At the beginning of the summer, we brought you up to speed with maintenance tips to open your cottage. Now that it is the beginning of October, it’s time to think of your task list for closing up your summer home.

If you do not have a fully winterized cottage, it is time to start thinking about what you have to get done and arranged for the closing of your cottage this October. How you close your cottage is a key aspect of owning your property because, unfortunately, there is a higher rate of burglary during the off-season. The elements are also at their harshest, which could cause damage to your cottage if it is not properly prepped for the season.

For more information regarding investing in a cottage, check out these articles: Cottage Investments: Are they right for you? | The Lifestyle Investment: Muskoka Living.

 

1. Shut off the Water

If you will not be living in your cottage over the winter, the first item on your task list should be turning off the water – this means both the main water valve, and the water supply valves to fixtures in your home (toilets, sinks, etc.). You will need to allow time for the water to drain out of the pipes so it does not freeze and thaw as winter progresses. This freeze-thaw cycle can damage and burst pipes.

ONE

 

2. Turn off the Furnace

In regards to your cottage’s furnace, you will have two options. Your first option is to shut it off completely, which is both a more economical solution and more environmentally friendly of the two options. The second option is to set it to its lowest setting, and leave it running throughout the winter season. The second option will have you incur a substantial utility bill by the end of the season, however, there will be less risk of the pipes freezing, and the heat will help avoid condensation and mildew build up in the cottage. If you have a well insulated cottage, you may not need to go the extra mile by keeping your furnace running while you aren’t staying in the building. Depending on the build of your cottage, you will have to make the call on whether or not it is best to shut off the furnace all together, or set it low.

TWO

 

3. Secure the Property

Securing the property applies to both burglars that may take advantage of your absence, and animals that simply want a warmer place to live during the cold, Canadian winter.
Burglars: To mitigate the risk of a break-in, make sure all of your doors and windows are locked. Board up windows to cut the temptation of unwanted visitors wanting to peek inside. Take home all of the valuables you can, including your alcohol. Take inventory of all the belongings you are leaving behind, and take photos of the entire cottage – keep this list and photo collection in a safe place in case you need to claim insurance in the unfortunate event of a theft.
Animals: Coming back to a cottage of droppings is not in anyone’s favour. Make sure all small openings into the cottage are blocked off and tightly sealed. Small rodents can get into the smallest of cracks, so it is important to seal these off. Take home all of your food so it does not bait critters. Lastly, board up dog doors and chimneys (which are a great place for nests to be made AND for a fire to start when you return to the cottage in the Spring).

 THREE

 

4. Packing up the Gear

Packing up your outdoor gear has two benefits: A) Preserving the longevity of your equipment, and B) Lessening the temptation for theft. Bring in lawn furniture, boating supplies (life jackets, oars), outdoor decor, and BBQ propane tanks. If your cottage does not have a storage area (eg. basement), consider installing a storage shed in the back of your property with a lock. For larger items, if it isn’t locked up outdoors, it may not be there next spring. Cover large items with tarps to avoid weather damage, and tie them down with locks to prevent them from blowing away or being stolen.

FOUR

 

5. Check the Gutters & Roof

If your gutters have a build up of leaves and debris prior to the off-season, take the time to clear them out so you do not run the risk of overflowing, or worst, clogging your gutters in the event of rain or melting snow. If there are parts of your roof that would be damaged by the weight of a couple feet of snowfall (eg. skylights), it is a good idea to put an upside down box over these areas to act as a barrier from the weight. This will also make it easier to clear off snow.

FIVE

 

6. Check the Doors & Windows

To avoid the build up of mould and mildew that could occur if moisture were to seep into your cottage, ensure that all of your windows and doors are properly sealed. Replace any seals that have worn out or if you see any moisture collecting in double-pane windows.

SIX

 

7. Schedule Check-Ins at the Cottage

It is a good idea to schedule a few check-ins at your cottage throughout the off season. This will give you a chance to check for damages, make sure you have not had a break-in, and clear off any snow from your roof and deck. Clearing off large amounts of snow can help you mitigate damage that may come later with accumulated weight, or flash flooding as snow melts. You will thank yourself for checking in as it will put your mind at ease.

SEVEN

 

8. Arrange for a Keyholder

During the off-season, it is a good idea to have a contact up in cottage country that will be able to check in on your cottage at a moment’s notice. This person would be responsible for responding to break-ins, checking in on any damages after violent weather, and can also report back any concerns with animal issues. Choose a trusted friend or family member, or you could hire a keyholder service for the off-season.

EIGHT

 

Properly closing up your cottage will ensure a smoother opening in the following Spring, and will prevent any damages, theft, or animal issues. What are some cottage-closings tips that you may have for other cottage owners?

The Greater Toronto Builders team has a network of professionals to take care of your project from concept to completion. Contact us today hear more about how our project design consultants can help you or to book a free consultation contact us at 647 35 BUILD or email us at hello@greatertorontobuilders.com

Facebook Icon Google Plus Pinterest

Image Sources:

Feature: http://fadedgenes.blogspot.ca/2012/10/closing-down-cottage.html

1. Shut off the Water

2. Turn off the Furnace

3. Secure the Property

4. Pack up the Gear

5. Check the Gutters & Roof

6. Check the Doors & Windows

7. Schedule Check-ins

  • http://hollymatrimony.ca/intimate-winter-weddings-muskoka/

8. Arrange for a Keyholder

  • http://www.cottagetender.com/

 

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment