Guide to closing your cottage for the winter

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As sad as it might be, with the end of summer comes closing up the cottage. Although some of these tasks might be the last thing you want to do at the end of the Labour Day or Thanksgiving weekend, they are crucial for avoiding damages to your property over the winter.

Here are some of the most important things to do as you close your cottage.

  1. Clean out the fridge and cupboards

Empty out your fridge completely (except for that baking soda you keep at the back!) and remove everything from your freezer, including ice trays. You’ll be turning the fridge off for the winter (see below) so it should be completely empty.

Go through your cupboards and pack up all perishable items. Even canned goods should be taken home, as they could freeze and explode over the winter!

  1. Inspect your septic tank

Read your owner’s manual and follow their recommendations for timelines for professional inspections. Ger your inspection done in the fall, so when you come back in the spring, everything is good to go!

  1. Keep the sump pump pumping

Before closing up, check that your sump pump is in working order. You can to be sure your pump will be operational all winter long, to make sure you avoid flooding when the snow melts in the spring. Again, read your owner’s and get a professional to take a look if you’re unsure.

  1. Clean your gutters

This might be one of the worst ones on the list! If your neighbour has teenaged kids, you may want to hire them to do this one for you! All kidding aside, cleaning your gutters each year is important to ensure water does not get backed up under your shingles, which can cause major roof damage.

  1. Inspect your roof

While you’re up there, take a look at your roof! Check for missing or broken shingles and make any repairs before the winter sets in and snow builds up on your roof.

  1. Drain your pipes

This might be the last thing you do before leaving (after everyone visits the bathroom before the drive home!). Turn off the water supply and make sure your pipes are completely drained. This is crucial to avoid frozen pipes, which could burst at some point over the winter.

  1. Unplug major appliances

Unplugging major appliances like your fridge and freezer can help prevent electrical fires (and also save on electricity costs over the winter). Don’t turn off your entire power supply, because you may want certain appliances to keep running over the winter (your sump pump, alarm systems and maybe some exterior lights).

  1. Turn the heating off or down

If you have a furnace, you have two options. You can turn it off completely (again, this will save on electricity costs). If you do this, you need to be 100% sure your pipes are properly drained, so no freezing happens over the winter. If you turn the furnace off, make sure you turn the gas off as well. The second option is to turn the furnace down to about 10 degrees Celsius. This ensure no frost build up inside the cottage.

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