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Keep your cottage safe and snug as the seasons change.

Guest Contributor September 12, 2017
Wooden bench swing on the front porch.

You’ve had months of summer fun at your cottage and you’ve been hoping the warm weather would stay just a little bit longer so you could get a few more weekends of bliss.  Unfortunately September’s cooler air is already among us and you know what that means – ‘close shop’ for the winter.

It’s hard to lock up and bid farewell to all the good times but that’s what makes them so special. And before you know it, you’ll be back doing what you love best – hanging out at the cottage.

For now, the dropping temperatures serve as a reminder that your cottage will soon need to be put into hibernation. You’re probably used to the routine by now, but we thought we’d provide you with a handy cottage checklist to make sure that you’re not forgetting the essentials. Not only is this a good step to take,  but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that your vacation home is protected while you’re away.

Outside the cottage.

  • Inspect the door and window frames for damaged or missing caulking and repair as needed.
  • Inspect your roof and replace any damaged or missing shingles.
  • Make sure to block all orifices that rodents and other undesirables might crawl into – don’t forget about your drainage tiles and chimney.
  • Clean the eaves troughs so that the melting snow drains properly in the spring.
  • Trim any tree branches that hang over the cottage. They may not break during the winter, but they could still cause damage by dumping extra snow and ice over the roof.
  • Clean your BBQ and disconnect the propane tank. Store them somewhere safe.

Inside the cottage.

  • Remove all food items, including canned goods and bottles. Clean out the fridge, unplug it and leave the door slightly open. Put in an open box of baking soda to keep bad odours at bay.
  • Turn down the heat or shut it off completely. If you decide to leave it on, simply set it so that the interior temperature doesn’t drop below 10 degrees Celsius, which will mitigate the risk of freezing your water pipes.
  • To prevent crimes of opportunity, take all valuables with you and shut the curtains. Use bedsheets to cover up the windows if you need to.

Electrical and plumbing systems.

  • If you decide to shut off all electric power, start by turning off and disconnecting all appliances – including your water heater – before you hit the main switch. It’ll make for a safer re-start come springtime.
  • Empty the water lines by opening all the taps and drain valves. Then, after shutting off the electricity, empty the hot water tank, the toilet and finally, the water pump.
  • If you have a washing machine or dishwasher, make sure that there is no water left in them. Pour plumbing/RV antifreeze to reach any U- or S- shaped water traps that can’t be drained (for example, under the sink, the bathtub, the shower, toilet, dishwasher, etc.)

If any of this seems too daunting, let a professional do it.

Before you leave.

Do a final inspection and take photos of everything just before you leave. Should anything unfortunate happen during winter, whether it be theft, fire or damage, detailed photos will make the claim process much smoother for you and your insurer.

We’ve given you some good tips for ensuring your cottage is protected, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t have insurance or the right insurance. Fortunately, you’re in good hands with us – we can insure your cottage and offer you the right coverage.


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