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How to Winterize Your Lake House

There's a lot to do to prepare your lake house for winter, but if you're organized and spend the extra time getting everything buttoned down, you won't have to make a sudden and expensive fix over the winter.


  • TIP: Arrange for a permanent resident of the area to check on the property and report on conditions every now and then.
  • Step 1: Clean and store patio furniture, and take plants back home to maintain them during the winter.
  • FACT: As of 2010, broken water pipes were second only to hurricanes in home damage claim costs in the United States, and repairs costs averaged tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Step 2: Seal or cover all the windows with plastic, and repair damaged shingles to prevent leaks before you take your tools home. Clean out gutters and downspouts to avoid ice developing while you're gone for the season.
  • Step 3: Pour biodegradable antifreeze in the sinks and toilets to displace water in traps. Call in a company to do the septic tank maintenance while you're at it.
  • Step 4: Shut off the house stop and drain valves. Mark the valve outside with a long wooden stake to locate it in heavy snow.
  • Step 5: Open all faucets and flush all toilets in the house, releasing water from the cold water pipes. Open your hot water drain valve.
  • TIP: Keeping the house at 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit may not prevent a burst water line if things [[WHAT THINGS? LIKE THE OUTDOOR TEMPERATURE?]] stay at zero for too long, or if there is a power outage.
  • Step 6: Play it safe and unplug electronics, lights, and appliances. Remove ash from the fireplace or wood stove, and cart off combustibles for the season. Drain gas out of all machines.

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