Following a season of fun and great memories, it is time for many owners to close the cottage for the season. Winter can be harsh on a cottage, and to protect your investment, owners need to consider a number of closing items to keep their cottage safe. Last thing you want when opening the cottage in the spring is to deal with insurance issues. Let’s face it, you want to enjoy your time at the cottage, so let’s consider some tips that can help minimize problems come spring.
1. Tidy up
- Take any valuables home and tidy up the cottage.
- Remove loose paper, newspaper, oil rags and chemicals that may be a fire hazard.
2. Electricity: On or off?
- Sounds simple, but you need to think about if you should keep the electricity on or off.
- Shutting down the power to your cottage with the main switch is fine if you are not going up during the winter.
- But remember, if you have an alarm, it won’t work without power. If you turn the main power off, remember to turn off all major appliances, heaters, and water heater(s) before flipping the main power switch.
- Keeping the cottage power on makes sense if you have an alarm at the cottage and want it to work. If you are keeping the power on, it’s a good idea to turn off (or unplug) all major appliances and any heaters.
3. Don’t forget to turn your water off
- Water can be a big issue if you turn off your cottage heat for the winter. Don’t just turn off the water, drain the pipes, too. Simply turn off the main water valve, then turn on a faucet and let all the water run out. Trust us, no one wants that hassle of a burst pipe when opening up next spring!
- Don’t forget to drain your cottage water tank, but remember to shut off the power off first.
4. Don’t invite unwanted animal visitors
- Defrost and clean out the fridge.
- Don’t leave any food in your fridge and leave the door a crack open.
- If your cottage has a fireplace, close the damper.
- Helpful tip: Throwing some mothballs around the cottage can help keep unwanted animals away.
5. Check outside the cottage
- Check your roof. Water damage from missing shingles can be a big problem, so replace any missing shingles before closing up for the season. If it’s time for a new roof, then get it done by a reputable roofing contractor.
- Trim any branches hanging over your cottage. Over the winter, the weight of the ice and snow can snap branches that may fall onto your cottage.
- In addition to closing dampers, seal all flues, stove pipes and chimneys with metal caps.
- Clean your eavestroughs because leaf accumulation can slow water drainage when snow begins to melt in the spring.
6. Now you can say goodbye
- Make sure all buildings are locked and secured.
- Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on the cottage throughout the winter, or drive up yourself to keep an eye on things.
- Install a video camera doorbell and cameras around the property for added security. This helps if you just want to check in from time to time!
… and keep reminding yourself spring is not that far away.