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  • Writer's pictureThe True North Handyman

How to Close a Cottage for the Winter: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

how to close a cottage for the winter

As we watch the leaves change and start to fall before our eyes, and the temperature start to dip, for those with cottages it's time to face the facts: you have some labour ahead of you.

Prepping your summer home for the winter months is a big job, but it has to be done if you want to face an easy opening next spring.

But what's involved. Exactly what do you need to do before you lock those doors and head back South for the last time this year?

We've created this easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on how to close a cottage for the winter.

How to Close a Cottage for the Winter

Your cottage is home to some of the best memories with family and friends, so make sure it’s protected. As you plan for your next few weeks up North, think about these tips on how to close a cottage for the winter to best prepare for what's in store.

1. Turn off that Water

Ontario winters are cold. There's no denying that fact. And cold water sitting in unused pipes freezes, and can cause the pipes to crack. Want to avoid a flood come spring? Make sure you shut off the main water supply and drain all the pipes before you go. After shutting off the water, turn on one of the faucets to make sure no water is left in the pipes.

2. Clean those Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause water to back up underneath shingles and get into the roof structure below. It could also lead to ice damming, which can damage the roof as well. It’s a good idea to wait until all the leaves fall to clean out the gutters to ensure they’re clear for winter.

3. Unplug those Appliances

There's no point running electricity to things that aren't going to get used in the winter. This includes anything from major appliaces like the fridge and stove, to smaller ones like alarm clocks. If you don't have a sump pump, or another necessary applies, you can even shut the power off completely. Another option is to just turn off the power supply to unnecessary applies on the electrical panel.

4. Focus on the Fireplace

If your cottage has a fireplace, don't forget to add it to the list - it's one of the things that often gets forgotten when it comes to how to close a cottage for the winter. Give it a good clean out inside, and have it inspected. Make sure to close the damper vent and either put the chimney cap on to cover the chimney so it doesn't end up as the perfect entry point for cold critters looking for a warm place to hunker down.

5. Check that Septic Tank

Most cottages have a septic tank for sewage. Your septic tank should be on a service schedule. Typically, it should be serviced every five to eight years, in some cases every three to five years, depending on usage. If your septic tank is due for a checkup, get that done before winter so that it’s ready for next year.

6. Give that BBQ some TLC

Another things that's oft forgotten. Spend some time giving the BBQ a good clean, cover it, and don't forget to disconnect it from the propane tank. If you have room in a shed or garage or other type of out building, store it there.

7. Clean out those Cupboards

Another one that goes without saying is to do a thorough clean out of the cupboards. Over the summer, food can fall behind non-perishables, and if it smells good, critters will try their best to get to it. Take everything out, give those shelves a good wipe-down, and put back only that which will still be good come spring.

8. Do an Exterior Exploration

Last, but definitely not least, do a thorough walk around of the cottage and the entire property. You'd be surprised was escapes your notice when you're not looking closely. Look from things like holes in decking/deck coverings, You don't want any openings that critters can get into. Check your roof as well and have it fixed if you notice any damage.

As always, if you do notice any damage that you can't/don't want to fix, give us a call. We'll get you all fixed up!

Closing up your cottage properly before the cold weather and snow hits is key to making it last. Do a thorough check before leaving to avoid surprises when you return. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to close a cottage for the winter and come spring you'll be thankful you spent the time. And of course, don't forget to lock those doors!

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