Why you need to winterize your cottage

As winter descends upon us, there is the little matter of getting your cottage winterize ready in order to withstand the cold temperatures ahead.

Whether you intend on using it during the winter months or locking it down until the warmer weather returns, you need to know how to properly winterize your cottage, as there are some things you should do to reduce your risk of property damage.

According to Matt Hands, the Director of Insurance at Ratehub.ca, Matt Hands, here are a number of tips for Canadians can adopt to winterize one’s cottage.

Check your sceptic tank. It’s a good idea to have your septic tank pumped out every three years to help extend its life. Bad smells, pooling water, or lush green grass above the tank are all signs the septic tank is full. If you notice slow drainage from your sink or washing machine or a weak flush from your toilet, it’s a sign to have your septic tank pumped.

Empty your water supply lines. Flood prevention is very important these days with the rise in water damage claims. Doing things like shutting off the main water supply, flushing toilets and draining appliances will ensure that there is no lingering water supply that could potentially freeze in your pipes over the winter months.

What about sump pumps? A sump pump pit gathers water from around your cottage or home’s foundation through weeping tile and ‘pumps’ it away to prevent flooding. Some ways you can protect this installment should you have one include (not limited to):

  • Detach your drainage hose until the warm weather returns
  • Have a backup drainage hose
  • Clean your sump pit of debris or built up gunk, which could lead to failure of blockage of the system
  • Test your pumps by simply pouring water into the pit
  • Keep the heat on in your basement, set the thermostat at 10 degrees celsius
  • Consider installing window well covers to prevent excess rain getting in

Inspect your roof. Snow build up can lead to ice damming and flooding into your cottage. Ice damming is when melted snow on your roof freezes and any new water sits and potentially leaks into your cottage. It’s best to hire a professional to inspect the roof as climbing is more risky.

Other to do’s that should be on your list include stacking canoes and kayaks and securing them with lock and chain to prevent burglaries, cleaning the BBQ and disconnecting it from the propane tank and run the lawnmower or weed whacker until the fuel runs out.

But most importantly, review your insurance policy as most primary home insurance policies cover “all perils” (i.e. all risks), but vacation property insurance is usually only insured as a “named perils”, meaning specified risks that are listed and covered. It’s really important that you review and understand the coverage you have to make sure you’re fully covered.

For any questions about insuring your cottage on your homeowners policy, contact Pacific Insurance at 416-494-1268 and speak with one of our seasoned insurance professionals.