Keep the cold out!

There's a reason why reading articles about homeownership features so many Winter Is Coming jokes; winter, especially in Colorado, is the time of year where the most problems can arise with systems like plumbing, heating, and electrical wiring. This is especially true if you have a mountain home, regardless of whether or not it's your main or secondary residence. There's no substitute for properly winterizing your cabin, and failing to do so can translate into significant damage and costly repair bills. 

In the event that you don't want to return to your mountain property and find that it's been flooded, frozen, and taken over by feral possums, here are a couple of things to keep in mind before you pack up for the season! 

If You're Planning to Live In (or Visit) the Property

  1. Check the gutters to prevent ice dams (and other pileups). This is the first thing we recommend because it exists on that awkward intersection of being easy to do, easy to forget, and potentially hazardous if you don't do it. At the beginning of the season, make sure that your gutters are clear of any dirt, leaves, or other buildups, and consider installing gutter guards to make the process easier in the future. 

  2. Slip-proof your property by keeping driveways, paths, and other walkways free of snow and ice. This also sounds like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget until you're ice-skating in-and-out of your garage every morning. 

  3. Check your detectors to make sure that they're all working properly. Fires are more common in the winter than the summer, so you want to make sure that you're alerted at the first sign of smokeā€“or carbon monoxide. 

  4. Have your furnace examined to make sure that it's working properly as well. You don't want to find out anything unpleasant about your furnace while it's sub-zero outside, so it's best to get any potential surprises out of the way BEFORE the snow starts.

  5. Keep your pipes protected by running a stream of water through a few faucets when the temperature drops too low. The moving water will help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. 

If You're Not Planning to Come Back Until Summer

  1. Turn off the main water valves at the water meter and attach a zip-tie to prevent it from being re-activated or tampered with. You should do the same thing with your house's main valve as well. If you have sprinklers, remember to blow them out to prevent any leftover water from freezing when it gets cold. 

  2. Turn off (and drain) your water heater! Something about the word "heater" can make people forget that this tank of water also represents a freezing risk, so it's best to minimize those chances by shutting off the power to your water heater, attaching a hose, and letting it safely drain. 

  3. Blow out ALL of your pipes. This one is especially important because shutting off your water doesn't mean much if there's still water hanging around in your home. It's advised to keep your compressed air pressure below 35 Psi to prevent your pipes from actually blowing out. 

  4. Finally, consider pouring antifreeze into any vulnerable sources of water, such as your sinks, tub, dishwasher, and laundry drain. Once all the water has been drained from these pipes, pour in antifreeze to keep them protected until you return in the spring. Just remember to flush them when you come back: washing your dishes with antifreeze doesn't sound like a good time. 

By taking a few extra steps and being mindful of potential freezes, you can go a long way in keeping your home warm, safe, and functional through the winter! 

Are there any things you like to do to keep your home protected from the elements? Sound off in the comments.