Cabin Opener Checklist & Tips

Pack the car, pack the cooler and don’t forget the list!

We were lucky enough to be able to pack things up and head out to the cabin last weekend for our first time this year. Although the cabin opener is a very exciting time, it also comes with a little bit of concern and undoubtedly some chores that need to be done. Some of you may have full year cabins or lake homes but some of you may be in the same boat as us and need to shut things down for the winter months only to come back next spring and bring everything back up to speed. There is plenty to do, some big, some small but all equally as important. With that in mind I have done a little bit of research to find some key items to check when opening your cabin or lake home and hopefully keep it looking and performing as great as you remembered it when you left last fall.

I located the following tips at

WI Custom Lake Home on Red Cedar Lake

Cabin Outside, Inside & Property Inspection Checklist

  • Power lines
  • Phone Lines
  • Trees
  • Roof
  • Chimney Stack
  • Deck
  • Dock
  • Siding
  • Windows
  • Screens
  • Under the cabin – posts, pads, beams
  • Inspect the interior ceiling for any signs of a leak

All of these items are important to check during the cabin opener to make sure the space is clear of any danger to you or your guests. This will also be your first chance to address any problems that could be taken care of on your own or that you may want to contact a professional about.

WI Lake Home Custom Kitchen

Cabin Water System Start-Up Tips

The following steps are for a typical land-based pump.

  • Inspect all water lines for obvious damage. (The less obvious problems will show themselves shortly)
  • Install a new water filter at the pump.
  • Connect your hand pump to the water pump priming valve. (If you don’t have a hand pump to draw water from the lake you will have to manually fill the water line.)
  • Open the priming valve.
  • Draw water from the lake into the line using the hand pump until it fills the line to and including the pump.
  • Close the priming valve.
  • Open a cold water tap in the cabin.
  • Make sure the cold water valve leading into the hot water tank is closed.
  • Switch on the water pump at the electrical panel box.
  • Open all other valves that may be between the pump and the cottage.
  • Open all cold water taps to push out the remaining air in the lines.
  • Inspect all water lines for leaks.  Listen for “hissing” sounds.
  • Close all taps.
  • Watch the pump to make sure it holds its pressure and is not running when the taps are all closed.

Lake Home Outdoor Shower

Cabin Hot Water Tank Tips

    • Make sure the hot water tank breaker is OFF.
    • Close all taps.
    • Close the cold water intake valve for the tank. (It should already be closed)
    • Connect a hose to the drainage valve on the tank and run it outside.
    • Open the drainage valve.
    • Open a hot water tap.  This allows air to flow into the tank and will push out any existing residual water through the drainage valve. There shouldn’t be any if the system was properly drained in the fall.
    • Close the drainage valve.
    • Turn on the cold water intake valve to begin filling the tank.
    • Watch the open hot water tap. When it flows normally, the water tank is full.
    • Close the hot water tap.
    • Turn on the hot water tank electrical supply breaker on the main power box.
    • Inspect the hot water pipes for leaks.

    These cabin opener checklists and tips will give you the opportunity to get a good idea of where your cabin or lake home is at as far as condition and performance. Make note of all items you see that need further attention so you can plan ahead for your next visit and any supplies you may need. Be sure to take action on any preventative things you can do to limit any additional issues in your space. The more work that is done early in the season, the more time to you will have to enjoy and relax at your lake home or cabin.

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