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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.