As fall comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about the cold winter months ahead. If you own a cottage, now is the best time to prepare for the change in season. It’s one of the most important things you can do to protect your property.
We’ve put together a quick checklist to keep your home safe and secure while you’re away during the winter.
Shut off your water supply
If you don’t plan on returning to your cottage during the winter, then consider turning off your water, draining your water supply from the pipes and hot water tank, and adding anti-freeze to your drains. Toilets should be turned off and flushed.
Unplug all electrical appliances and devices
Electrical appliances and devices continue to draw power when left plugged into electrical circuits, even if the appliance or device is turned off. This could add up to an expense if left plugged in over the course of a season.
Turn off baseboard electric heaters
Baseboard electric heaters are the leading cause of cottage fires. Protect your property and possessions by turning your central heating down or off for the winter.
Clean your fireplace
Your fireplace should be well cleaned to reduce the risk of fire, but also to prevent yourself from returning to a mess when the seasons change. Make sure to safely dispose of any coals and ashes.
Clean your kitchen and remove any food
If you want to return to your cottage without any unpleasant odours, then any food, especially perishable items, should be removed from your cottage. Scour your kitchen counters, cabinets, fridge and freezer to make sure no food is left behind when you leave.
Take photos of the cottage
This includes the inside and outside of your property, as well as photos of any valuables you plan on leaving there over the winter. Also, record serial numbers of devices so that in the unfortunate event of a claim, you have everything you need when calling your insurance company.
Arrange a local snow removal company
Since you’ll be away all winter, you’ll want to hire someone to come at least once to remove snow and ice build-up from the roof. Place boxes over vents or skylights to protect them from snow loads or accidental damage by a shovel.
Ask a neighbour to do routine checks
While you’re away, ask a trusted neighbour or a friend who lives nearby to occasionally check on your cottage. Make sure this person has your updated contact information in the event of an emergency. If your cottage is insured, check your policy to see how often your property needs to be checked.