7 Tips on How to Winterize a Cottage
Here’s how to keep your cottage in tip-top shape, whether you’re staying for the winter or heading home.
As the winter months start to roll in, so does the saddest goodbye of the year — saying goodbye to the cottage! Whether you leave the cottage completely for the winter or you keep it open all year-round, it is still a little bittersweet to say goodbye to the warmer weather as the snow comes down. Canadian winters are stunning but can get quite intense — hence why it’s imperative to properly winterize your cottage to prepare.
Winterizing your cottage is key to making sure you don’t have to call your insurance broker when you next visit, and it’s also how you can keep home emergencies away if you’re visiting the cottage during the colder months. Here are 7 of our favourite tips to help you winterize your cottage, regardless of whether or not you’re staying put or closing up shop for the winter.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate!
Proper insulation is essential in every cottage for so many reasons, but especially to prepare for the colder months. Installing all-season insulation will not only prevent mold and rot but is necessary when you’re in Canada’s fluctuating temperatures. The temperatures drop fast in the winter, and all-season insulation not only keeps you cozy but keeps any problems from developing in your walls.
- Install high-quality windows and doors.
Colder weather in Canadian cottage country can create high energy bills, which is why we recommend installing high-quality windows and doors in your cottage. Properly sealed windows and doors are key for preventing drafts and for trapping warmer air inside. Just like with insulation, you can find all-season windows and doors that hold up to drops in temperature during different seasons.
- Store your boat the right way.
Do you have a boat at your cottage? Don’t neglect that prized possession — make sure you winterize your boat right alongside your cottage! From applying corrosion protection to your engine to adding antifreeze to your plumbing systems, you can rest easy knowing your boat will be safe and sound all winter and ready in the spring.
- Unplug all of your major appliances.
Whether you’re stepping away from your cottage for the weekend or for the winter as a whole, don’t neglect the simple act of an unplug. We recommend unplugging all major appliances in your home (think: everything from your dryer to your oven) to prevent power surges and outages that so often take place in the winter. Psst… don’t forget simple steps like turning off lights, too!
- Be intentional about your thermostat and furnace.
Whether you’re staying put or leaving, you have a big decision to make — deciding whether or not to heat your cottage during the winter, which can be comfortable but also expensive. If you’re not heating your cottage, we’d recommend setting the thermostat to a low temperature and draining the water from your pipes so nothing freezes during the cold months ahead. You’ll also want to think about the type of heat source you want to have in your cottage and be sure to take proper precautions like cleaning your furnace filter.
- Remove everything that critters might like!
Critters looking to get out of the cold will look at your cottage as a haven — so make sure they can’t get in! Seal off any entrances to your cottage, no matter how small they might be… and then make sure to seal up or dispose of any kind of food items that critters may be drawn to. Pay special attention to openings you may have not noticed, like into your windows and doors, and don’t neglect areas like the boathouse or basement.
- Don’t forget the plumbing!
Having plumbing tactics that can stand up the cottage country winter is absolutely essential whether you’re staying or you’re leaving for the winter. We recommend you call a plumber to help you find out whether or not you can heat the indoor space enough to keep the indoor pipes from freezing. They will also help you figure out if the water supply and the sewage exits are located in a heated space or an unheated space. Sometimes you need to call in the professionals!
Lastly, give your insurance company a call to ask them what winterization they recommend for you. You may also want to alter your policy (especially if you won’t be at the cottage during the winter) to stay protected, and you can’t ever go wrong with an extra check to ensure your coverage.
If you’re ready to build a beautiful, stunning, and high-quality cottage to take you through both winter and summer, give us a call today! At Gilbert + Burke we are always striving to provide you with the best craftsmanship, advice, and knowledge to help build you the perfect cottage spot for all seasons.