How to Close Your Cottage for Winter
Before you close your cottage for the winter, be sure to follow a check list.
A checklist will help protect your investment so that it’s in top shape to open next spring.
1. Turn off the electricity
Turn off individual breakers and then the main switch to prevent power surges to appliances when you turn the power back on in the spring. Unplug or turn off all appliances before turning off the power if you have a fuse panel.
2. Turn off the water
Turn the water off and drain the pipes so they cannot freeze. Flush toilets, drain water tanks, and open taps. After the power has been turned off, drain the hot water tank by connecting a hose to the drain valve.
Siphon water from toilets with a siphon pump. You can add RV antifreeze to stop any remaining water, like in traps below sinks, the bathtub, the toilet, and the shower, from freezing.
3. Turn off heat sources
Turn off the furnace and baseboard heaters. Check the chimney or ventilation pipe for your furnace for obstructions and check screens over outside openings so animals do not get in. Baseboard heaters, the chimney, and the wood stove should all be cleaned and working properly before you leave for the winter.
4. Look for hazards
Check for anything that could cause damage over winter. Look for branches too close to power lines, put away outdoor furniture, and get rid of debris that could cause damage in a windstorm.
Remove anything that could be a fire hazard during a lightning strike.
5. Secure doors and windows
Close and lock doors and windows and close the blinds. Put a 2”x2” wood barrier on the bottom of windows and sliding doors so they cannot be opened.
6. Take valuables with you
Do not leave valuables in your cottage or lock them up out of sight so thieves are not tempted to break in. Lock up water skis, ATVs, outboard motors, fishing equipment, generators, and anything else of value. Do not leave firearms or alcohol on the property. Securely store boats out of the water or take them home.
7. Do not leave food
Take all food, including canned food, home with you. Cans can freeze and split open, attracting rodents and other animals. Defrost and unplug the refrigerator. Hang a towel over the door so it cannot close and put baking soda inside to get rid of odors.
8. Wash the linens
Remove sheets from beds, wash them, and store them in a cool, dry place or plastic bins. Add lavender or fabric softener for freshness. Consider keeping any rodents off beds by leaning mattresses against a wall.
9. Have someone check on your cottage
Ask a friend, neighbor, family member, or someone else you trust to check on your cottage in the winter to make sure there is no damage and nobody has broken in.