The cottage season wrap-up has begun. The chores that go along with closing the cottage for the winter can last several weeks and involve a mix of outdoor tasks from restocking firewood supply, filling propane tanks, pulling boats from the water, and storing outdoor furniture.
At the centre of it all is the water system and readying it for winter. It doesn’t necessarily mark the end of trips to the cottage but it does mark the end of running water which naturally makes life a little easier.
Shutting down the water system is a methodical job that isn’t very forgiving of mistakes. It’s very easy to leave the cottage and forget something, and it happens all the time according to Plumbtech Plumbing Inc., a Barrie-based company that provides plumbing services for cottagers from Simcoe County to Muskoka.
The plumbing could have additional risk this year because, with the pandemic, more and more people have been using the cottage for extended periods of time. That means it can be harder to keep track of post-season use. If someone, for example, uses the cottage after the water system has been shut down and winterized, it could lead to plumbing problems later. For that reason, Plumbtech Plumbing advises taping the toilet seat down as a visual alert to prevent use.
Special attention is required for some fixtures to work properly in the spring. When draining the hot water tank, turn off the breaker as well as any switches, otherwise, the heater element will burn out.
Turn off the power to the pump that supplies water to the cottage. Drain all the lines and leave all the taps, leavers, or knobs, inside and out, open.
Flush the toilet twice. This will take most of the water out of the back of the toilet and the bowl. The remaining water needs to be sponged out. Also, disconnect the small water supply line at the side of the toilet to allow it to drain and reconnect before adding antifreeze to the tank and bowl. Then tape the seat down to prevent inadvertent use.
Drain any appliances and add plumbing antifreeze where it’s required including sink and shower drains.
Drain the water purification and filtration systems. Some cottagers remove it and store it at home for the winter months.
Drain the water pump. Some cottagers pull the intake line from the water while others disconnect from the pump. A tap inserted into the line at the shore will also release water leading to the pump.
Cottagers with a sewage pump will need to winterize it with a final pump up to the septic bed before adding antifreeze. Turn off the power to it for the winter as well.
If the plumbing system doesn’t drain by gravity alone, the lines may need to be blown out with a compressor.
It may help to make up a checklist to keep you on track. However, if it all sounds like too much work, contact Plumbtech Plumbing Inc. at 705-722-7209. Estimates are free.
Plumbtech’s experienced, skilled plumbers have been providing plumbing solutions for cottagers and homeowners living in the city or country, as well as businesses of all sizes since 1986. There is also a 24-hour emergency service.