How to Protect Your Home and Cottage This Winter

As the weather begins to change, now is the time to winter-proof your home and cottage to help prevent damages or theft. The following is a home protection checklist that can help you plan important safety measures to help keep your cottage or home safe and damage-free during the winter:

Are your appliances in working condition?

Make sure all of your key appliances like water heater, furnace and kitchen appliances are working well.If you use a fireplace or wood stove for heat, build your fire with a small amount of dry, seasoned wood to keep the flames under control.

Have you turned off the faucet outside?

Before the temperatures drop to freezing, disconnect your garden hose and drain the remaining water, as water left in the pipes can freeze and cause the pipes to burst. If you are leaving your cabin closed up for winter, shut off the main water valve and any water supply valves, like the toilet, dishwasher or washing machine.

Is your sump pump working?

Often the water will rise in the spring when the snow melts. If you will not be at the cottage when this starts to happen it is critical to make sure you have left your sump pump in good working condition.  

Have you inspected all your windows and door for leaks?

With temperatures below zero you definitely want to keep the heat in, and the best way to do that is by ensuring your windows and doors are properly sealed. Also, check for drafts and caulk both inside and out where necessary.

Have you trimmed any branches hanging over your cottage or home?

A heavy storm or the weight of snow can result in damages to your property during the tumultuous season. Make sure any overgrown bushes or trees are trimmed back away from your house and electrical wires. Store away all décor and other loose items like lawn chairs, boats, and BBQ’s in the case of strong winds.

What actions are you taking to prevent a break-in?

Along with preparing your cottage for the harshness of winter, owners need to also take necessary steps to protect their property from a break in while it stands empty for months. In addition to installing an alarm system and motion sensors, you can ask neighbours to keep an eye out for anything suspicious while you’re away.

Do you have an emergency kit?

If a bad storm rolls through and you are stuck without power, it’s important to have enough supplies to keep you warm and fed until help arrives or electrical wires are fixed. Your kit should include a day’s worth of food, water, blankets, clothes, batteries and flashlights. Preparing a similar kit for your vehicle is also advised.

Have you inspected your roof lately?

Water entering through the top of your house can freeze and expand, causing damage and potential leaks. Inspect your eaves as well as your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles.

Have you done any chimney maintenance?

Chimneys are a great place for animals to get into your home or make nests in. Beyond that, a build up within a chimney can cause fires. Before you use your fireplace, make sure the chimney and vents are clean and in good condition by having your chimney looked at by a professional. Also, check the caulking around the chimney to ensure snow won’t leak into your home or your cottage while you’re away.