Many people who own a home in the Shuswap Lake area use it as a vacation home or rent it out during the summer months to holiday makers. Naturally your vacation home or cabin is a big investment, so it's important to take good care of it and follow some basic maintenance tips for when the home is empty. The last thing you want is to leave it for a few months only to return and find your water pipes are broken and your home is flooded.
1. Shut Off and Drain All Water
This step is essential. And make sure the power is turned off. Turn off the main water valve, then turn on all your taps to drain excess water from the pipes so it doesn't freeze during a deep, cold snap. Also drain your dishwasher and washing machine, as well as the water heater. And don't forget to drain the water in the toilets as well. If you have an electric water heater, turn that off too. If it's gas heated, turn it down to the pilot light setting or shut it off completely.
2. Open All Faucets
Open all of the faucets, so that when the freezing weather sets in, water won't end up freezing in the pipes – ice expands quite a lot, so you can easily damage your plumbing this way. Don't forget to keep the hose bibs in the open position as well.
3. Use Antifreeze
Get some antifreeze and add a 1/4-1/2 cup into all the drains, water tanks and toilets. This will ensure any water remaining won't freeze.
4. Empty & Clean Appliances
Remove all the food and condiments from the fridge and freezer, then wipe both appliances down with a bacteria-killing disinfectant. After you’ve cleaned it, consider leaving your refrigerator/freezer doors slightly ajar to prevent mold and mildew from growing. This will also prevent smells from getting into the plastic. Also put a box of baking soda inside. Do the same with the oven, and unplug it or turn off the gas if it's a gas model.
5. Create a Home Inventory
You never know when a fire may start up or a lightning strike can hit, so it's important to make a list of all the valuables in your home or cabin. It certainly helps when dealing with insurance companies and can be useful if there is ever an issue with a renter or tenant stealing something.