Before You Open for the Season: The 2022 Summer Cottage Checklist
With sunny and warm weather just around the corner in Ontario, the anticipation for cottage season finally begins. Opening the cottage and prepping for visitors can feel like a daunting task, especially if you have not seen your property in months.
To make this easier and less stressful, we have created a detailed checklist of cottage opening essentials, including everything you need to do before you leave for the cabin to the chores for when you arrive. Armed with this checklist, you can be sure that all is in order well before the first weekend of the cottage season.
Before Driving to the Cabin
Preparing your summer cottage starts before you even drive to the lake. There’s nothing worse than getting to the lake only to realize that you’ve forgotten something you need. Some of these items might seem quite obvious, but it’s a good idea to include them in your checklist just in case.
The following are things to do before heading to the cabin:
- Make sure there is electricity. Call your electricity provider and phone service provider before heading over. It’s best to do this on a weekday so that someone can help you as soon as possible.
- Remember all the keys you will need, and make sure to have them with you on your way out.
- Gather your tools or bring your toolkit.
- Bring cleaning supplies. Expect to do some cleaning and tidying this weekend!
- Bring any filters or batteries.
- Check the weather forecast to make sure that it will be safe to travel.
At the Cabin
After a long Ontario winter and unpredictable spring, there’s no guarantee of the condition of your cottage property. The first thing you should do upon arrival is to take note of any outdoor or indoor issues that need to be repaired.
Walk along the perimeter of your cottage, and look for any of the following:
- Downed power lines from fallen trees or branches.
- Damaged phone lines from squirrels or wildlife.
- Dying trees that may fall on the cottage.
- Any roof damage or missing shingles.
- Damage to the chimney stack.
- Any raised nails, rotten floorboards, or unsteady supports on the deck.
- Any dock damage from ice.
- Holes in the cottage siding.
- Damage or cracks in the windows.
- Tears on the screens.
- Instability of posts, pads, and beams under the cottage.
- Signs of break-ins or vandalism.
Afterward, you will also need to thoroughly inspect the inside of the cabin. This includes checking for signs of mice in cupboards, drawers, and closets, as well as making sure there are not any water leaks or damage to the ceiling.
The Water System
If you shut down the pipes when you closed the cottage down for the fall, getting the water system up and running again is the main task in the opening routine. Here are the steps you will need to take for a typical land-based pump:
- Inspect water lines for any signs of damage.
- Replace the water filter at the pump.
- Open the priming valve.
- Draw water from the lake using the hand pump until it fills the line, then close the priming valve.
- Open a cold water tap in the cottage, and make sure the cold water valve leading into the hot water tank is closed.
- Turn on the water pump at the panel box.
- Open all the valves between the pump and the cottage.
- Open all cold water taps to push out the air in the system.
- Check for hissing sounds and leaks before closing all the taps.
The Hot Water Tank
Now that your water is running, it’s time to fill the hot water tank. Here are the simple steps to do it right:
- Make sure the hot water tank is off, and all the taps are closed.
- Connect a hose to the drainage valve and run it outside.
- Open a hot water tap and allow for any residual water to drain.
- Close the drainage valve, and turn on the cold water intake valve to fill the tank.
- Watch the open hot water tap. When it flows normally, it means the water tank is full.
- Close the hot water tap and turn on the hot water tank.
Some Final Touches
There are still a few chores to finish before we can finally start relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather outside. Here are some quick and simple tasks that will keep everyone at the cottage safe and sound this summer:
- Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Check that your fire extinguishers are charged.
- Replace batteries in flashlights
- Clear off any fallen branches from the roof, and trim any that may have grown too close to the cottage over the winter.
- Change out any old filters.
Last But Not Least: Cottage Insurance
Are you adding a new boat or renting out your cottage for the first time this season? Make sure to check that your seasonal property insurance policy is up to date before opening up for the season.
Having the right seasonal home insurance keeps your cottage and your valuables protected. It will also cover you and prevent you from being liable if someone accidentally hurts themselves on your property. Nothing puts a damper on the perfect summer getaway than an expensive, uninsured claim.
If you are unsure how much insurance is necessary for your property, our trusted insurance broker team at Oegema, Nicholson & Associates is here to help. Whether you have a brand new beach house or a cozy cabin for your summer getaways, you can rely on our expertise to keep your most valuable assets covered. For more information about cottage insurance in Ottawa, give us a call at 613-704-7766 or contact us here.