CABIN OPENINGS

Like many things during the long, Minnesotain winters, seasonal cabins are closed up and stationary. So when spring comes, the only running water to be found might be the melting snow. Returning to your closed cabin, you may find that wells need to be primed, electricity activated, water softeners programed. If you store antifreeze in your toilets over the winter, that will need to be flushed away and cleaned. Water heaters, depending on if you have gas or electric, can also be difficult to handle when ignited after hibernation.

If the cabin was properly drained, the lines will be filled with air, and the process of pressurizing them can be time-consuming and loud. However, if something was done improperly before winter and frozen water damaged the pipes, things can become very wet very fast.

One of Zaffke Plumbing’s goals of excellence is efficiency. When school lets out and the sun starts to warm, we know you do not want to have to scrounge through the internet or phone book every year looking for a local handyman to turn on the water in your cabin for you. With Zaffke, we have you on a schedule. Give us the date of your arrival and a means into the building, and we will make sure that you have working sinks, showers, and toilets before you get there. Also, as licensed plumbers, we can repair and potential damage that may have occurred to your pipes over the winter. Our customer list is already expansive, ranging from snowbirds to entire resorts, and we would love to add you to our growing summer family. 

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CABIN CLOSING

Winter temperatures in Minnesota have dropped as low as negative fifty degrees in recent years, nearly eighty degrees below freezing. The only thing keeping the water in pipes from turning to ice during these frigid times is the constant circulation from the people living in the house. Summer cabins, owned either by snowbirds or vacationers, do not have this singular defense, so they need to be drained of all water before the big chill hits.

When water freezes, it expands. Trapped inside of ¾ inch copper water line, the expanding ice has no escape, and it stretches the water line until it bursts. Then at the eventual thaw, water pumps endlessly out of the broken pipe and onto the building floor.

All this is avoided by simply cutting off the water from the building and draining the water lines. However, this is easier said than done. The plumbing needs to be pressurized and blown dry, including the valves, and the water heater also needs to be drained along with any other appliances that use water. It is a process that leaves little room for error and can be very time consuming.

Winterizing your cabin’s plumbing is not easy, and, depending on the age of the building and the placement of drains and values, it may also be unpleasant. We have repaired dozens of cabins over the last few years that were improperly closed, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. It can be tempting to ask your year-round resident neighbor to do it for you and “keep an eye on the place,” but that does not guarantee you the expertise that we can offer. Further, with Zaffke, we have you on a schedule. Give us the date of your departure and a means into the building, and we will make sure that your cabin is dripped dry and bundled shut before the temperature drops. 

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