Cabin Plumbing: What You Should Know
Cabin living can be a great way to integrate yourself into the wilderness while retaining some of the comforts of civilization. Cabin designs and amenities can range from luxurious and modern to sparse depending on your personal preference. When it comes to systems like heating, lighting, and plumbing, this variation becomes all the more stark. Dry cabin living, for example, is popular in some regions, such as Alaska, and is characterized by no indoor plumbing or running water. Even with these amenities, however, cabin living can still be decidedly distinct from urban living. Water sources, waste disposal, and water heating may all be more complicated in a cabin and require an understanding of a different approach to plumbing.
The geographic location of the cabin is an important consideration when deciding to plumb a cabin or repairing or assessing existing plumbing. Cabins at high elevations or in regions with severe winter temperatures can experience plumbing problems like frozen or burst pipes. For reasons of practicality, many cabins in these locations lack indoor plumbing. The costs of maintenance of the system and the complications with plumbing that can arise in remote areas can make indoor plumbing more trouble than it is worth–particularly in cabins that lie vacant for most of the year.
If your cabin is only used during the summer months and is located in an area where harsh winter temperatures can freeze pipes, cabin plumbing may not be a good option. The last thing you want to deal with is a flooded or water damaged cabin upon returning after the winter. Even if you spend winters in the cabin, not having to worry about frozen pipes can be a nice reprieve–though be prepared to spend a lot of time collecting and hauling water.
Inspect Pipes and Water Sources
Cabin plumbing is often susceptible to problems from lack of regular use. This obviously depends on how often you frequent the cabin and what condition the cabin is in generally. Older, rustic cabins with outdated or poorly maintained plumbing may break down and require more maintenance than plumbing in other types of newer cabins. Regardless of the age and frequency of use, you should inspect pipes and verify that water sources, such as wells, are in good condition. This may require making a trip to the cabin outside of your usual time period to ensure that plumbing matters are taken care of before you spend a significant amount of time there. One of the primary charms about cabins is that they function as self-sufficient retreats. To ensure that your cabin is the reliable retreat it should be, take care to inspect and repair plumbing before any vacation.