How to Prepare For Your Weekend at the Cottage

Man arrives at his cottage with his daughter.

With spring in full effect, many cottage owners will be getting ready to open their home-away-from-home for the season following a long winter away. As two-thirds of Allstate summer-home claims are weather and accident related, we’d like to offer a few tips to help you start the season off right.

Ten Steps for Opening Your Cottage This Summer

Bring the Right Equipment to Repair and Clean the Cottage

Photo of a tool kit

Before you hit the road, make sure you put together a tool kit of the supplies that may be needed when you visit your seasonal property, including a hammer, nails, drill, batteries, duct tape and the phone number of a few local professionals for larger repair jobs. Also be sure you have all the cleaning supplies you may need, including dish soap, sponges and mops.

Inspect the Cottage For Damage

Person inspecting the inside of their cottage

Once you arrive, inspect the inside and outside of the cottage for any damages or issues that may have come up over the winter that will need to be taken care of immediately.  Check for basement flooding to see if there hasn’t been any water damage.

Inside the Cottage

image of a mice out front a cottage

When a home is left unattended for long periods, rodents and other pests often move in. If you have spotted signs of uninvited guests (such as droppings), be sure to disinfect counters and dishes and check your oven for nests before turning it on. To help resolve the problem, consider setting traps and be sure to plug holes where you suspect they may be getting in. Also inspect the walls and ceilings for signs of water damage.

Outside the Cottage

senior man cleaning the gutter of his cottage

Check power and phone lines to make sure nothing has been damaged over the winter. Look for overhanging branches from large trees. Check that all windows and screens are intact. Also have a look at the chimney, roof and under the cottage at posts, pads and beams.

Clear Away Debris Found Around Your Property

woman clearing debris from the deck of her cottage

Clean out eavestroughs and downspouts to make sure they are not clogged. This will help water flow away from your home during rainstorms. Have overhanging and weak tree branches removed and trim all branches and shrubbery which could get too close to walls and cause damage.

Examine Your Water Supply and Septic Tank

Man clearing the drains

To get your cottage’s water system up and running, make sure to reconnect the pipes, check for damage and make sure the hot water tank is filled prior to turning it on. Not doing this can result in costly damage. If you are uncertain about any maintenance or repairs, get in touch with an expert for help. Make sure your septic tank is pumped as your filter can be clogged with scum and debris from the winter.

Check Your BBQ

Man cleaning the barbeque

If you’re an avid griller, chances are your BBQ will be there waiting for you to use. However, before you start cooking, be sure to clean it. Also check propane tanks regularly for leaks, loose connections or blockages.

Ensure All Safety Devices Are in Working Order

Woman inserting smoke alarm battery

Replace batteries and check the working condition of all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also ensure you have a working fire extinguisher stored in an accessible location. Have electrical connections checked and maintain fuse boxes, heaters, wiring, stoves and other heat sources regularly.

Once you’ve checked to see that everything is working accordingly, be sure to prepare for the unexpected – create a family emergency preparedness plan and kit for the cottage.

Inspect Your Boat, Dock and Water Equipment

Boat tied to the dock.

Ensure your dock is in good condition and anchored properly. Check for loose boards, inspect and replace floatation devices if required, and make sure all hardware, like dock rings and cleats are securely in place. Check the condition of any boats, including fuel lines and tanks. Check that all required safety equipment is ready and in good condition.

Review Your Seasonal Home Insurance Policy

couple speaking with an insurance agent

Talk to your insurance agent to review your cottage and watercraft liability coverage to ensure everything is up to date, and that you have the seasonal insurance you need.

While it sounds like this weekend may be filled with a lot of chores, just make sure you also take some time to relax and enjoy the weekend.

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