As you put away the Muskoka chairs and store those fond memories of long sunny days, its important to make sure you don't have any unwanted surprises when you return to the cottage next season.
"The two most common insurance claims relating to cottages are due to damage caused by water and wind during the winter and early spring" says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer for Allstate Canada. 'Taking a few extra precautions now could save you unnecessary grief when you're ready to open your property for another summer"
Here's a handy cottage-closing checklist:
- Turn off the water and drain pipes to prevent freezing. Frozen pipes could burst duringthe winter, and damage your cottage when you're not there.
- Inspect the roof for any damaged shingles and have them replaced before the cold weather hits. Clean out eaves troughs to allow melting snow to drain well in the springtime. And while you're at it trim overhanging tree branches that may dump ice and snow onto your roof in the winter.
- Ensure all boats furniture, appliances etc. that are outside are all stored in a dry, waterproof area and cover anything that may rust with a coat of oil. if you have a barbecue, disconnect the propane tan. store it safely and cover your grill with a tarp to keep it protected from the elements.
- Close your fireplace damper and place a wooden cover over the chimney so birds or bats do not enter. this also stops heavy rain or snow from entering.
- Turn off the power supply to any space heaters as they can be a fire hazard, even at a low setting. Also, unplug and remove fuses from your electrical appliances and store them safely.
- When storing boat motors, do not drain gasoline from fuel tanks, use a fuel stabilizer.
- Make sure your smoke and carbon detectors are working properly and have fresh batteries.
- Cover mattresses, couches and furniture with plastic sheets to prevent mildew and mice taking hold.
- Take a look around your cottage and block small holes that little critters might wiggle into.
And don't forget to take photos of your cottage before you leave for the season in case of a fire, theft or weather damage. Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Talk with your insurance provider about choosing the right policy to protect your little piece of paradise against damages that may occur over the winter months.