The Essential Guide to Opening Your Cottage This Spring
It’s been a long, cold, and snowy winter. You’re probably looking forward to spring and getting a chance to open up your cottage; you can’t wait to have an opportunity just to relax, get back to nature and enjoy the peace and quiet of cottage life.
The key to enjoying your cottage without running into any issues is to make sure that you take all the steps necessary to open it successfully. Whether you’ve been doing this for years or are still relatively new to cottage life, it’s important to make sure you don’t rush in without checking out the basics.
Here are the main things you need to take care of when opening your cottage:
- Make sure you have your services turned on.
- Pack cleaning supplies.
- Get the water supply hooked up.
- Do a thorough inspection of your cottage and the surrounding area.
- Inspect your dock.
Don’t forget you also need to make sure that you’ve got the right cottage insurance!
Make Sure All of Your Services Are Turned On
You don’t want to arrive at your cottage only to find out that you can’t turn on the lights or don’t have any running water. While a landline isn’t as essential these days, mobile phone service can still be spotty if you’re far from a central area, so it’s important to get your phone service turned on if you’ve temporarily disconnected it for the winter.
You may also have TV or Internet services at the cottage you’ve temporarily disconnected. Make sure you contact your service provider well in advance of your cottage opening date to get them turned back on.
Pack Your Cleaning Supplies
One thing everyone who owns a cottage knows is that spring cleaning is essential. Not only will you have to deal with dust and dirt – you’ll likely also have to deal with dead bugs and maybe even animal droppings. This kind of cleaning isn’t ever fun but at least it’ll be a lot easier if you have all the proper cleaning supplies. So make sure you pack:
- Rags and paper towel
- Dusting cloths
- Disinfecting wipes
- Cleaning gloves
- Garbage bags
- General multi-surface cleaning products
If you don’t keep larger items like buckets, a broom, a dustpan, and a vacuum at your cottage, you’ll also need to bring those as well. Don’t forget to bring an extra set of clothes – you’ll likely want to change after you’re done cleaning!
Get the Water Supply All Hooked Up
If you don’t have water working, it’s going to be fairly hard to get anything done at your cottage. Here are the steps you need to take to make sure your water supply is properly hooked up and working:
- If you draw water from the lake, inspect the lines to make sure no cracks have developed.
- Replace the pump filter.
- Test the cold water first by letting it run from one tap and then test all the others.
- Then, test the hot water.
It pays to have established a relationship with a plumber in town – they may even be willing to come to do all of this for you before you try to open up your cottage.
Do a Thorough Inspection of Your Cottage
Once you get to the cottage, you’ll need to check both the cottage itself and the immediate surrounding areas for any potential issues that have developed over the winter. For example, tree branches may have grown or come loose, so you’ll need to deal with them before they fall down and damage your cottage.
You’ll need to do the following to make sure your cottage is still in good shape:
- Check the roof for any holes or missing shingles.
- Examine the windows to make sure nothing is broken and none of the screens have holes.
- Make sure the eavestrough is clear.
- Check that there are no loose or rotting boards in your steps and deck.
- Look for holes in the foundation and walls and plug them.
If there is only minor, easily fixable damage to your cottage, then you likely won’t want to put in a claim on your cottage insurance. If you arrive to open up your cottage and find significant damage, then call us at Oegema, Nicholson & Associates right away and we’ll tell you what your cottage insurance policy covers.
Inspect Your Dock
While you aren’t likely to go swimming for a bit, it’s essential to make sure that no issues have developed with your dock over the winter. Check to make sure that no boards have rotted or come loose. If you have a ladder that’s permanently attached, check the bolts are still tight.
Depending on the type of dock you have, you may need to get into the cold water and manually fix or adjust it! Be sure to bring water shoes to help protect your feet as well as keep them warm.
How can Oegema, Nicholson & Associates help me with Ottawa cottage insurance?
While cottage insurance covers similar things to your home insurance (e.g. your property, your belongings, and liability), you need to understand some differences between the two types of insurance.
At Oegema, Nicholson & Associates, we can help answer questions about your cottage insurance, such as:
- How long can I leave the property unattended?
- What level of coverage do I need?
- Does my policy cover other people renting or using my cottage?
We’ll use our expertise to make sure you get the right kind of coverage for your cottage.
You’re Ready to Open Up Your Cottage
Now you know all the essential steps to make sure you’re ready to open your cottage. You’ve re-connected your services, packed up your cleaning supplies and are prepared to inspect your cottage and your dock.
For more tips and tricks on reopening your cottage this spring, call Oegema, Nicholson & Associates at 613-519-2030 or contact us here.