14 Tips for Efficiently Closing Your Summer Home for the Winter

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RISMEDIA, October 18, 2010–After a lovely summer in your cabin or cottage comes the ugly job of closing up for the winter. Use this checklist to make sure opening up in the spring doesn’t hold any bad surprises.

Inside tips:

  • Shut the water off and drain the plumbing system.
  • Turn off the power at the main switch.
  • Remove all food. This includes canned goods, which might freeze and burst, and plastic containers. Plastic doesn’t stop bears or rodents.
  • Defrost the refrigerator-freezer and unplug it. Leave doors open or put an open box of baking soda inside.
  • Place some proven anti-mildew products around the cabin.
  • Close and lock all windows. Close all drapes or blinds, or hang blankets over windows. Remove and store screens if possible.

Outside tips:

  • Till your garden and add fertilizer or compost.
  • Mow your lawn. Apply natural fall fertilizer or lime. Trim branches that touch the cottage. Keep woodpiles off the ground and at least 30 feet from the cottage.
  • Put gas stabilizer in your gas cans and vehicle gas tanks. Start engines and motors to run the stabilizer through the system. Drain water from outboard motors. Store expensive property in a controlled storage area, if possible.
  • In your shed, pick up tools and remove debris. 
  • Inspect the cabin roof. Replace missing or broken shingles. Check any wire mesh screens and the caulking around the chimney flashing. (Don’t use foam caulking; it won’t stop rodents).
  • Check the dryer vent—the most common rodent entry point. Make sure it’s fully caulked (but not with foam) and has a wire mesh screen.
  • Ask neighbors to watch your place. Make sure they have your phone number and e-mail address.

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