Monday, November 10, 2014

Simple tips to protect your cottage for the winter

Simple tips to protect your cottage for the winter

No matter if you are closing your cottage up completely for the winter or are planning to visit it once or twice throughout there are certain things you should do before the snow stages to pileup outside in cottage country.

If you are planning to close the cottage up for the entire winter here is a brief list of what you should do to the cottage;

You should turn the power off to the water pump and the entire water system. Even if you plan to leave the heat on in the cottage all winter you should drain the system and turn off the power. This will ensure that you don’t end up with a flood or water damage if you end up with a leak or a frozen pipe.

Easy points of entry like basement windows and doors should be secured. That might mean some plywood placed over the windows or locking steel shutters.

You should hire a local maintenance company to check on the place every couple of weeks. This won’t stop a burglary but it will stop a broken window or lost shingles from allowing a lot of damage to the interior of the house.

If you are not heating the cottage then the power should be turned off unless it’s needed for sump pumps or security systems. This will limit the chance of shorts from electrical that could cause fires or smoke damage.

You should have the eave trough and downspouts cleaned.

Curtains should be drawn so potential thieves cannot see any valuables inside.

All food and alcohol should be removed from the cottage to stop vermin and other animals from wanting to break in and also with no alcohol on the premises then if someone does break in they won’t want to come back again.

Your docks, boats and water equipment should be put away in a place where the weather will not affect it.

All patio furniture should be placed away either inside or under a deck or porch.

A simple chain across the driveway entrance can deter people from entering the property.

You should not only have the water system drained but blown out by a plumber with an air compressor, this will ensure that there is no lingering water that might freeze left in the lines.

Barbeques should be cleaned and the portable propane tanks either locked up for the winter or brought back home for safer storage.

If you have large decks or porches you might want to pay someone to shovel them off so that the heavy snow doesn’t damage them.

You should empty water softeners of any liquid or filtration systems, they will break when/or if they freeze.

If you are planning to use the cottage a couple of times during the winter here is a brief list of what you should do to the cottage;

You should turn the power off to the water system, this will help stop flooding if a pipe freezes and breaks. The water is easy to turn back on once you have arrived during the winter.

You will have to hire someone to plow the lane of snow. You should pay that person to plow more than just when you come up to use the place. Plowing it more often will give the feel that people are there on a regular basis.

You should secure your sliding doors with locking mechanisms on the floor or with a piece of wood that is cut to the length of the sliding door.

Curtains should be drawn so potential thieves cannot see any valuables inside. This will also help keep the heat in and cut the wind chill that comes off the frozen lake.

You should have the eave trough and downspouts cleaned.

You should have your heating system checked and tuned up for the winter season and the propane holding tanks filled.

Your docks, boats and water equipment should be put away in a place where the weather will not affect it.

All patio furniture should be placed away either inside or under a deck or porch.

If you don’t want to pay for alarm monitoring a simple camera system that is hooked to the
internet that runs off low voltage will work. It will not only help protect the cottage but it will also act as a deterrent to people afraid to be caught on camera.

In extremely cold winters you might want to have a “heat trace” installed in the water line that is running underground to the well. This will help ensure that your water line will not freeze and that you will have water all winter.

Doing these things will limit the need for major repairs or having the police or alarm company calling you in the middle of the winter or early in the spring. A little bit of effort in the fall will save you time and money in the spring.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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