September has arrived and, while we're still enjoying warm, sunny days, the end of summer is inevitable and it will soon be time to close up the cottage for the frosty winter season. There are also a number of tasks that recreational property owners need to tackle in order to protect their cottage from the elements, wildlife and would-be thieves.
• Before turning off the electricity, go room to room to turn off and unplug all electrical devices.
• Drain the plumbing system to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
• Drain the water tank. Remember to turn off the power supply to the water heater before draining to avoid damage to the heating element.
• Leave the refrigerator door open slightly to avoid nasty smells come springtime. Be sure to remove all food from the cottage.
• Lock windows or board them and safely secure all entry points. Pay close attention to patio doors (use a security bar) and beef up your deadbolt and entry doors if they haven't been replaced in decades.
• Remove all valuable possessions from your cottage. Prepare for the worst - do not keep jewelry, pricey electronics, family heirlooms or expensive artwork in your cottage during the off-season.
• Turn to any neighbours who remain up north all year long and ask them to keep an eye on your property and do a closer inspection every so often.
• Store boats, jet skis, paddle boats and any other recreational 'toys' in a secure, locked building. Add a couple motion-activated lights, which might help scare off unwanted visitors.
• A security system is an excellent deterrent to would-be thieves. Do some research to find out if there is a local monitoring station that covers your area.
By taking a few easy steps at the end of the season, you can ensure that your cottage will be just as you left it when you return next summer!