Summer is here, and for many Canadians, that means it’s time to open up the cottage for the season. However, in our excitement about the warm weather and opportunity to ‘get away from it all,’ it’s easy to forget that this home-away-from-home needs regular maintenance and upkeep. To make sure your vacation time is as relaxing as possible, we’ve put together some tips to make sure small problems don’t turn in to significant, and potentially costly, issues.

• When you arrive, do a walk around of the cottage to look for any damage from the winter months.
• Inspect the roof for loose or missing shingles, faulty flashing and gaping holes.
• Trim back any trees overhanging the cottage and clean the eavestroughs.
• Check and replace any damaged caulking and weather stripping.
• Inspect for any animal-related damage – look for things like droppings, signs of chewing or small piles of sawdust.
• Reconnect any water pipes. Be sure to remember to turn off the water to the main valve when leaving for winter or between visits.
• Replace batteries and test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as flashlights or any other emergency lighting.
• Check and replace any chewed or frayed electrical wires.
• Restock your first aid kit.
• Install automatic timers or smart home technology for indoor and outdoor lights.
• Document belongings on the premises with a camera or simple video.
• Consider installing water mitigation devices, such as battery powered sump pumps, automatic shut-off valves, and centrally monitored water and temperature sensors.
• Regularly check and maintain your septic system.
• Review your insurance coverage and make sure everything is up to date. Most home insurance policies require a property to be entered and checked every 48 hours, so you may need to hire a property manager or arrange for someone to check on your cottage regularly if it is unoccupied for more than a couple days.

A few minutes at the beginning of your trip to the cottage to ensure everything is in good shape can save you time, money and headaches later. If you have any questions about how to best maintain your property or what your policy covers, talk to one of our experienced brokers today.