Winterize your N Ga Mountain cabin/vacation home! If not..this is what CAN happen!!

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Town and Country



Winterizing your cabin/vacation home is an important step to make sure that it stays cozy and dry as outdoor temperatures dip. 

Failing to winterize your home can result in problems like water leaks, bursting pipes, and structural damage. 

These tips are provided to aid you, the homeowner, in winterizing your home/cabin.  While no one can guarantee against frozen/broken pipes,  it is  important that you take steps to prevent that from happening.  The purpose of winterizing your cabin/vacation home is to remove water, which can freeze, from within the pipelines and other areas on site. 

•1.       Winterizing your cabin/vacation home requires you to shut off your home's water supply at the main valve.  This water valve is usually located in the basement or laundry room of your home.  After this valve has been securely turned off, open (or turn on) all inside faucets-kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, tubs, showers and laundry room basin-all outside faucets, (also, be sure to remove the garden hoses from the outside faucets).  Leave faucets open to drain away any lingering water that could freeze and break fixtures later. 

•2.       The next step is to drain the water heater. 


Special precautions must be used in draining and filling an electric hot water heater.  Electricity must be turned off before draining or refilling the hot water tank!!!

To drain your hot water heater, simply connect a hose to the drain at the bottom of the heater and allow the water to run into the floor drain.  If you do not have a floor drain, extend the hose to the outside of the house.  Once the heater has been drained, be sure you close the valve at the base of the heater. 

•3.       After all the pipes are drained, they should be protected.  You can protect "exposed" pipes by wrapping them with insulation or, in cases when the water cannot be totally removed   from the pipelines, a heat tape can be used. 

•4.       The traps in the toilets, all basins, tubs/showers and laundry tubs should be protected from freezing.  To protect your toilet, you should first flush it (with water supply turned off)-this will clear the tank of any water.  Next sponge out any excess water remaining in the tank.  Dip out some of the remaining water in the toilet bowl, and then add a dilution of propylene glycol anti-freeze, as this is non-toxic, in the bowl. DO NOT USE the type of anti-freeze that you put into your car or truck.  Also, the reason you leave some water in the toilet bowl is to adequately seal the traps so sewer gas will not enter your home through the drain ways.  Also pour the non-toxic anti-freeze into all drains in your home.


These are just a few steps to take to hopefully prevent any nasty and expensive surprises from frozen water pipes.  I have also been told by several people, from plumbers to builders, that you should leave the heat on a low setting, anywhere from 55 to 62 degrees (for this area located in the North Georgia Mountains).  You can also check with a licensed plumber for more information to safe guard against the chances of frozen pipes. 

I have included a few pictures of a cabin where the pipes froze and burst during a really cold spell and the damage was major. 

This information is not a guarantee against damage, but just a little FYI to maybe help from having a big headache, like what happened in these pictures.

   Water Damage to ceiling in basementMore water damage from frozen pipes  All the flooring had to be removed


Everything had to be removed and replaced  This Another view of the

Comments (3)

Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality
Century 21 In the Mountains - Ellijay, GA
Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!

Ouch! That one hurt! Poor folks...Hope they got everything all fixed up! Great post!

Jul 17, 2010 01:37 AM
Patty Ledford
RE/MAX Town and Country - Blue Ridge, GA
Your N. Ga. Mountain Agent -The Ledford Team-Blue

Kim..yep this one was painful for sure. It was a brand new cabin, but it is back to it's original glory!

Dec 22, 2010 01:58 PM
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Sometimes banks winterize homes after the pipes froze. Always inspect the plumbing even if the house was winterized.

Jun 09, 2018 10:07 AM