Closing Down the Cottage.  Well the Last Long Weekend of Summer is just about over and all the people fortunate enough to own a three season cottage will have to start planning closing up their summer retreat for the winter.

Roof Repair - Barrie Home Inspections

Check Your Roof for missing or damaged shingles, inspect any flashings for openings or damage and cut back any branches which may contact roof during winter. Place a wooden cover on the chimney to discourage birds and small animals from entering, and to stop any rain or snow. Tightly close your fireplace damper to prevent animals from getting in.  If your cottage is in a heavy snow load area you might consider putting some extra posts or wood studs under roof supports for extra protection.

Inspect exterior for any opening, holes or cracks which can allow rodents or water into interior.  Mice and squirrels can squeeze through any small opening. A little caulking in the fall can save a lot of work next spring.

Remove all food from building as you don’t want to attract animals who may force their way in to get a free meal.  You can spread some mothballs around cottage to deter smaller creatures.  I recommend the cedar mothballs which I put in my car every winter to protect the leather upholstery.

Defrost the refrigerator. Leave the door open a little to prevent mildew from growing. An open box of baking soda placed inside the fridge will also help neutralize odours.

plumbing drain for cottage

Drain the plumbing, the hot water tank, the water purifier, the washing machine (and the dishwasher, if you have one), the toilet tank, and the sink and tub traps. First, drain all the lines by opening all the taps and valves. If your lines are not level you’ll have to blow the water out with air. (Use a can of compressed air, or a hand-operated diaphragm pump.) Put antifreeze—use non-toxic propylene glycol, also known as RV antifreeze—in anything that can’t be drained.

Lock up any recreational equipment left at the cottage.  Drain and winterize any equipment left in storage.  Adding a coating of oil can help prevent rusting and extend life of tools.  Rather than draining gas from equipment considering adding stabilizer instead.

Turn off all appliances and unplug any electrical fans or heaters etc.  If you have no need for electricity to be left on shut off main breaker when everything has been turned off.  If you leave appliances or anything else on and some one entered cottage and turned on your breaker you could have a fire or end up running an appliance until your next visit.

Store Your Bedding in a dry and rodent proof container or plastic bag.  Cover beds with drop sheet or plastic etc to keep mouse droppings off the bedding.  If you have any concerns about roof leaks you can stand up the bedding with plastic cover for protection.

List & Engrave Your Valuables so that if stolen the police can easily identify them.  You could even leave a list on your kitchen table to discourage thieves from taking them as they will know they can be traced immediately.

Last but Not Least take a final walk around exterior making sure everything is properly stored and sheds, bunkies, garages, windows and doors are properly locked. And finally, if possible, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your place.  It is handy to have someone local who can act on your behalf if there is a break-in etc to speed things along and maybe save yourself a trip back.