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5 Steps to Prepare Your Michigan Cabin for Winter
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on September 30th, 2019

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5 Steps to Prepare Your Michigan Cabin for Winter

michigan winter  |  preparing for winter  |  cabin  |  cottage

If you live in Michigan, you know that winter can show up before its scheduled arrival time.

That’s why many who live in the Mitten or people who live out of state, but own cabins in northern Michigan start prepping them for winter before the weather actually turns.

This preparation can save you a lot of time when you come back to your cabin, whether it’s for the holidays or to start all over in the spring.

Our main mission here at RetroFoam of Michigan is to help homeowners make their houses, and even cabins, more comfortable and energy efficient. When given the opportunity, we also like to educate homeowners and help them out as much as we can.

With that being said, we’ve come up with a list of chores to do as you prepare your cottage in Michigan for winter.

How to Close a Cottage for the Winter

There are some items on the list that will seem self-explanatory, while others might not have occurred to you.

From mowing the lawn to insulating pipes, here are our tips for closing your cottage for winter.

Clean and Store Outdoor Items

Depending on how you use and live in your cabin, you’ll have some items to make sure you clean up and store.

If your cabin is on a lake, you’ll want to clean and store your boats. The same is true for your dock, ladder, life jackets, and other water toys.

A few other things to clean up and put away will be your fire pit, flowerpots, water hoses, and outdoor furniture.

Mow the Lawn and Rake the Leaves

No one really wants to do yard work, but here we are. Mowing the lawn at your cottage and raking up all of those colorful leaves will save you some time when you are ready for cabin life again the next year.

Mowing the lawn one last time is just the start of your outdoor chores. Once this is done, it’s time to clean the lawnmower and winterizing the rest of your gas-powered yard equipment, according to Cabin Life.

Next, Cabin Life recommends raking and removing the leaves around the cabin. The recommendation is to remove the leaves that are within 30-feet of your cabin.

Don’t get comfy, your outdoor work doesn’t stop here.

Clean Out the Gutters

Just like at your home, clogged gutters can leave you with a mess.

The key point with your cabin is that you won’t be there to catch it before it does extensive damage. The water can build up causing damage to your roof. The same thing can happen when the snowmelt has no place to go.

Speaking about your roof, it’s not a bad idea while you’re up there to take a look at the shingles to make sure they aren’t broken or raised. There is no worse feeling than coming back to your cabin after the winter to find a leak formed and went unchecked for several months.

Insulate the Pipes So They Don’t Freeze

Worse than finding an unchecked roof leak is finding your pipes froze over the winter and burst.

Lake Country Builders recommends checking out your pipes before closing your cabin up and there are two routes two follow depending on your plans.

If you don’t plan on visiting your cabin again until the weather warms up, it’s recommended to completely drain the pipes and if possible, to blow out the pipes with air to make sure they are completely clear. If there’s no water, then there is nothing there to freeze.

The second option means you’ll be visiting your cabin during the winter.

Lake County Living suggests draining those pipes after each visit. Another option is to have the pipes wrapped with insulation to help prevent the pipes from freezing. Maintaining heat in the cabin while you’re away can also help.

Look for Air Leaks and Seal Them

Sealing air leaks has two benefits – keeping your cabin warmer and not giving pests easy entry.

Check around the cabin for drafts coming from electrical outlets, where the plumbing runs into the cabin, dryer vents, and around windows and doors. These smalls areas can be insulated using canned foam insulation found at any hardware store. 

If there is a place where air is leaking into the cabin, these are also places where pests can get inside. Those pests search around the perimeter of the cottage until they find where the air is leaking out. That’s like an open invitation for them to move right in.

One thing to keep in mind is that if these areas aren’t properly insulated, then the other bigger areas around the cabin might not be either. It could be beneficial to add insulation to the cabin to help make it more comfortable in the summer and winter.

Using Your Cabin in Michigan Year-Round

The tips above can be helpful even if you plan to utilize your cabin in the winter as well, especially adding insulation. 

Adding home insulation to your cottage can help keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter, especially if you create an air seal with foam insulation.

With a cabin that is comfortable year-round, all you have to do now is make sure your snowmobile is gassed up and your skis are ready to go.

Related Articles

5 Winter Energy Saving Tips for Michiganders

How to Prepare a House for Winter: 10 Things to Do Before the Snow Flies

Ultimate Foam Insulation Buying Guide for Existing Homes

About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.