During the heating season you should check your furnace filter frequently, changing it as often as once a month. Also, remove the register covers and vacuum out the air ducts so debris doesn’t get blown around the cottage.
Make sure exterior inflow and outflow pipes for your furnace are clear of snow. If too much snow builds up, the hot vent gases can melt it, then freeze when the system shuts down.
If you heat primarily with wood, make sure you’ve got enough on hand to finish the season. While you’re at it, pick a nice day to chop and store some kindling.
You should clean out the lint trap at the front of your dryer every time you use it. Otherwise, your clothes will take longer to dry and you run a very real risk of a fire. For the latter reason, you should also disconnect the hose connecting the dryer to the outside and clean that out at least once a year.
In the winter, you want as much visibility as possible outside when navigating icy terrain. Turn on all your exterior lights and change any burnt out bulbs.
Throughout the winter, keep a snow- and ice-free pathway in front of all exterior doors—particularly those that swing outwards—so you can use them as an emergency exit if necessary.
Check eaves for signs of ice damming and potentially dangerous icicles hanging over walkways.
Use a snow rake to remove any excess snow build up on the roof. If you have a metal roof, you should have ice guards over all the entrances to prevent potential injuries during warm periods.
GFCIs put a mini breaker right at the outlet, helping protect you from shocks. But they need to be tested regularly. Press the “Test” button. It’s working if a light comes on. Hit “Reset.” If any of the outlets in the kitchen or bathroom(s) are not GFCIs, you—or an electrician—should replace them as soon as possible.
Do you remember when you bought your mattress and they said you should regularly flip and rotate it? Odds are, you don’t and you didn’t. Now is the time. Note that you can’t flip a pillowtop mattress, so simply rotate it.
If your smoke alarm has a backup battery, now is the time to replace it. They’re often 9V batteries, so make sure you have some on hand. Smoke alarms have a 10-year lifespan. Check for the “replace by” label and swap out any that will expire soon.
Check your fire extinguisher to make sure that it’s fully charged and hasn’t passed its expiry date.