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September 13, 2023

Closing Cottage for Winter: HVAC, Plumbing, and Upkeep Tips

A small wooden-panelled cottage surrounded by colourful trees

And just like that, summer is gone! The early fall season has entered the picture, and the temperature has started cooling down. ‘Tis officially the season for packing things up and closing the cottage for winter.

While the idea of winterizing your cottage might sound like a daunting task, it’s a crucial step in ensuring that your cherished getaway remains in prime condition for years to come. That’s why we created this closing checklist for cottage owners; it’s got everything you need to know on how to close a cottage for the winter.

Let’s get into it!

Winter Cottage Closing Checklist: Interior Preparations

    Turn Water Off and Drain the Plumbing Lines

During winter, your cottage’s pipes are prone to bursting due to freezing. When water freezes, the ice expands the walls of the pipes—then BAM! You’re now dealing with a flood in your cottage.

So, shut off the main water valve, then drain all lines. You can do the latter by clearing the toilet tank, turning on all water fixtures, and pumping air through the plumbing system to remove the remaining water.

    Protect Water Pump

Protect your water pump to prevent irreparable cracks.

You’ll need to disconnect this from its power source to lessen the existing pressure. Then, twist open the drain valve near the pump to let the water inside flow out. Opening the drain plug draws the water out from the pump in some models.

    Winterize Your Septic System

Septic systems require pumping every two to five years to prevent tar build-up. If yours is overdue for a pump, it’s best to call a professional and schedule an appointment before closing the cottage for the winter.

    Adjust Thermostat

Most professionals recommend lowering your home’s temperature instead of shutting off the furnace completely.

Set the temperature to 12°C—this setting strikes the balance between maintaining affordable electricity costs and preventing your pipes from bursting. Some HVAC systems also have a ‘Vacation Mode’ you can use.

    Service the Heating System

An unmaintained heating and cooling system can lead to disaster. Schedule a professional inspection and maintenance for your heating system. This ensures it’s in good working order and operates efficiently during the winter.

a person changes the battery in a smoke detector

    Check Smoke and CO Detectors

Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning correctly. Replace batteries and install new detectors if necessary.

    Preserve All Textiles

Cover bed mattresses with plastic sheets to keep their textures fresh and crisp while you’re away. You can also place fabric softener sheets and spread mothballs in dresser drawers and closets to prevent all linen and clothing from withering.

    Unplug Major Appliances

Plugged electrical wires are one of the top causes of house fires. Remove all electronics from their sockets and store them away from flammable sources. If you have a barbeque with a propane tank, make sure it’s all switched off, too.

Refrigerator and Freezer Pest Control Tips

  • Remove all food from inside
  • Set to thawing mode or unplug to remove all frost
  • Drain the water line and wipe away moisture
  • Scatter baking soda inside to prevent bad odours
  • Leave the door slightly open to avoid mildew buildup

Winter Cottage Closing Checklist: Exterior Preparations

    Inspect for Damage

Begin by inspecting your cottage’s roof for any signs of damage, such as loose or missing shingles. Address any issues promptly to prevent water leaks during the winter months.

This also includes ensuring that gutters and downspouts are clear of debris, and trimming tree branches that hang over or near your cottage’s roof.

a landscapper removes leaves from a cottage eavestrough

    Shelter Outdoor HVAC Unit

Protecting your outdoor HVAC unit is an important winter cottage closing checklist tip. Melting snow, icicles, and other debris are common causes for ruining its parts. Make sure your unit is set up so that anything that falls can be caught by an overhanging roof.

    Securing Windows and Doors

Before you close the cottage for winter, do a final inspection on all fenestrations to see what needs reinforcement. Look for finger-width holes and drafts that need caulking—leaving these open will invite local critters to crawl indoors.

Schedule Winter Cottage HVAC Maintenance Today

Are you ready to experience a warm and worry-free winter at your cottage? Don’t wait until the cold sets in; contact LG Home Comfort to schedule your winter cottage HVAC maintenance today.

Our experienced technicians understand the unique challenges of Ontario winters and will make sure your heating system is in top-notch condition. From furnace inspections to duct cleaning, we’ve got your cottage covered.

Still unsure how to winterize a cabin? Let us help!

Terms and Conditions

  • Once an initial service has been completed, the customer will be on a one-year commitment
  • After the initial 12 months, the contract will be renewed on a month-to-month cadence
  • If a service is completed for the next year, it automatically renews the commitment for an additional year
  • Customers can cancel at any time after the 12-month initial commitment as long as the following year’s service has not been completed.
  • Customers need to provide 30 days written notice in order to cancel their plan