Time To Drain The Cottage Water System

The cool nip in the air this morning left me with no doubt that the fall season is here, and of course that means it’s time to consider things like closing up the cottage and of course disconnecting the cottage water supply for winter. This is not something I enjoy, although after all these years it has become a ritual. It’s just the thing to do right now.

Of course, it’s not the end of the world right now, there is still some time left, but depending on where you live, you need to keep an eye on it. Besides that, it is a little more pleasant crawling around under the cottage while the weather is still fairly pleasant. It’s not so good shutting off the water when your hands are freezing and the ground is cold.

I know lots of cottagers who leave their water on much longer than I do. But they may have simpler water supplies, or they might be just lucky….I know what can happen, something goes wrong at home, you get sick, or work gets busy, and all of a sudden you hear the weather forecaster say that the temps are going below freezing. Then you need to make a speedy trip to the cottage and disconnect the water. I’ve had to do it at night by flashlight. That’s not a lot of fun.

Of course there are ways to winterize your cottage, or to insulate the pipes and water system to get the maximum time out of it. However, in my mind, these are not usually worth the bother. Electric sleeves that cover the pipes, and alarms that send a phone call to your home are all good, unless the power goes off, or you cannot get away to make an emergency trip to the cottage. Foundations and furnaces are also good, but what if the power goes off, or the furnace breaks down? If you leave the heat on, you really need someone to be checking the place all the time.

Nope, for my cottage, I like to shut the water off just about now. While the weather is still good, and while I have the luxury of warmer temperatures. Besides, we still use the place. We bring water from home to drink, and we haul a bucket of water from the lake to flush the toilet. That works pretty good. Just be sure to get all the water out of the tank and bowl before you go home…I mean it…get it dry. The best way to do that is bail out the bowl as much as possible, and then soak up the remaining water with a rag until you have it dry. Make sure that you either don’t put any water down the sinks, or if you do, take the bottom off the trap underneath the sink and drain the water out of it. Otherwise it will freeze and split the pipe.

It only takes a few minutes to empty the toilet bowl and tank, and the traps, but you will be glad you did.

If you are looking for more information about shutting off the water at the cottage, here is a post I wrote last year Shutting Off the Water

How about you? When do you shut off your cottage water?

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2 thoughts on “Time To Drain The Cottage Water System”

  1. Your post brought up some conversation w/ Greg & I. We will be using our log cabin quite a bit this winter at least 3 weekends out of the month – so we're trying to figure out how to handle. At my dad's place we used to leave the heat at 59 degrees and shut off the water when we left and then turn it back on upon our return. what do you think?

  2. Ok my wife and I just bought a cottage in st.lawrence, we’ll be tearing down and build from scratch…your site looks like a great guide….we have electric so I’ll visit and join your posting …any beginning thoughts or suggestions…..

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