Well, we’re here. It’s the middle of September, the leaves are all changing colours and beginning to fall and that means, for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have all-season cabins, it’s time to close up the cottage. First, the basics:
Mind your plumbing. That means following your septic tank manufacturer’s instructions on winterization. This is a great time for a yearly inspection if you didn’t have one in the spring. You’ll also want to drain all of your pipes, disconnect any detachable fixtures like portable dishwashers, and shut off your water supply. Finally, take the time to make sure your sump pump is working so you don’t walk into a flooded cabin in the spring.
Next, you’re going to want to check the building itself. Clean out the gutters. Make sure there are no missing or broken shingles on the roof. Do a tour of the foundation and patch any holes so rodents and other pests can’t get in.
Save on energy by unplugging major appliances; you might even switch off a number of the circuits on your breaker. Keep some energy flowing if you need to, though, for your security system, sump pump, and furnace (if you keep your furnace on). Lower your furnace to about 10°C if you’re keeping it on. If you’re not keeping your furnace on, or you don’t have one, be extra certain your pipes are completely drained.
Finally, clear the place out. Throw out any garbage, clear your fridge and freezer, put away anything that you don’t want freezing over the winter, and store any flammable goods to reduce the risk of fire.
Making Things Easier
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s talk about how to make the whole process go smoothly:
Make two lists: a to-do list for now, and a to-do list for later. The list for now is every activity you need to do in order to prep your property for winter – like the things we listed above.
The list for later is to remind you of the things you’ll need to prepare for when you get back to the cabin in the summer. Things like buying fuel for your watercraft, replacing life jackets you’ve worn out, and buying new light bulbs.
You’re not going to want to throw out all of the food in your fridge, so take stock of what you’ve got and try to plan a recipe that uses it all. Slow cookers are great for this, because you can take leftover meats, veggies, and sauces and throw them all in together. Most of the time, you’ll wind up with something pretty tasty.
These are just a few of the tips for winterizing your cabin. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that seasonal and cottage insurance is essential (and in some ways, even more important) even when you’re not occupying a space for a prolonged period of time. Have some extra time in the winter? Swing by your property to check on it every once and awhile.