Winter is coming and you want to make sure to find your cottage and your equipment in good condition in the spring? Whether your cottage is habitable in winter or not, for
rent or for your personal use, some preparations are necessary. Here are some essential tips that could help you avoid nasty surprises.
1. PROTECT YOUR EQUIPMENT
If you want to keep your outdoor items in good condition, it is imperative to properly store / protect those before the first snow. Barbecue, swing, patio set, swimming pool, boats, everything should be prepared.
- If you have a dock or a bridge, take the time to weigh the pros and cons of storing it on land for the winter period. Depending on the site conditions ( water level in the spring and intensity of winter) and your equipment ( anchor type ), it may be preferable to leave the dock in the water. Conversely, removing the dock from water can prevent immediate damage caused by winter weather. In contrast, taking it out of the water may weaken its structure.
- Attach swings to prevent breakage due to wind, and cover these with a tarp to prevent paint and other not get damaged. Stripping a swing then repainting or varnishing it requires much more effort than installing a protective tarp.
- Ideally, store the barbecue and patio indoors. If you lack storage space, put them away as much as possible and cover with a tarp.
- If you have a pool, be sure to close following standard steps. Here is an interesting article on the subject.
- If you own a spa, it should be emptied and closed properly to avoid breakage of pipes for instance, unless you intend to use it regularly during the winter. In this case, you can opt for a shelter or other types of gazebo to provide shelter and avoid shovelling the spa cover every time. In addition, you will be protected from the wind during your relaxation session !
- All vessels must be either garaged or put aside upside down on the ground.
2. PROTECT YOUR COTTAGE FROM WILDLIFE ANIMALS
With the cold outside, your cottage becomes a warm and comfortable destination for certain animals. Here are some basic tips to avoid attracting squirrels, voles, mice, raccoons and even bears :
- Block all potential inputs ( windows, doors, vents mouth, etc.. ).
- Condemn the fireplace if not used for a long time. Don't forget to re-open it before using.
- Empty the cupboards and refrigerator between visits. Remember that our animal friends are greedy !
- Inspect each corner of the cottage and ensure that there is no hole, however small it may be.
3. PLANNING THE SNOW PLOWING
Depending on snowfall and reliability of your roof, you will most likely need to remove snow from the roof and entrance several times during the winter in order to access to the cottage.
Here are some suggestions:
- Choose a strategic location for accumulating snow to avoid disrupting the trickling of spring.
Clearly identify the potential sources of breakage, including large rocks and bushes, in order to prevent damage to your snow removal equipment.
- If snowfall is heavy and you feel a danger to your roof, it may be necessary to install temporary supports at key locations.
- Of course, never underestimate snow accumulation on the roof of the cottage or the rebate. With gravity, you might have unpleasant surprises.
4. PREVENT THEFT AND VANDALISM
Depending on the location of your cottage, it may be necessary to take certain measures against theft :
- If you have an alarm system, make sure it is functional and activated before each absence.
- If you have neighbours, inform them of your absence and make sure they have a way to reach you in case of emergency.
- If you are absent and no neighbour is available for monitoring, plan occasional visits to make sure everything is in order.
5. IF YOU LEAVE FOR WINTER
For those of you planning to completely close the cottage for the winter season, in addition to the tips mentioned above, some more specific tips apply:
- Turn off every electrical device for safe restart in spring and to minimize the risk of fire.
- If you do not have an alarm system, turn off the electricity by closing circuit breakers. If gas-powered, just close the valve.
- Make a thorough cleanup and put baking soda in the refrigerator. You can also place anti-mold boxes in each room to keep moisture at a controlled level.
- Close the tap and let the water flow out to empty the remaining water in the pipes. If you are supplied with water from the aqueduct, you must close the main valve.
By following these tips, you should be able to prepare your cottage for winter.