Winterizing your cottage (Hard Shutdown)

Ok here is the disclaimer first, if you are not familiar with the workings of the plumbing system in
your cottage it is always best to employ a professional plumber to walk you through the process first.
Some plumbing systems are not designed to be fully drained via gravity and could require the lines to
be blown out with compressed air. If your system utilizes complex water treatment systems it is NOT
recommended that you undertake the winterizing of your cottage. In most areas we will be able to
provide you with a referral should you like one.

  • Turn off the power to the pump
  • Turn off the power to your hot water tank (HWT)
  • Turn off the power to your Ultraviolet light (UV light)
  • Should individual shut offs not be available, or you are unsure if or where they are located you can
  • locate your electrical panel and shut off the main breaker. Should you have any reservation about
  • doing this then you should STOP and contact an electrician to establish proper shut off switches to
  • each or the three components mentioned above.

Step 2
Open all taps, hot and cold, the taps will now be left open for the winter.

Step 3
Attach a garden hose to the drain fixture at the bottom of the HWT which you will extend to the
exterior. Open drain and allow the remaining water in the tank to drain off. Once draining at the HWT
is complete you can remove the hose. Leave the drain valve open. Placing a small catch tray will
ensure no “dribbling” will occur on the floor.

Step 4
At the base of your pressure tank there will be what looks like an outside tap. The garden hose that
you had used for your HWT can now be used to attach to the base of the pressure tank. Open the
valve and allow it to drain to the outside.

Step 5
Assuming that your water source is surface water (lake or river) you can now disconnect the 2” (could
be 1 ½”) black flex pipe from the pump. Now in theory the only pipes that should have water in them
are your drain traps below all the sinks.

Step 6
You will need to now go to each of the toilets in the cottage and flush each one of them, sometimes
twice. You want to remove not less than 95% of all the water from the bowl and the tank of the toilet.

Step 7
You will now need to pour not less than one cup of plumbing antifreeze down each drain (sinks,
showers, bathtubs). It is also good to pour a couple of cups into the washing machine and then
engage the drain cycle, equally this can be done with the dishwasher. The intent is to displace the
water that is remaining in the trap. With the toilets you will pour the plumbing antifreeze into the
back of the toilet until the remaining water in the bowl is the same colour as the antifreeze.

Step 8
If you have an exterior or interior sewage pump pit, the human waste should generate enough heat in
it to prevent freezing assuming that it has at least a 12” earth covering (exterior only). If you want a
little insurance you can flush a full litre of plumbing antifreeze down the toilet .

Step 9
Should you have a high efficiency propane furnace, the condensate line should also be winterized as
should any humidifiers if your intentions are to not run the furnace during the winter. This will require
an HVAC company to come in and do this.

Step 10
It is well advised that you should now post at the front door that this plumbing system has been
winterized and is now a dry system.