Cottage Winterizing on Lake of Bays, Muskoka. Although many of us are still enjoying the beauty of fall, all too soon we will be experiencing more and more of the winter chill. Whether you have a three-season cottage or a four-season cottage, you will need to make preparations for the winter weather ahead. If you aren’t sure where to start, or how to prepare, we can offer you some practical tips for taking care of your treasured Lake of Bays cottage.
Three Season Cottages
If you have a three-season cottage, you need to make sure that your cottage is ready to be closed before the winter arrives. There are four things that we suggest that you do to make sure your cottage is fully prepped and winterized.
1. Water: Make sure that you have drained all the plumbing, including flexible sprayer lines in sinks and showers, toilets, and outdoor hoses. Don’t forget to get rid of any ice or water in your refrigerator, and defrost your freezer before you unplug it.
2. Pests: Make your cottage is as animal and pest-proof as possible. That means making sure that there are no food crumbs anywhere, including your toaster and barbecue. Remove all food from your cupboards, pantry, and fridge, or store all of your dry goods in sealed containers to keep unwanted pests out.
3. Power: Because it is best to turn off the power in your cottage for the winter, be sure you unplug all of your appliances from electrical outlets. Heat pumps and baseboard heaters also should be turned off. For safety, everything needs to be unplugged before you turn off the main breaker switch.
4. Storage: If your cottage has a shed or garage, we suggest that you prepare your tools for the upcoming cold temperatures. Be sure you have oiled the tools with WD40, and wrap them in rags to keep corrosion at bay.
Insider local tip: stick your garden tools in a bucket with a mixture of sand and vegetable oil to keep them fresh and ready for spring gardening.
Four Season Cottages
Even if you have a fully winterized four-season cottage, there are still some things to do and best practices for preparing your cottage for the winter months.
In order to get the most out of your cottage, and your cottage toys, we suggest that you take some time this month to prepare for the snow, cold temperatures and for longer periods of vacancy. We like to remind cottage owners that a little preventative measure can go a long way and will really pay off when the snow begins to melt and the first signs of spring start to show.
1. Outdoor Spaces: We suggest that you store your outdoor furniture inside the shed, the garage or inside the boathouse. The weight of the accumulated snow and ice can damage your furniture if left out all winter.
2. Cottage Toys: Everyone loves their cottage toys, both kids and adults alike, which is why we suggest that you properly store them before the snow flies. If you can store your canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. inside of a garage or boathouse to protect them from the snow, that is the best option. Your motorboat needs to be lifted out of the water, professionally winterized and stored properly to ensure that your beloved boat is ready for the water in the spring. There are many local boat mechanics and storage facilities around Lake of Bays if you are not sure of who to use, ask us for our list of recommended vendors.
3. The Dock: Depending on what kind of dock you have, it may need to be prepped or moved for winter. If your dock is portable, you should bring it onshore to protect it from the buildup of ice on the lake. If you don’t properly store or secure your dock for winter, it can get damaged in the winter but it could also float away when water levels rise in the early spring.
4. Gardens: We know first hand that the outdoor spaces and garden areas around your cottage are almost just as important as the interiors. Whether you have in-ground gardens or potted plants, we suggest that any plants that can’t handle cold temperatures well should be covered. Insider local tip: You also may want to cover plants that deer are attracted to, like cedars, because otherwise, your lovely plants might be eaten down to the trunk by the time that summer rolls back around.
Last but not least, tune-up your snowblower. You’re going to need it!