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Opening Your Cottage for the First Time? We Can Help With That!

opening cottage mist

While your thermometer may not reflect this just yet, we are finally closing in on the end of another long, cold, snowy, rainy winter season.

It feels good to think about spring's imminent arrival!

As Ontario's urban areas become increasingly congested, more Canadians are turning their eyes toward an investment in seasonal housing.

According to Canadian Real Estate magazine, a full three-quarters of seasonal homeowners are buying a cottage for now and later. Now, they want to enjoy cottage life with their kids. Later, they want to enjoy cottage life during their retirement years.

In this post, we share our favorite spring cottage-opening tips for first-timers and seasoned cottage owners alike. If you need assistance with getting your cottage in ship-shape condition for spring's arrival, give us a ring: we're happy to help!

First Things First: Retracing Your Steps

If you are an established cottage owner, you have likely developed a regular routine regarding cottage closings and openings. But if you are new, this may be your very first cottage opening—exciting!

The first and most important step is to remember what you did and didn't do when you closed down your cottage for the winter season.

For example, some cottage owners will turn off the main power source, while others will leave that on to power outside lighting and security and just turn off individual elements instead.

For help jogging your memory, we've created a handy Cottage Closing Checklist you can refer to and use to make notes about what to do when you arrive to re-open your cottage.

What to Do Before You Head for Your Cottage

If you chose to disconnect any of your regular services for the winter season, you will want to call your providers to have these services reconnected before you arrive to re-open your cottage:

  • Electricity
  • Propane
  • Water
  • Phone/internet/television

You will also probably want to assemble some tools and supplies for the re-opening (if you don't already have these at the cottage):

  • Copies of your insurance documents and claim phone numbers (just in case)
  • A ladder and tarp
  • Basic tools (hammer, wrench, screwdrivers, etc.)
  • Broom, dustpan, cleaning supplies, and paper towels
  • Batteries (to change out the smoke alarm and other devices)
  • Air filters as needed
  • Snacks for the road and when you arrive
  • The cottage keys!

The Cottage Pre-Opening Walk-About

When you arrive to re-open your cottage, first do an exterior walk-about, paying special attention to any of these (or similar) issues:

  • Fallen tree limbs and debris
  • Hanging power lines or phone lines
  • Cracked windows or missing/torn screens
  • Loose roof shingles or siding
  • Visible holes in roofing or elsewhere
  • Loose boards in the porch or deck
  • Areas of soggy ground or standing water
  • Evidence of wildlife, rodents, or insect pests
  • Missing components to secure your dock
  • Any strange or unpleasant odour

Now you can do the interior walk-about, paying special attention to any of these (or similar) issues:

  • Damp or discolored patches on the ceiling
  • Soggy areas of carpet or pooled water on flooring
  • Evidence of wildlife, rodents, or insect pests
  • Any strange or unpleasant odour

Make notes about anything you will need to return to fix or investigate further later.

Restoring Your Water Supply

Even experienced cottage owners sometimes find it challenging to go through the steps of reconnecting the water pipes, cleaning, and then priming (filling) the water pump, replacing the filter, filling up the hot water tank (as applicable), and restoring water to the cottage.

This is one of the hardest tasks for cottage owners, especially if you have to haul the water to prime the pump by hand. And doing a visual inspection of your water lines, pump, and whole system can be confusing if you're not sure what warning signs to look for!

Another common issue is water pipes that leak or have frozen and cracked/burst during the winter.

Sometimes watching a professional go through the steps of restoring water to your cabin is just what you need to learn how to do this yourself in future years.

As well, if you have noticed signs that there may be a water leak or a pipe has burst, this is a good time to call in the pros.

We are happy to help with restoring water to your cottage and handling well and septic system inspection and cleaning chores.

NOTE: We always recommend that you consider having your well and septic cleaned at the start of the new spring/summer season, for your own safety.

Restoring Power to Your Cottage

Before you restore power to your cottage, first take a look at the central electrical panel and tighten all the fuses. If you see any tripped breakers (in the case that you left the central power on), restore those as well.

Take a look at any exterior and interior power cables or connections to be sure nothing has been damaged.

Uncover the chimney and open the flue, then inspect for any signs of wildlife if you plan to use the fireplace.

If all looks operational, restore power to the central electrical panel, and then power up each individual appliance and test that everything is working as it should.

Here, please do not attempt DIY electrical repairs, for your own safety!

Contact Gravenhurst Plumbing

Give us a call at 705-687-3402 or fill out our online form to schedule your service appointment. We are happy to do a full inspection and perform any maintenance or repairs you need to be sure you can re-open your cottage safely. We look forward to hearing from you!

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