I just returned from my newly purchased used mountain cabin. While there, I
learned from the locals that they have put outhouses in for use in winter
when the water system freezes up.
I have Googled, marked Favorite places with the top Google FAQ, and read a
bit. The sizes, procedures, and principles don't seem to be a biggie.
Anyone ever do this?
Not since the 60's. Where is your well? This old house did an episode
that where they drilled a well and it had to be 100 feet away from the
septic tank's leach field. What do the regs in your cabin's location say?
Why does the water freeze up in the winter? When we lived on the farm the
folks put in a plastic pipe from the well that expanded faster than the
water could freeze. Anyway that is what I remember. When it was 10 or so
below zero dad always put the kitchen faucet on a slow run to make the pump
run and keep the water moving.
The "well" is about 300' uphill. It is a pipe drilled into rock to tap a
spring 30' into the rock. It then comes into a 1,000 gallon tank. All
houses downhill are fed by head pressure.
The piping is hardly buried, someplaces exposed. This is a rough primitive
area. The tank would freeze popsicle hard in the winter, so the system is
drained between September 15, and October 1st. It is then filled up
It would cost many thousands of dollars to just bury the pipe to a proper
depth, but the cost of keeping the source tank insulated and heated for all
year would be prohibitive. There are nine lots in this "development."
There are only four cabins. Most just snowmobile in during the winter, and
carry enough water for basics.
According to all public records, there is NO water in this subdivision.
(mountainside) County permits and codes applied to the building of each
dwelling and structure.
I love it there.
Do you have electricity. You could put in your own storage tank in an
insulated building with minimal heat but I think an outhouse is a "seat of
your pants" project (don't mind the pun) that you make up as you go. You
will need to move it periodically depending on usage or you could make a
concrete pad and clean out the hole in summer after it has had time to
compost. If usage is low, I would put it on a platform with a container I
could remove for cleanout in the spring or before I go home (5 gal pail with
lid will do). Can you get a truck to come in and pump it out in spring. If
so I might go with a permanent small shed with rear access for cleanout
(this could be attached to the house). This would require a vent from the
tank to the roof (3" ABS) so it wont be so smelly inside (especially if the
door seals well)
I have one all year round at my cabin - it's not used a lot. Dig your
pit and make it big enough for a 2 seater outhouse. 2 seater is
designed so that you shit on one side and when it's full you then take
your dump on the other side.
The advantage of the 2 seater is that if it fills up in the winter you
don't have to dig that time of year.
Keep it away from your well. I use the ashes from the wood stove to
break down the crap - like lime - but the ashes are free. I ain't gonna
clean out my outhouse. When full I lift off the outhouse and bury the
hole with the soil that came out of the hole - then I dig a new one and
place the outhouse over it on 4x4's as a base. As an extrta precaution
we keep a lock on the door and the key in the cabin cause an outhouse
hole can be a curious place for a child.
:I just returned from my newly purchased used mountain cabin.
While there, I
: learned from the locals that they have put outhouses in for use
: when the water system freezes up.
: I have Googled, marked Favorite places with the top Google FAQ,
and read a
: bit. The sizes, procedures, and principles don't seem to be a
: Anyone ever do this?
Cleaning and maintenance. Unpleasant jobs.
Better to plain old winterize properly. No reason for pipes to
burst in this day and age. If lived in, design to keep from
freezing. If not lived in, empty the pipes of water. Simple.
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