The crisp breezes of autumn are in the air. The summer months have flown by.
It seems like just yesterday you were opening the camp for the summer.
A couple of months ago, the family eagerly awaited for Friday afternoon to head off to camp for the weekend.
These days, family activities are centered around school activities, football games and evenings at home.
It is now time to get the family camp ready for the harsh winter months ahead.
The following are some tips to help you as you go through this yearly winterizing ritual:
- Inspect your roof. Roof leaks make up the majority of water-damage claims. Replace any missing or broken shingles.
- Cover your windows to deter thieves. Close all the window blinds and curtains. For any windows that are without blinds or curtains, consider using a bed sheet. Take valuables home with you.
- Shut off and drain plumbing. Lingering water can freeze in the pipes over the winter, which could cause them to burst. Add antifreeze to hot water heating systems, toilets, washing machines and sink traps.
- Trim overhanging and dead branches. Weight from snow can cause branches to snap, which may result in damage to your cottage.
- Pack up all food, including canned goods. Dry food and canned goods can still attract animals if left behind over the winter months. To prevent animals from making a home while you are away, throw a few mothballs around and remove all food from the camp.
- Defrost the refrigerator. Leave the door open a little to prevent mildew from growing. An open box of baking soda placed inside the fridge will also help neutralize odors.
- Remove fire hazards. Toss or take with you any loose papers, newspapers, old rags and chemicals. Turn off all utilities and unplug all appliances.
- Block off the flues, stovepipes and chimneys. Make sure you have closed the flue on your stove. Chimneys from fireplaces or woodstoves should be professionally checked to ensure they don't have hazardous amounts of creosote accumulation. Also, sealing flues, stovepipes and chimneys with a metal cap should keep the birds out.
- Clean out eaves troughs. Make sure they are clear of leaf buildup and saplings, which can obstruct drainage when the snow melts in the spring.
- Ensure gas tanks are scheduled for automatic fill and are accessible during periods of snowfall.
- Visit the dwelling personally during or after periods of extreme cold or suspected power outage.
- Install motion sensors to your exterior lights.
- Hire a professional contractor to winterize for you.
- Say goodbye. Have one last walk-through before you leave and check for anything left outside that should be stored for the winter. Ensure sheds, garages, windows and doors are properly locked. And finally, if possible, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your place with regular security checks.