5 things to do before closing the cottage

By Ryan ShervillRyan Shervill


Photo by iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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You know that vague feeling that you’ve forgotten something after closing up? Well, if you’re like me, you likely have. Use this checklist of the most commonly overlooked closing-up chores and save yourself some worry this winter.

1. Plumbing and water supply

So you’ve drained your tanks and lines, put antifreeze in your traps, and opened all your faucets. That’s it…right?

Don’t forget to: Make sure you empty flexible sprayer lines 
in sinks and showers, supply and drain lines 
for washing machines, garden hoses, and 
dishwasher lines.

2. Animal control

You’ve packed up all the food, but have you left our furry friends a smorgasbord?

Don’t forget to: Clean toaster crumb trays, barbecue grease catch cans, and dirty barbecue grills.

3. Electricity and heat

When shutting off the power, it’s common practice to just throw the main switch in the breaker panel, but this can be dangerous when you reopen in the spring. Turn on the main breaker and everything comes on at once, introducing a huge load to the electrical panel.

Don’t forget to: Before you turn off the breaker in the fall, unplug or switch off major electricity draws, such as water heaters, baseboard heaters, fridges, and pumps. That way the load 
is introduced gradually as you turn every-
thing back on in the spring.

4. Tools and equipment

There’s nothing worse than opening in the spring and finding a bunch of rusty tools and engines that won’t start.

Don’t forget to: Spray down metal tools with WD-40 and wrap them in old towels to keep them rust free. Add fuel stabilizer to your gas; top off all fuel tanks so they are full, to avoid condensation inside.

5. Snow preparation

Snow offers two challenges at the 
cottage: Weight and water. With a little prep, you can reduce the chances of damage from both.

Don’t forget to: They’re often unnecessary, but to avoid worrying all winter, you could add temporary support posts. Whether you choose manufactured telescoping posts or make your own out of 4x4s, an extra post or two positioned to support the roof is added insurance against collapse. And speaking of roofs, make sure you clean out your eavestroughs so all of that melted snow has an easy path to the ground come spring.

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Ryan Shervill