines.
  • Not all cabins have a drain valve for their water system. It is usually located under the crawl space and may even be a part of the shut off valve, or it could be on the outside of your cabin. You can also use an outside hose valve, or even use the lowest inside faucet you have in your cabin. Any water you drain out of your pipes when you leave will reduce the risk of your pipes freezing and
    breaking. It will also reduce any damage to your cabin should you experience
    a broken pipe.

Protecting From Fire

Here are some simple, practical things you can do to protect your cabin and minimize
the dangers from a hot, fast-moving wildfire.

Establish a zone

To improve the odds of your cabin making it through a wild­fire, establish
a defensible space around the cabin that makes it harder for a fire to
start or be­come established. The defensible zone should extend a minimum
of 30 feet from your cabin in every direction, and it should be well-planned
and continually maintained.

Hoodland Fire District’s Triage Checklist

Checklist as a PDF

Hoodland Fire District has a check list that they use when approaching
a fire. If you have the first two items on their check list they are instructed
to “STOP and Write it off.”

  1. The first item is the Driveway. If it is too
    narrow or steep to back in or branches overhang or there is down-dead
    fuels lining the drive.
  2. The second is the roof. If it already is involved
    in fire it is considered a write off.

Their check list continues with
10 more items used to assess how they will defend a cabin.

Within the 30-foot zone:

  • Trim trees. First request permission to remove all dead trees. Cut
    back tree limbs at least 6 feet off the ground. This removes “ladder
    fuel” and helps prevent a ground fire from spreading into trees.
  • Remove combustible materials. Move combustible materials away from
    the cabin, includ­ing firewood, scrap lumber, flammable liquids such
    as gas cans, and anything else with the potential to feed a fire.
  • Trim weeds and vegetation. Trim around the
    home to a height of less than 4 inches. Also, keep
    weeds and dry grass at least 10 feet from firewood and any de­bris piles.
  • Clean the roof and the yard. Rake up needles and leaves, and remove
    them from the roof. Cut back overhanging limbs, and keep gutters clear.
    Dispose of cuttings and debris properly. Consider chipping and composting
    yard debris rather than burning it.
  • Use fire-safe roofing. In a wildfire, the roof is the single-most
    vulnerable part of the home. If wind-blown embers land on a dry wood
    roof, it can ignite it in seconds, and quick­ly spread. When re-roofing
    an existing cabin, use fire-resistant or fire-treated roofing materials.
    Also, be sure the chimney or wood-stove flue has a spark arrestor, and
    check its condition at least once a year.

Help emergency crews

Look at your home through the eyes of a firefighter or anoth­er member
of an emergency crew.

  • Know your address. When you call in the
    fire know your address so you give the proper number. Be sure
    the 5 digit marker is visible. Can it been seen at night?
  • Check your property’s access. Can fire trucks
    and emer­gency vehicles easily access your property? Is there anything
    that blocks your road or driveway, or makes it potentially difficult
    to turn around?

A wildfire may seem like a remote possibility, but every year hundreds of homes and other structures are destroyed, so it pays to be prepared. Take a little time to look around the inside and the outside of your house, and make plans now to turn your home into a safe and fire-resistant zone.