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Protect Your Cottage Pump System Over the Winter  

Getting ready to close your cottage? The experts at Zoeller Canada have some advice on protecting your water and wastewater system.

One of the challenges with shutting down your cottage for the winter is the long stretch of cold months when nobody is around to check on your property.

Without the proper precautions, disaster can befall your vacation retreat leading to costly maintenance and repairs, not to mention the time spent doing the repairs that could be better spent fishing, boating, swimming or enjoying a morning coffee watching the sun rise over a pristine lake.

“If your pump isn’t properly prepared for Canada’s prolonged days and nights of sub-zero weather, you could be heading into an unwelcome surprise next spring,” says George Micevski, President of Zoeller Canada. “Ice is the greatest threat to your water and wastewater system. If water is left in your system, it will freeze, causing cracked pipes or damaged pumps. When closing your cottage for the winter, there may be no task on your to-do list more important than winterizing your pump system.”

Zoeller is one of North America’s leading engineers and manufacturers of pumps and pump systems. To ensure the water and wastewater system at your cottage or trailer is protected over the winter, George suggests the following steps:

  • Kill the Power — For both your safety and the safety of your equipment, turn off the power running to your pump and hot water tank.
  • Drain the Lines and Tanks — Open the valves on your drain lines (if you aren’t sure where these are, you may need to grab a flashlight and crawl under your cottage) and then turn on all of the taps in the cottage — kitchen, bathroom, hose outlets, etc. If you think there may be some low spots where water gathered, use an air compressor to blow the lines clear. If you draw water from a lake to a pressure tank, make sure the lines connecting the tank to the cottage are cleared and that the tank is empty.
  • Protect the Pump — Typically, there are two types of pump systems serving a cottage – an above ground pump or a submersible pump.

o    Above Ground — Remove the drain and priming plugs. Ensure all water is drained out of the pump, and treat with plumber’s anti-freeze to protect the inner workings of the machine.

o    Submersible — Most can be left in the lake over the winter, but ensure all lines running from the pump to the cottage are disconnected and cleared of any remaining water.

  • Use Anti-Freeze — With the supply lines now clear, flush the toilet until it is empty, and pour in plumber’s anti-freeze to prevent cracks or other damage. Also pour some plumber’s anti-freeze to the drain in every sink, tub and shower, ensuring water in the trap doesn’t freeze over winter.

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