After the beginning of May, someone in our family is spending nearly every weekend at our lake house in Shelby, Michigan. The house itself is nestled in the woods, about 2 miles down a dirt road, and then you see six flights of stairs climbing up a dune. Our lake house has about 100 feet of private Lake Michigan beachfront. Once that weather warms up, the beach is a little piece of paradise. When the weather begins to cool, the leaves change colors, ranging in shades of gold to the deepest of cherry reds. It is a truly glorious sight. Unfortunately, that sight is a forewarning that winter is surely coming. The house is almost entirely inaccessible once the snow falls. This fact prioritizes the necessity of winterizing this second home without any room for error.
Thankfully my dad and my brother run a small plumbing business, making them versed in winterizing homes to avoid the catastrophe of a frozen water pipe. I’m going to share with you three things to do when winterizing a second home based on the sage advice of two plumbers I know!
When winterizing your home, be sure not to skip these three things…
1. TURN OFF THE WATER MAIN! This is the easiest of steps. Find your water meter, and the main will be right there. Turn the lever so that the water is off. Such a simple step, but it is THE step that will save you the most money. No running water means no reason for a water bill and no chance of days, if not weeks or months, of flooding…if a pipe freezes and bursts during the winter.
2. Open all the faucets to ensure there is no water sitting in any drains. Obviously running water causes more damage to property when a pipe freezes and bursts but sitting water will still cause damage (…though a smaller amount of damage).
3. Pour antifreeze into each drain. Most plumbers will not recommend using Liquid Plumber or Draino to clear out a clogged pipe, but they will recommend pouring anti-freeze in your drains to coat the pipes. Afterall, you wouldn’t leave your car without anti-freeze in the winter, you definitely should not leave your home without it either!
These three steps for winterizing a second home will be the defining reasons for why you do not end up calling your insurance carrier to file a claim for flood damage, calling Sabres Plumbing to replace all of your burst pipes, and spending the beginning of warm weather rehabbing your getaway. Winterization of your home will save you thousands, and it will make both your plumbers and your insurance agents proud. Don’t skip these three steps and when the summer returns you won’t miss any time enjoying that beach or floating on the lake. Cheers to that thought!