Tips for Closing up Your Seasonal Home for Winter

By Ken • October 16th, 2015
Tips for Closing up Your Seasonal Home for Winter

Tips for Closing up Your Seasonal Home for Winter

It’s time to close up the cabin for winter, but before you leave for the season, it’s important that you protect your property from water and wind damage, vandalism, structural damage and even those pesky critters who like to come in for the winter.

You can easily avoid these pitfalls and make re-opening your home in the spring easier if you make a check list, and follow it every time you open and close your seasonal home. Taking the time at the end of the cottage season could save you unnecessary grief in the spring.

To Protect against water damage

  • Drain the pluming and turn off the water so the pipes don’t freeze.
  • Shut off the main water valve and any water supply valves on toilets, dishwasher or washing machine.
  • If you have a sump pump, check it to make sure it is working.


The more difficult you make your cabin for thieves to access, the more likely it is they will move on to someplace else. Here are a few hints to help secure your property.

  • If you have any neighbors who stay there year-round, ask them to watch your home.
  • Dead bolts take more time for a thief and may cause them to move on as they don’t want to be caught.
  • Install motion activated lights.
  • Trim shrubs, clearing away any areas that might be a good hiding area for a thief.
  • Install a security system.
  • Install wire mesh over windows that are hidden from view which are a favorite access point for thieves.

Electrical System

If you choose to shut off electricity in the off-season by throwing the main switch at the fuse box make sure you:

  • Turn off your water heater.
  • Turn off electrical room heaters.
  • Turn off all major appliances

If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should:

  • Turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel
  • Turn off the power supply to any space heaters. Otherwise they may turn on during cold weather

Keep the critters out

  • Make sure that there is no food left in the home.
  • Put wire mesh screens over the chimney and any outside vents.
  • Tightly close your fireplace damper.
  • Cover the windows with plywood or thin sheet metal.
  • Block off the flues and stove pipes. Make sure you have closed the flue on your stove.
  • Throw a few mothballs around.


  • Secure outside furniture and boats.
  • Make sure sheds, garages and out buildings are locked and secure.
  • Inspect your roof. Roof leaks cause the majority of water-damage.
  • Replace any missing or broken shingles
  • Clean the BBQ and disconnect it from the propane tank. Store them in a protected place.
  • Clean out eavestroughs. Make sure they are clear of leaf buildup and saplings.
  • Trim overhanging and dead branches. Weight from snow can cause branches to snap, which may result in damage to your cottage.
  • Run lawnmower and other gas lawn equipment until all the fuel is drained.


  • Thoroughly clean out the refrigerator and unplug it. If you don’t want mildew ravaging your appliances in the spring, defrost the fridge and leave the door open. Clean the cabinets and cupboards.
  • Clean Living areas and bedrooms. Store away bed spreads and linens.
  •  Remove fire hazards. Remove all papers, newspapers, old rags, and chemicals.

Take one last look around before you leave and make sure you’ve completed your check list and perhaps make a list of repairs or improvements you might want to make next spring.

From lakefront to riverfront, bordering on state land or in the city, find what you are looking for here. If you would like to know more about property listings in Northern Michigan, call Ken Carlson at 989.240.0970 for more information today. You can also contact us online by clicking here.

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