Winterize your cottage: a Checklist

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While some cottagers prefer warm summer days spent lounging on the dock or swimming in the lake, others live for winter weekends spent playing in the snow or reading by the fire. Whether you'll be spending the occasional weekend at your cottage or getting ready to close up until next spring, you need to think about winterizing your property.

Depending on how you plan to use your cottage over the winter, there are many things to consider. The checklist below will help prevent the risk of damage to your property while you're not there.

Top 5 things to take care of:

1. Electrical

  • Appliances: Make sure your washing machine and dishwasher are fully drained, and unplug any major and small appliances such as your toaster and microwave.
  • Electronics: Unplug all electronics such as your TV, stereo and lamps.
  • If you plan on visiting your cottage, leave the main breaker on so you can set your furnace to maintain a low temperature.
  • If you're closing up for the season, turn off the main breaker.

2. Heating

  • To help conserve energy when your home is not occupied, set your furnace temperature to about 5 °C.
  • Wi-Fi enabled thermostats can alert you remotely if there is an issue with your heating, so you can solve the problem before any major damage is done.
  • For extra protection, consider having a generator as a backup heat source if your furnace fails or there's a power outage. This will help protect you against your pipes bursting and minimize the risk of water damage.

3. Plumbing

  • Turn off electric supply to the water system pump.
  • Turn off electricity and/or gas supply to the water heater.
  • Close the main shut off valve if you're on municipal water.
  • Open the drain valve closest to the main shut off valve so water will drain out close to the shut-off valve.
  • Drain the pressure tank.
  • Open all interior and exterior faucets.
  • Disconnect all hoses from exterior faucets.
  • If required with your system, flush all the toilets until water is gone.
  • Pour half a cup of plumbing anti-freeze into all of your drains and toilets to ensure any remaining water will not freeze in the pipes.

4. Interior

  • Any liquids should be taken out of the cottage so they don't freeze.
  • Take all non-perishable food home with you.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are shut and locked.

5. Outdoors

  • Clean your eaves in the fall so the downspouts will be free of debris when spring arrives which will help minimize the risk of water damage to your property when the snow melts.
  • Road access—collaborate with your neighbours to ensure regular snow ploughing is keeping roads accessible throughout the winter.
  • If you plan on visiting you may want to hire someone to shovel your driveway and walkway before you arrive.

Insurance considerations

Carefully consider how your cottage will be used in the wintertime. Coverage and premiums will differ depending on your answer.

  • If you plan on having people rent your property over the winter, you will need to ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage in place.
  • With snow, ice and unpredictable weather conditions, accidents can happen—ensure your policy covers your liability should someone injure themselves on your property.
  • Check your home insurance policy to understand what you are responsible for and make sure you're taking all necessary precautions to avoid damage over the winter.

Spending winter up at the cottage can be great. Plan in advance so that when you do visit you have the fun and relaxing experience you're hoping for.

How to make a claim

Call 1-877-251-8656 to speak with a Claims Advisor.

Renewing your policy

Call 1-877-251-8652 for information regarding policy renewal.

Buying a new policy

Call 1-866-660-9035 for information on obtaining a quote.

Need help?

Take a look at the top 5 FAQs:

  • Why should I have home insurance?

    Why should I have home insurance?

    While the government doesn't require you to purchase home insurance, your mortgage-holder probably will - at least enough to cover its share of ownership. There are various kinds of home insurance that cover general and specific kinds of damage to your home, and you should research your options carefully. You can also buy specialized insurance to cover a condominium, home business, or other kind of property or valuables found in your home.

    Home insurance also includes liability coverage for people who are hurt on your property.

  • Why should I buy tenant's insurance when I live in an apartment and don't have many contents or valuables?

    Why should I buy tenant's insurance when I live in an apartment and don't have many contents or valuables?

    Most people would be surprised at the value of their personal property if they were to add it up and have to replace it all immediately. Think about your furniture, clothing, electronic equipment-then try to put a price tag to it all. Also, if you've purchased items on credit and they are stolen or destroyed by fire, you could still have to make the payments.

    Tenants insurance also includes liability insurance for damage the tenants or their guests cause to the building, for injuries in the rented home, etc.

  • How can I earn PC® points?

    How can I earn PC® points?

    When you use your President's Choice Financial® MasterCard® to pay your PC home insurance premium, you'll get 20 PC points per dollar of your premium. If you use your President's Choice Financial bank card to pay your PC home insurance premium, you'll get 10 PC points per dollar of your premium.

  • What is a deductible?

    What is a deductible?

    A deductible is your share of the amount that needs to be paid to cover the repair or replacement of your covered property before your insurance pays the rest.

  • How are premiums calculated?

    How are premiums calculated?

    The building itself has a lot to do with how your home insurance premiums are set. Many things about your home are taken into consideration including:

    • Its age and size
    • Type of building (detached, semi, high rise, etc)
    • Type of construction (brick, stucco, wood, etc)
    • Type of heating system
    • How close it is to a fire hydrant or fire station
    • Where it is located

See all Home Insurance FAQs

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