1) Turn off the water — a standard practice with cottage owners. Remember to drain your water lines completely so they won’t burst over the winter months.
2) If you have a wood burning stove make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned out and the ashes and any coals disposed of properly. This will prevent potential fire hazards and alleviate any messes when you open in the spring.
3) Secure all windows, doors, sheds and boat houses, etc. Take extra time to ensure that your recreational property is adequately protected against theft or vandalism.
4) Secure any items that will be left outdoors over the winter. Boats, canoes, barbecues, outdoor furniture and picnic tables should be adequately protected from wind, rain, snow and cold temperatures.
5) Take a look around your property for potentially dangerous tree limbs. Take the necessary precautions and trim limbs back that might cause trouble over the winter.
6) Make sure your property is checked regularly by someone living in the area over the winter months. Be sure to let them know how to get in touch with you if there are any problems.
7) Arrange for snow removal from your roof and decks.
8) Remove all valuable items from sight. If potential thieves can’t see anything they’d like to take, chances are they won’t. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” really is true in this case.
9) Have your oil tank inspected by a qualified contractor to avoid oil leaks! This step should be taken every year, regardless of the age of your tank.
10) Remember to inspect and repair your roof, clean your eaves troughs and ensure your downspouts extend far enough away from the building. This may help prevent water damage problems.
11) Make a checklist for opening and closing your cottage and keep it in a convenient place, for example near your electrical panel.
12) Make an inventory of your cottage contents. Taking photos or videos will help if you suffer a loss.
A little work before you head home can prevent problems from even starting.
*compliments of IBC