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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Heating cabin while away
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cbgant5
Member
# Posted: 27 Nov 2018 12:09
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This is the first winter of having our weekend cabin, current heat is by using electric space heaters which are fine. I am more concerned with what to do for heat if we are gone for a few weeks and it gets below freezing.

How safe is it to leave an electric heater with thermostat on if we are not there?

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 27 Nov 2018 15:52
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It should be safe if you trust these same heaters as you sleep but why would you want to? Electric is a very expensive way to heat. I would put more effort into figuring how to drain any water that could freeze.

I designed into my cabin quick drains to water system and a port to push it out with a cheap pancake air compressor. Sink traps were rubber so they could expand with out harm. Food that could freeze went home. Only difficult thing was toilet. Conventional toilets hold water in trap which is difficult to drain. You can use a shop vacuum but I ended up using a RV toilet as they don’t have a trap. Other tough thing was water heater. Ended up using demand style I could drain as opposed to a tank.

Hog_Camp
Member
# Posted: 29 Nov 2018 14:29
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We always turn the power off and drain the water system during freezing weather. A power outage of a couple of days (a likely occurrence in our area) would mean frozen pipes anyway, so safer to drain.

We have a tank type water heater and just drain it from the bottom tap - it gets enough out that freezing has not been a problem. Antifreeze in the toilet and traps.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 29 Nov 2018 18:00
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Frost-proof sink trap? - Small Cabin Forum

http://www.small-cabin.com/forum/3_1888_0.html

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 29 Nov 2018 22:50
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I put a thermostat on my wood stove.

RichInTheUSA
Member
# Posted: 30 Nov 2018 08:58
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I drain my pipes too... but can't drain from the well coming into the cellar... So, I use a space heater with a thermostat to keep the cellar warm. Typically keep it at 37 degrees. Works fine.

Cowracer
Member
# Posted: 30 Nov 2018 09:09
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I don't have a water system in my cabin, but my RV does. I have used the 'blow out' method for 20+ years now without a single issue. It literally takes me 7-8 minutes to winterize my camper.

For a cabin, it would be real easy to put in an air fitting downstream of the main shutoff valve. When freezing is going to be a concern, simply shut off the water, drain water heater if you have one, hook up an air compressor to the fitting (Oil-less only) and open each valve one at a time till all you get is mist.

A few droplets in remaining in the lines are no issue, they'll have room to expand when they freeze, so you don't need to worry about getting every molecule of water out of the lines. A little pink RV anti-freeze in all the p-traps and you are good to go.

The nice thing about doing it that way is that if you decide to use the cabin in freezing weather, it only takes a few minutes to winterize it again. I have friends that do the 'pink stuff in all the lines' things that have passed on camping on nice weekends in the winter because they didn't want to go thru the hassle of winterizing again.

Anyway, blowing out the lines might be a safer (and cheaper) alternative than leaving the heat running.

Tim

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 30 Nov 2018 10:23
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Quoting: cbgant5
How safe is it to leave an electric heater with thermostat on if we are not there?


I used to live on a lake growing up and many people tried to leave these little electric heaters on to keep their trailers warm when away, most of them came back to a burned out shell.

I have no plumbing in mine, but mine gets as cold inside as it does outside, same temp keeps condensation, but the air over at mine is a very dry air. I have never had an issue. I have floating laminate flooring and anything liquid, ie soaps etc, I put in a plastic tub so if one did split, its contained and not make a big mess. I have never had one leak yet.

Install drains in your water lines or blow them out, clear sink traps or put in RV antifreeze just in the traps. Leave it cold. I bet it will be fine as long as its not a humid tropical type environment.

cbgant5
Member
# Posted: 3 Dec 2018 14:54
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thanks all - we used pex on the water lines and drain them when we leave. thought about the rv anti-freeze, will do that for the p traps for sure.

Eddy G
Member
# Posted: 4 Dec 2018 09:52 - Edited by: Eddy G
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Like most of the others I drain the system down and add some anti freeze to all the traps (less then a cup or so in each)
I did rip out and replace every bit of the old plumbing system in the cabin so when I replaced it I had the luxury of installing draw off and access valves everywhere I could so draining and venting is easy enough.
I also made up a few fittings that thread right on to all the faucets and run some air off the air compressor just in case any water is trapped anywhere.

I have it written down like this
(for my kids if needed)

1) turn off the well pump switch and breaker.
2) pull the drain plugs down at the well and at the water filters outside.
3) pull the water filters off, drain the water and leave the shells empty.
4) At the well tank, open the drain valve (it says drain on the handle)
5) open/turn on ALL the faucets inside and outside.
6) Open all the drain valves under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
7) screw the blow out tool (its in the shed labeled blow out tool) on to the outside hose bib, pug the air line from the air compressor in to the blow out tool and blow 25 lbs of pressure through the system slowly closing and opening the faucets to push any air that may be trapped..
8) Put ALL the tools away where you found them.
9) leave ALL drain valves and faucets OPEN.
10) pour 1/2 solo cup of antifreeze (its in the shed and say's ANTEFREEZE) down each drain (shower, kitchen and bath sinks, and urinal).
11)put the antifreeze away.
Cabin is winterized

sparky30_06
Member
# Posted: 5 Dec 2018 08:05
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Eddy G
"8) Put ALL the tools away where you found them."


Eddy G
Member
# Posted: 5 Dec 2018 09:57
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They still won't put them all away but at least I tried.

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