Updated: Nov 12, 2022
With Winter fast approaching many Ontario residents are looking to close their cottages for the Winter months. As a home inspector it is not uncommon for me to find previous damage caused by the improper closing of a cottage. The main causes of damage are due to burst water pipes or damage caused by mice. Check out this blog to learn more.
1. Inspect the Roof And Flashing
A leaking roof can cause severe damage but a prolonged leaking roof is even worse. From the top of a ladder without getting on top of the roof check for missing or damaged shingles. Also check the flashing and gutters. If gutters are clogged be sure to clean them out.
2. Drain The Water System
Not draining the water properly will result in burst pipes. This will lead to expensive repairs. Disconnect the water pump and water heater according to the manufacturers instructions. Open all the taps and drain any remaining water in the pipes. Pour a potable antifreeze down all the drains, this will ensure any leftover water will not freeze.
3. Seal Up Your Cottage From Mice Entering
This is a very hard task. According to Terminix a mouse can fit through a hole the size of 1/4 of an inch (the width of a pencil). Inspect all areas of the cottage for holes mice may enter through and insert steel wool
It's inevitable that some mice will slip through the cracks so place mouse traps in each room(be sure there are no pets in the cottage at this time)
Mice can chew electric wiring leading to fires, destroy insulation in ceilings and walls and also spread the hantavirus disease. Spread some moth balls around and under the crawlspace to discourage rodents.
4. Pump Out The Septic System
If your cottage is service by a septic system it is a good idea to have it pumped out if above half full. If under half full add some septic smart bacteria to the tank.
5. Clean Out Cupboards and Fridge
Empty the fridge and defrost it. Clean out all the food and wipe cupboards clean of crumbs. Mice are most attracted to food.
If possible leave some heat on in your cottage during the winter months. Sub zero temperatures can lead to drywall cracking and premature paint deterioration . Wrap all the mattresses and pillows with plastic. Mice like to nest in soft material.
For cottage closing inspections please contact us.