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5 tips for protecting your cottage in the offseason

Posted on Oct. 3, 2017

Can you believe one more summer is in the books? With fall here, another season will be soon to follow – winter. Some people love winter. It’s the perfect time to build a snowman and go tobogganing. But others (most) loathe winter. It means longer commutes and shoveling the driveway.

Whether you love or loathe winter, you’ll need to contend with it. If you own a seasonal property, such as a cottage, you’ll have the added responsibility of getting it ready for the winter. It’s important to make sure it’s protected when you’re not there. The last thing you want is to come back in the spring to find extensive damage caused by flooding due to a burst pipe.

Here are some tips for protecting your season property during winter and when uninhabited.

If you don’t plan to visit your cottage again until the spring, don’t forget to turn off the water. Not only will you want to turn off the water valve, consider adding anti-freeze to the drains and draining water from the pipes. This is especially crucial when the temperature plummets below 0 C. The last thing you want is for your pipe to burst when you’re not there.

Before you leave for the winter, don’t forget to clear out the fridge. This especially makes sense if you’ll be turning off the hydro while you’re not there. You don’t want to return in the spring and find food rotting in your fridge. The smell is not the most welcoming.

And don’t forget to do maintenance on the outside of your cottage to prepare it for winter. Take the time to clear the eavestroughs and downspouts of any leaves, twigs or other debris. This reduces the likelihood your home will be flooded from an ice jam or leak.

If the area your property is in experiences heavy snowfall, consider paying someone after there’s a heavy snowfall to clear your foundation. This will help avoid basement flooding. You may want to hire someone to clear the snow from your roof.

If you’re going to be away from your cottage for an extended period of time, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe and secure. It doesn’t hurt to ask a neighbour to keep a watchful eye on your property when you’re not there. A telltale sign nobody is home is mail piling up in the mailbox. You can also have your mail redirected or ask your neighbour to pick it up in your absence. You’ll also want to make sure all doors and windows are locked, since those can be an easy entry point for criminals.

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