Fall checklist for closing your cottage for the winter
If you don’t use your cottage in winter, now’s the time to prepare it for the cold months ahead! That means doing everything you can to prevent the pipes from freezing and rodents from finding their way inside to bask in the comfort of your cottage while you’re away.
Here are a few tips to help prepare your cottage for winter and save you a bit of time and stress when spring comes around.
- Empty your pantry. Do not leave any food that could attract insects, squirrels or mice as they could cause damage.
- Defrost and clean your fridge. A clean fridge will be less appealing to pests and will smell better in spring!
- Remove sheets from beds and store them in bags. Bedding can be very attractive to small rodents. Store it in a dry place.
- Bring home the hunting guns. Be safe and store guns in your main home.
- Turn the heating down or off. Turn the heat off unless you prefer to maintain a temperature of 5 to 8 °C inside to prevent the pipes from freezing and keep mould from developing.
- Cut the water supply and drain all hoses and pipes. Protect your plumbing from breaks due to frost and odours left by stagnant water. It can be helpful to pour plumbing antifreeze into drainpipes, just like you would in a motorhome.
- If you choose not to heat, shut off the electricity. Many appliances consume electricity even when they aren’t in use. Unplug all large appliances.
- Seal all openings through which pests could enter the house.
- Empty gutters and inspect the roof. Repair any apparent damage that may lead to water leaks over the winter.
- Leave curtains partially open to deter thieves. Although it’s very hard to prevent burglaries without someone there to watch over the cottage, a house that looks empty isn’t a good target for thieves.
If you regularly use your cottage year-round, there’s no need to worry about whether your insurance is valid.
If you close it for the winter, always remember to notify your insurer. If your insurer is not informed, you may be in for a nasty surprise if something happens.
It’s best to be upfront and let them know that your cottage will be closed during the cold season and that you won’t be there for several months.
Whatever the case may be, ask your insurer and be transparent with them about the use of your cottage.
It may be tempting to avoid cottage maintenance in the fall—but don’t let yourself be swayed! A short weekend working in or around the cottage could save you a lot of trouble and expense.