With Fall fast approaching, some of you may be tasked with closing up your employer’s cottage for the Winter.
The Luxe Staff team have prepared a list of items that should be included on your checklist.
Let's start with the more obvious items...
It is important to ensure all food is taken out of the fridge and freezer as well as any opened food parcels stored in drawers or cupboards.
Don’t forget garbage in garages or boathouses as well as kitchens and bathrooms. It’s always a good idea to ensure nothing edible is left behind to entice any pesky critters.
It is easy to forget laundry items in the boathouse or areas where items are hung to dry.
Deck and patio furniture will need to be dismantled and stored in a dry place. Umbrellas will need to be tied up and taken in or at least covered. Don’t forget planters or anything else that could be picked up by the wind or cracked from cold temperatures.
All major appliances should be unplugged; such as the fridge, stove, freezer, coffee maker, toaster etc. Your employer may prefer you to turn off the power to the rooms the appliances are in; this can be done by turning the switch in the electrical panel (usually found in the basement or garage).
Check the Heat & the Gas
Depending on the heat source in your employer’s cottage, you may need to turn down or turn of the furnace. Many owners leave the heat at a minimum of 10 degrees celsius to avoid frost building up in the pipes over the winter. Don’t forget to turn off your water heater and baseboard panels at the fuse box. Lastly, don’t forget to turn off the gas before leaving.
Check the Exterior
Do a walk around the premises and look for any areas animals could get in or want to burrow. Check that patio doors are sealed tightly and no cracks are left open for small rodents to get in. If there is a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed and the chimney is covered.
Check the Roof
If the cottage has a metal roof, the heat of the sun will ensure the snow melts and you should be in good shape for the winter. However, if you have a shingled roof, make sure there aren’t any areas that appear to be lifting or falling apart. Otherwise, your employer may be greeted by significant water damage when it comes time to open the cottage.
...and finish with some of the less obvious items.
Turn off the water!!!
Make sure you shut off the main water supply and drain all the pipes before you go. After shutting off the water, turn on one of the faucets to make sure no water is left in the pipes, otherwise it can freeze and cause a pipe to burst.
Service/ Check the Septic Tank
If the cottage is in a rural area, it likely has a septic tank that requires a service schedule. Some cottage owners like to play it safe and have the sewage from their septic tanks pumped annually. Regardless of playing it safe, all septic systems should be on a service schedule and should be checked at least every three to five years.
Check the Dock
If your employer has a removable or floating dock, you may be required to tow it into shore and store it in a safe place.
Plan for a sump pump backup
Power notoriously goes out in rural areas. If the power goes out the sub pump in the cottage could fail and may cause the basement to flood. Speak with your employer about their preferred backup method. Some options include: backup battery systems, backup generator systems, or wireless alarm systems (but this method may require someone to physically go to the cottage if the power outage is lengthy). If you are unfamiliar with implementing these fail safe methods, do not hesitate to contact licensed contractors so you don’t end up with massive damage come spring.
This should be one of the last items completed on your list. It’s best to wait until all the leaves have fallen before you start cleaning out the gutters. This is definitely not an item that should be skipped (not that any others should be either!). If the gutters backup with water, it can cause severe damage to the roof and create further ice damage in the winter.
A proper cottage closure is vital to the longevity of the structure and key to everyone’s safety. Avoid aggravation by doing a thorough walk through before closing up for the winter and create a seamless cottage opening for your employer so they can make lasting memories with their friends and families.