Winter Prep: Seasonal Cottage Rentals and the Shut-down

Winter Prep:  Seasonal Cottage Rentals and the Shut-down

Not all cottage rentals are 4 season dwellings.  In fact most are not.  Canadian climate generally does not permit a simple solution to all year maintenance for heat and hydro.  Even solar powered and wind powered homes require maintenance and monitoring all year due to our winters.  In the last few years we have been blessed with milder temperatures and less snow in some parts of the country, where other parts have been slammed with heavy snowfall and terrible storms.  At the end of it all there is always a planned “shut-down” from one season to the next.  Some cottage owners have taken measures to maintain their dwellings all year long.  It is expensive, and it is laborious, but can be done.  There is however, a “prep” time for getting the property and dwelling “winter ready”.  The idea here is that if you are coming to an end with your “cottage rental season”, you might want to consider setting up your calendar as such.  You may wish to plan ahead to avoid any mishaps.  You may also wish to advertise accordingly.  No cottage guest wishes to anticipate something for their excursion only to be hugely disappointed.
It varies from one dwelling to the next, but there are some basic requirements that most follow:
1.     Patio and outdoor furniture is generally put away or covered up.  As are any outdoor summer toys used in the water.  A no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many guests expect something to sit on outside in the fall months.
2.    Leaves and the raking….so much it takes several days to clean it all up and you’re still cleaning up by the spring time.
3.    Winter wood stock is usually replenished and stocked (for those who have fireplaces or campfires all year long.
4.    Seasonal limits?  Well then it’s time to do that yucky thing that no one likes…yup empty the plumbing, and I mean ALL the plumbing, toilet too.  Drain the lines and turn off all the taps.  Not a pleasant aroma, but well??? What can you do? 
5.    Put up the storm windows if required.  Some seasonal require storm windows, especially in Georgian Bay and further northern locations.  The winds and the ice storms can be very treacherous.  Storm windows are actually external shutters designed to withstand gale wind force.  You see them in the southern US as well during hurricane seasons.
6.    Shutting down the electrical so you are not paying for nothing.  It’s also good for electronics in general to give them time to warm up at a gradual pace.
7.    Lock it all up….last thing you want is theft or squatters.  I know it sounds strange, but it’s not really that strange.  There are transient persons who will “borrow” your seasonal dwelling in times of desperation.  Don’t leave it to chance, lock everything up safely.
8.    Keep a shovel and axe handy.  In the event you need to do a roof check or there’s been a power outage and you need to make a trip up to “check on things”, it’s a good idea to have a shovel handy in the event you need to clear a path in the snow or cut away some fallen branches.
Seasonal dwellings, like any home have their own required set of winter prep steps.  It’s always best to enlist a neighbour’s aid if you are new to the seasonal rental.  Most will be more than happy to keep you updated.  Enjoy the seasonal rental, but as I always say, make a list and check it twice.

Author: SweetMari
December 1, 2012

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