The leaves are changing color and the air is getting crisper – it’s definitely fall! That means it’s time to start thinking about winterizing our cottage. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for getting your cottage ready for winter. Keep reading to learn more!

Follow these 5 steps to get your cottage ready for Winter

  1. PREVENT WATER AND SEPTIC DAMAGE: One of the most costly problems for cottagers over winter months is burst pipes and potential flooding. Not only can it destroy your property … some cottage owners don’t have the right insurance to cover the damages. That’s why it’s so important for you to winterize the plumbing at your cottage.
  2. INSPECT AND PREP ROOF: Snow build up on your roof can cause ice damming, leaks and even flooding. To prevent this from happening, inspect the roof exterior and determine whether there is anything that needs attention. Some common things to look for include:
    • Structural damage
    • Cracks in masonry
    • Sagging areas with standing water
    • Loose shingles

    While up there, give your gutters a good clean to help with drainage and consider installing gutter guards or downspout leaf catchers. Inside, look for cracks, mold, sagging and water stains on the upper ceiling. All these can be signs you have a problem.

  3. PREVENT RODENTS: When winter comes, rodents will try to find the most sheltered and warm place to escape. A closed up cottage with minimal foot traffic is the perfect place. To help stop squirrels, racoons, birds and other critters from moving in, don’t feed them during the summer. While it can make for great photo ops, it also makes the animals see your cottage as an easy food source.When closing up, you can help prevent rodents by taking a couple of easy steps.
    • Remove All Food
      To prevent wildlife from making your cottage their home, clear out your cupboards and fridge. Don’t leave anything.
      Keep fridge and freezer doors propped open to prevent odor and mildew – you can use something like a paper cup, pen or chopstick. Tape it into place to be sure it doesn’t fall out.
    • Fill Any Holes 
      Inspect the outside of your cottage from roof to foundation and caulk any holes or cracks. Mice can compress themselves to squeeze through holes as small as 6 mm.
    • Protect Other Entry Points 
      Once you have checked for cracks and holes, be sure to close off any other potential entrances. This includes closing and locking all doors to the outside. If you have a chimney, you’ll want to cap it and close the damper after cleaning it out.If you have any exterior structures with screens, consider boarding them up to prevent rodents from chewing their way in.
  4. UNPLUG APPLIANCES: You may want to leave the electricity on for your sump pump and an accompanying heater. But that isn’t the only reason to leave it running. It is also necessary if you want to power alarm systems and exterior lights.If you don’t have any of these in your cottage or cabin, then you can turn the power off completely. If you do decide to keep your hydro on, be sure to unplug unused appliances including your water heater, fridge, stove, tvs and more. This will prevent phantom power and reduce the risk of fire.

    While unplugging everything, take the opportunity to inspect outlets and plugs. If you see any melting or burn marks, you will want to look into it further to prevent electrical fires over the winter.

  5. CLEAN UP OUTSIDE: Vacant properties are very tempting to burglars. To help deter criminal activity, take everything with you that you can. If you plan on leaving bigger items like canoes, BBQs and furniture, store them inside or lock them down with chains. Do not store propane tanks in the house. Disconnect them from your BBQ and store them in a well ventilated area, off the ground.You will also want to clean up the yard. This includes a final mow, cutting back perennials that need it and mulching leaves. You can also rake leaves into your gardens and around the base of trees to insulate them and provide additional nutrients. Once your yard is ready, you can start to winterize your cottage equipment. Start by cleaning tools, sharpening blades, lubrication and stabilizing. Once this is done, store them in a locked shed or take them with you to store at home.

    If you have a dock in a body of water that is prone to ice movement, disassemble and haul out the dock. Even if there isn’t any ice movement, you may want to pull in your dock to prevent liability issues and other issues.

    Finally, take some time to enjoy the autumn season. Before the snow arrives, go for a hike or spend an afternoon outside enjoying the crisp air. Once winter does arrive, you’ll be glad you took the time to prepare for it. Follow these tips and your cottage will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws its way. For more information on how to close your cottage visit here.