It’s an incredible feeling to own a getaway home such as a cottage, but seasonal changes can cause significant damage to your second home.
If you wish to spend your winter season in the cottage, you must take vital measures to prevent the seasonal damage to keep yourself and your family cozy during power outages in the winter.
Tips for Winterizing Your Cottage
Long duration of power outages is expected during snowy winter days, keeping you from using heaters and other appliances to keep yourself warm. Thus, it is wise to winterize your cottage before it starts freezing.
Moreover, many people go away during winters and wish to insulate their cottage. Since every cottage has some unique features, we have some general tips vital to winterizing every home.
Check Water Supply & Drainage System
The most important part of winterizing your cottage is checking your water supply and drainage system. Flooding can destroy your property and cause you a significant amount of repairing money if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
You must pump out the septic tank to avoid leakage. If you notice slow sink drainage or a weak toilet flush, you must have the septic tank pumped.
Also, thoroughly check the tank for leaks, pooling water, foul odor, or moss growth. These are indicators that the septic tank is full.
Clean Your Eavestroughs
Everyone loves the sight of icicles hanging off their cottage’s roof. But if you are thinking about winterizing a cottage, you must look into cleaning your eavestroughs.
Icicles hanging off your roof indicate water leakage or blockage. You must check your roof’s drainage system as icicles indicate that your eavestroughs have a blockage that prevents water flow.
To prevent water blockage and ice formation, you must remove all the twigs and leaves from the eavestroughs. Checking the eavestroughs is vital in winterizing a cottage, as ice formation and blockage can damage the roof and cost you a fortune to get it repaired.
Once you rake the leaves and twigs, you must have your gutters cleaned. Make sure that you add gutter guards as well to avoid blockage.
Flush the Water Heater Properly
Sediment and particles collect at the bottom of the water heater. This hinders the heater’s efficiency and costs you more money.
In addition, if you don’t flush out the water heater and it has poor efficiency, you may have to shower from freezing water in the middle of the winter season.
The water heaters come with drain valves that flush the accumulated particles and sediments. You must drain the water heater to clear out the sediments. This will increase your water heater’s efficiency as well.
Inspect the Cottage’s Roof
Flooding and ice damming are nightmares for every cottage owner. When melted snow has frozen on the roof, water accumulates on top of it.
This water starts seeping into your cottage through the roof. Therefore you must inspect the roof of your cottage and take preventive measures to avoid snow and water buildup.
You can also have a professional thoroughly look into your roof for exterior and interior roof inspection. If you want to inspect your roof by yourself, look for structural damage, standing water, loose shingles, and chimney cracks.
Ensure that your cottage does not have drywall cracks or water stains on the interior roof.
If you notice mold on the ceiling or walls, it’s a clear indication of sagging and water leakage. But, again, you must seek professional help to solve these issues.
Most home insurance plans cover ceiling and roof damage that results from leaks or snowmelt. But if your cottage insurance policy isn’t comprehensive, you must look for wear and tear and fix it the right way to avoid huge repair costs.
Use Draft Guards
Sometimes when you walk around your cottage in bare feet, you’ll experience a whiff of air on your toes.
This indicates that you have a draft. Loose seals and cracks on your doors cause colder air to enter your cottage.
One simple and effective way to prevent this is to use draft guards. You can keep draft guards under doors and windows to prevent cold air from blowing inside your cottage and prevent warm air from escaping.
If you don’t want to purchase draft guards, you can use a temporary fix by simply rolling up towels and placing them under the doors.
Replace Your Furnace Filters
Replacing the furnace filters is one of the vital steps in winterizing a cottage. The filter helps to remove pet dander, mold spores, and soot, but they can easily get clogged. If your furnace filter gets clogged due to dust particles, it won’t warm your cottage properly.
Moreover, it will force your furnace to work more to heat the cottage, increasing the heating cost by 15%. A cost-effective and straightforward solution is to replace the filters.
Insulate the Attic
When you winterize your cottage, you must insulate the attic to avoid ice damming. An insulated attic floor ensures that the living areas of your cottage stay warm.
Properly examine the attic and look for leaks. Moreover, properly insulating the attic will save you from hefty heating bills during the winter.
Keep Rodents Out
According to the National Pest Management Association, rodents get into 21 million US homes every winter.
To keep the rodents out, you must seal all the holes and weatherstrip around windows and doors. This will also minimize entry points for insects.
You must also move the outdoor furniture into the house to prevent rodents from forming a nest. Also, remove the food from the pantry if you’re vacating the place.
You can take the following measures to keep insects and rodents out.
- Seal all the cracks and holes
- Inspect the wires and insulation for rodent infestation
- Store all the boxes and furniture away to keep rodents from residing in them
- Keep the branches and shrubs trimmed
- Store firewood away
- Contact a pest professional if you suspect a rodent infestation.
Empty Your Water Supply Pipes
You must prevent flooding from all the interior sources if you wish to properly winterize a cottage. First, you must shut off the main water supply to the cottage.
The main water supply is usually located in the cottage’s basement. It features a lever, so it’s easier to shut off the water supply.
Next, you must turn on the interior taps. If you’re going to leave the cottage vacant after winterizing it, you must leave the faucets open after shutting off the main water supply.
Ensure that you flush the toilets and take off the water tank’s lid. Hold the flush down until all the water is flushed.
You must also drain one cup of antifreeze into the drains to prevent the water from freezing. In addition to this, you must drain all the appliances. Finally, make sure you disconnect the appliances from the power supply.
You can also use pipe wrap over all the exposed water supply lines. This will prevent the cold from affecting the pipes. Besides this, you must also empty the filters under the sink and mechanical room to further winterize the cottage.
Adjust Your Thermostat
If your house is going to be vacant, you must adjust the thermostat. In summers, people ideally stick to 72 degrees inside the house, while an ideal thermostat temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
However, the interior of your cottage shouldn’t get too cold when the exterior temperature starts dropping.
Move Potted Plants Elsewhere
If your cottage has outdoor potted plants, you must move them away or have a friend check up on them during the colder months. However, if you wish to have your houseplants survive, you need to take them with you.
You can have someone water them, but potted house plants rarely survive the cold. Thus you must give them away or take them with you if you’re properly winterizing your cottage.
It is incredible to own a cottage, but maintenance can cost you a fortune after winter. However, if you wish to use your cottage during the colder season, you can take some measures to keep it warm.
However, many people winterize a cottage and seal it if they go away for the winter. These tips and tricks will help you properly seal and insulate the cottage to avoid property damage.
Learning to winterize a cottage will save you time, money, and repair headaches. Still, you can also look into property maintenance plans for your cottage to avoid paying heft maintenance bills after every season.