Still haven’t closed the cottage? Here are simple suggestions from our experts to shut down faster and get the jump on spring.
1) To help your naked septic tank
If your septic tank is under a deck, it won’t get an insulating blanket of winter snow. It needs your help, says sewage system inspector Sandy Bos. He recommends a layer of two-inch SM foam, but almost anything that will help mimic snow cover, such as mulch or straw, will work.
2) If you’re planning a new dock
“Some dock manufacturers offer free site inspections to clients who are looking to get work done,” says dock designer Joshua Cooper. Take advantage in the fall, after you’ve had a whole summer of dock time. “Make decisions about changes when the experience is fresh in your mind.”
3) To drain your water
Home inspector Ari Marantz learned that he can skip blowing out his cottage waterlines at closing time. Lucky! “If you know your system drains well on its own, it isn’t always necessary,” he says. If it is necessary, a portable air compressor is worth the $100. “They have all sorts of other uses,” says Marantz.
4) If you’re worried about crime
Blocking off your driveway with some kind of barrier while you’re gone for the winter—even with something simple like a chain—helps deter unwanted visitors, says the RCMP’s Curtis Peters. “Criminals are often lazy. Anything that makes for hard work encourages them to move on.”
5) To care for your boats
a) Never store canoes, kayaks, or SUPs outside against the wall of a building. Snow piles up on the roof until—wham—it falls all at once in a boatbusting heap. Snow load damage “keeps canoe and kayak repair shops busy,” says paddle sports sales rep Johno Foster.
b) If you need to replace parts like spark plugs or water pumps, “wait until spring to do it,” says Rob Davidson, a licensed marine engine technician. If you do it in the fall, the new parts just sit around gathering dust all winter.