Opening Your Muskoka Cottage This Weekend? 10 Mistakes To Avoid!
It’s finally here! And frankly, we might even be more excited than our kids are about it…
Bring on the family canoe trips, late-night bonfires, afternoon fishing trips and long hikes. In the rugged landscapes of Muskoka, the Kawarthas and Parry Sound, summer activities are endless!
The towering pines, thick forests and beautiful freshwater of Muskoka Lakes are like none other in Canada. And if you own a cottage on one of these lakes, you know that familiar ‘call of the wild’ and just can’t stay away!
Have you opened your Muskoka Cottage yet? May is the perfect time to get everything back up and running.
But don’t rush it! We know you're eager to get back out on the water, but forgetting even one crucial step could ruin that first visit!
Below are 10 common mistakes cottage owners find when opening their cottage in the spring.
10 Rookie Mistakes Found When Opening Your Muskoka Cottage
Opening weekend for your Muskoka Cottage can be full of surprises! Both good ones and bad ones. So be sure to prepare yourself before you go.
We recommend bringing a positive mindset, lots of tools, some patience and a nice cold beverage to kickstart the weekend.
Oh! And to read this article all the way through so you don’t make any of the same mistakes...
Ready? First up!
1. You left your electricity on all winter long.
This one is a doozy. If you unintentionally left your electricity on all winter long, there’s bound to be some extensive damage. Plus some unnecessary electrical bills.
During a Fall Cottage Closing, one of the main steps you need to take is turning off ALL electricity. This means going room by room, unplugging EACH of your devices, flipping the main breaker off, draining your hot water tank etc.
Powering down protects your cottage, appliances and wallet from unnecessary damage and expenses.
But if you forgot to turn off your electricity and left some large appliances plugged in? You could be in for some unfortunate cleanup, repairs and replacements.
2. You didn’t pack a chainsaw - it might be your only way in!
If you own a cottage in the Muskokas, Kawarthas or around Parry Sound, you know how beautiful the landscape can be! But you also know how dangerous, destructive and disruptive it can be.
For some, driving to the cottage might be easy. For others, it might be more difficult.
Have you ever arrived at the entrance of your property only to discover the wreckage that a few snowstorms, lightning strikes and strong winds can cause?
If you didn’t pack a chainsaw, navigating that jungle of fallen trees, strewn branches and debris takes hours!
3. You didn’t pack drinking water in case your plumbing wasn’t accessible.
You can never be too prepared when headed into the backcountry. And the number one item in your emergency kit should always be a case of water.
We’ve heard way too many horror stories of cottage owners getting to the lake and having no drinking water, or any water, available.
So save yourself a trip into town, pack a case of water and ensure your plumbing team is on call.
4. You left valuable items in reach of rising water levels.
Water rises in the spring - cottagers know this all too well. But what they commonly forget is just how high this water can get!
If you left any valuables within reach of spring's rising water levels, they could be severely damaged or even ruined.
You can check the current water levels of Muskoka Lakes HERE.
5. You didn’t turn your water off before you left - all your pipes froze!
Did you forget to turn off your main water supply and drain all your pipes before you left in the fall? If so, you probably have some burst pipes on your hands.
In the future, you have two options:
- Turn off your water supply before you go.
- If you are winterizing your cottage, invest in frozen pipe protection.
6. You didn’t wait for the hot water tank to fill up before flipping the breaker switch.
We promise you’re not the only one running to your local Rona or Home Hardware for a replacement hot water tank element.
Not letting your hot water tank fill up BEFORE flipping the breaker switch is the rookie mistake of all rookie mistakes! This lack of water causes your water heater’s element to overheat and burn out - bringing many a cottager to their local hardware store.
Here’s what you can do:
a) Fix this problem yourself.
b) Book a repair visit with your local Gravenhurst Plumber.
c) Consider upgrading to a tankless hot water heater instead!
7. You didn’t winterize your dock.
Winterizing your dock is CRUCIAL. It protects the structure itself and any visitors you might have on the lake throughout the winter months - like snowmobilers!
You can leave your dock in the water, but only if you:
- Protect it from the wind.
- Make sure it isn’t too close to rocks.
- Loosen the anchor chains so the dock can rise with the spring water levels.
- Leave about two feet of room on all sides so it can move around when the ice expands in the winter.
- Raise/remove ramp legs.
- Secure your doc with a safety chain.
- Mark your dock so snowmobilers can see it from a distance!
8. You forgot your tool kit.
Winter can wreak havoc on your cottage, so you’ll want to pack your tool kit on that first trip!
Pro Tip: Upon your arrival, get your notepad out and start making a list right away - before the issues worsen and ruin your summer plans!
Check your cottage for:
- Cracks or seal damage in your windows.
- Loose boards in your siding.
- Raised nails in your dock.
- Damage to your shingles.
- Water leaks in your ceiling etc.
9. You didn’t schedule your Cottage HVAC Maintenance Visit.
Booking a spring HVAC maintenance ensures that you don’t spend your summer overheating in your cottage with a broken air conditioning unit.
During your HVAC maintenance visit, our Gravenhurst team will:
- Inspect all your air conditioner equipment for necessary repairs/replacements.
- Clean all your indoor and outdoor HVAC components.
- Replace your HVAC filters.
- Inspect power cords and outlets (for water damage or rodent damage).
10. Your well and septic systems were not prepped.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you clean and prime your well and septic systems for the season ahead!
We can service:
- Water pumping systems from well or lakes.
- Water treatment systems
- Sump Pumps
- Sewage Pumps
- Jet Pumps
- Submersible lake or well pumps etc.
We can also install a Water Security System so you can protect your cottage from potential water damage even when you’re not there! Our systems offer 24/7 monitoring and automatic response.
P.S. If you don’t own a septic system, you’ll want to clean and prep your outhouse for the season ahead. This could save you from a stinky and time-consuming mess later on…
Gravenhurst Plumbing, Heating and Electric is Your #1 Muskoka Cottage Opening Company!
Overwhelmed by the list of cottage opening do’s and don’ts? You don’t have to be! Book a professional Muskoka Cottage Opening with our Gravenhurst team! We’ll get the job done fast and properly so you can get to vacationing.