Every spring, families head up to their cottage hoping that the winter has been kind to their vacation property. But it's not enough to cross your fingers and hope for the best. Cottage owners need to take steps in the fall to protect their cottage, inside and out, for these colder months. Now is the time to make sure that the cottage is closed up safely for the season.
Here are some tips to help keep the cottage safe during the winter while you are away:
1. Protect From Water Damage:
Any time you leave your home during winter months, you should take precautions to avoid water damage. The first step to protecting your cottage from water damage is to drain all the pipes and turn off the water so the pipes don’t freeze. Make sure that you shut off the main water valve and open taps to drain the last bit of water out.
2. Check the Sump Pump.
Often the water will rise in the spring when the snow melts. If you will not likely be at the cottage when this starts to happen it is critical to make sure you have left everything ready to go.
3. Stow Away Loose Items.
Pack up outdoor decorations, sporting equipment, life jackets, patio furniture, boats, paddles, fishing equipment etc. from the garden and property and store safely in a shed or basement. These items will preserve better indoors and you will also avoid the possibility of them flying off causing damage to property or others in heavy winter storms, or fall and spring winds.
4. Close Up All Fireplaces
Fireplaces and wood stoves are a wonderful part of the cottage life, unfortunately they also make excellent points of entry for small animals and perfect the perfect place to build a nest. The end of the season is also the perfect time to have your chimney cleaned, the build up within a chimney can cause chimney fires and if left for the winter, you may have a nasty surprise in the spring when you go to use them again.
If you have a BBQ make sure you disconnect the propane tank and store it in an appropriate location out of direct sunlight – you may want to refer to your BBQ manual for specific details for your tank. Remember that the BBQ tank carries contents that are explosive – handle with care.
5. Check The Roof.
Ensure that the roof and rain gutters are in good shape and make any necessary repairs before the winter snow and ice cause potential damage. Clean out eaves troughs and make sure they are clear of leaves and debris.
Experienced cottagers know that there are many things to remember when closing up a vacation property for the winter, taking a little time now to prevent possible damage, will ensure a smoother, safer start to the spring season.