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Guidelines for Closing your cottage for the winter

With summer weather having disappeared, Canadians should begin to winterize their cottages if they have not already done so. As such, Aaxel Insurance Mississauga has compiled a list of steps to take before leaving your second home during the winter months.

1. Inspect your septic tank: Many cottages have a septic system, and if yours is one of them, be sure to follow the service recommendations set out by your system’s manufacturer, as well as the appropriate timelines. If it’s time for an inspection, be sure to contact a trusted professional to make sure your system is running properly before closing your cottage.
2. Keep your sump pump on: To avoid any flooding that can arise once the snow melts, be sure to keep your sump pump on and in good working condition.
3. Drain your pipes: Before leaving ensure that your water supply is shut off and drain your pipes. Failure to do so can lead to pipes freezing and potentially bursting.
4. Clean your gutters: Uncleaned gutters can result in clogging of water which will back up your shingles, resulting in a leaky roof. By cleaning your gutters, you are allowing rain and melting snow to flow freely.
5. Inspect your roof: A buildup of snow can result in a major roof leak or, in some cases, a cave in. Replace any broken or missing shingles before the winter season to prevent this.
6. Pest prevention: Look for any small holes or areas that smaller animals can squeeze through and enter your cottage in. If your cottage has a chimney, use a cover to stop these animals from making their way in.
7. Unplug big appliances: As stated before, we advise you to keep your sump pump and other important components of the power supply on. However, by unplugging larger appliances you can help prevent electrical fires and other issues while you’re away from the cottage.
8. Either keep your heating off or turn it down: For cottages with a furnace, we advise you to turn your thermostat down to 10°C to avoid any frost buildup. If you wish to take it a step further, you may even want to turn it off completely to save energy-but avoid doing this unless you have prepared your pipes to avoid freezing. If using space heaters, be sure to turn their power supply off via your electrical panel.
9. Get rid of any fire hazards: Be sure to pack up or remove any loose paper products (such as loose articles and books), chemicals, and any other easily flammable materials.
10. Clean your fridge and cupboards appropriately: Any food left out can attract unwanted animals, which is why you should pack up all your food (including dry and canned goods) and take them with you after winterizing your cottage.

At Aaxel Insurance Mississauga, we are dedicated to making sure all your seasonal property and insurance policies are in place. With the unpredictability of weather and other natural hazards, we strongly advise you to take the aforementioned precautions, and contacting your trusted independent insurance broker at Aaxel Insurance should you have any other questions or concerns.


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