How To Winterize Your Cottage


Canadian Cottage in fall

The annual shut-down of the cottage is a bittersweet moment. You are ending one cottage season but at the same time making sure everything is ready for the next.

Today, we are going to breakdown what needs to happen to ensure your cottage is as good as new for next spring.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

  1. Water

We can start with the obvious. If your cottage is not winterized, shut-off the water!

To begin, shut-off your water supply and drain the pipes. This is extremely important as any water left in the pipes can freeze and expand resulting in burst pipes and a big headache. Not something you want to deal with when you show up for May 24.

The next step to preparing your water system is to check your sump pump if your cottage is equipped with one. It is important to ensure that the pump is working all winter as a sudden snowmelt can dump a lot of water into the ground and potentially your basement. Again, not a great present to get on that first visit.

This next tip is a little, well, smelly.

Take some time to inspect your septic tank and make sure it is not in need of any repairs. And well this is not a necessary step, there is no harm in doing it and you may spot something in need of repair.

If septic inspection isn't your thing than consider hiring a professional to carry out the inspection for you as a leaky septic tank is not something you want your friends to smell the first time they come to visit.

  1. Electricity

This next category is all about reducing electricity usage over the winter and protecting your cottage from electrical fires.

To start, unplug major appliances that will not be needed as well as any televisions, stereo systems, and other electronics. Even when these things are turned off, they will still draw a bit of power so make sure they are unplugged! If the plugs are in difficult to reach places, turning the power with the breaker panel is also an option.

Another tip is to turn-off or turn-down your heat. If you have properly drained your pipes you can turn it off completely but if not, turn it down to around 10° Celsius to prevent frost build-up and freezing.

  1. Interior

Let’s step inside the cottage now.

Most of what you need to do inside is cleaning. To start, clean out the fridge and cupboards so there is not anything that may attract furry friends into your cottage.

Next, remove any valuables and take them home with you so no one is tempted to break-in. While you’re at it, you should also clean up any potential fire-hazards like newspapers, books, and chemicals and either remove them from the building or store them securely away from any potential fire sources.

  1. Exterior

Before leaving for winter make sure you conduct a thorough inspection of the exterior. Pay close attention to spaces where animals could crawl into and make sure they are sealed. Now is also a good time to install storm windows if you have them. These can protect your cottage’s windows if there are any nasty winter storms and provide an additional layer of insulation.

Cleaning out the gutters is also an important step as if left full, water can seep underneath the shingles of the roof and begin rotting the wood underneath. And a new roof isn’t exactly cheap.


              To wrap things up, I would like to stress how important preparing your cottage for winter is. If you don’t take the time and care to do it properly, you may be left with some very expensive repairs down the line.

If you liked this post, here are some more to check out: 6 Ways to Improve Your Cottage's Energy Efficiency, The 7 Best Sustainable Activities for the Cottage

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