Good morning! Not everyone who lives in Prescott does so full time. Some come up on an occasional basis; some people own cabins and enjoy the opportunities to get out of the Phoenix heat in the summers. This is Gary Edelbrock, and I've been chatting with Tom Reilly, who shared his list of things to do when you open up that cabin which has been locked down for the winter. He was kind enough to share it with our readers:
Opening Up Your Cabin
By Tom Reilly
Spring is in the air, even in the mountains. As the lower deserts heat up, folks relish the thought of their "cabin in the pines" as a respite. You followed the right steps in shutting the cabin down late last fall, and now you need to open it all up again.
Mountain winters can be hard on a structure. Daytime temps can reach into the 50's and nighttime into the single digits or below zero in several northern Arizona locations. The "freeze-thaw" cycles cause metal pipes, wood siding, window frames, and even flooring to expand and contract at significant rates. This can loosen joints, seals and fittings which is why you have a procedure to start it all up.
In over 30 years in the northern Arizona mountains, we have procedures we use and recommend to our clients to start the season.
I. Upon arrival, make sure everything is still shut off; electrical appliances, water faucets, (don't forget the water heater drain line!), gas stoves, fireplaces, and BBQ's.
2. Tum on the electrical power. Check appliances and lights to be sure all are working without throwing a breaker. IMPORTANT!!! If you have an electric water heater, make sure the breaker is off until you have completed Step 3.
3. Tum on your well pump or open the meter if you are on a community system. Before slowly turning on all the faucets, check under sink cabinets, at toilets and the water heater for leaks. Tum on the faucets and, "IMPORTANT", fill the water heater.
4. Tum on the gas main line. Be prepared to light pilot lights on the stove, oven, water heater, furnace and/or fireplace. Be sure all are in good working order. Then walk around and do the smell test for leaks. If you smell gas, tum off the main, check your fittings and repeat the procedure. Soapy water sprayed on a fitting can usually help detect a leak.
5. Check your filter for drinking water systems, softeners, R.O. systems, and in particular, check the refrigerator water dispenser filter. Look for calcification or white flakes that harden with lack of use. Replace them with the spares you brought up with you. (You did remember them, didn't you?)
If anything needs fixing, replacing, or just touching up, you can engage our Handyman Services to help you get ready in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Once these steps have been completed, this should take less than an hour, then walk around both the inside and the outside to assess any damage by wind, weather, animals, or vandals. You will want to re-examine your firewise issues. Is the space around your cabin still defensible from fire? Remember to clean the pine needles off the roof and get them out of the gutters, but only after your have sat on your porch for a bit and enjoyed the cool, quiet, clean air of the Arizona mountains.
Tom Reilly is a registered architect and licensed General Contractor in Arizona helping folks with their homes for 30 years. Renovations is a client-based professional home improvement remodeling resource company.
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142 South Alarcon St.
Prescott, Arizona 86303