Spring is fast approaching. Can you smell the cedar? Yes, it’s almost time to open the cottage for the season. And, as always, CottageCountry.com is here to help you through the process with another handy-dandy cottage to-do list. We hope you’ll find this list useful – whether you’re new at opening or a seasoned pro:
1. Stake out the scene. Find a long weekend – usually May 24 – to go to the cottage and see what winter has wrought and the kind of work that will be involved in opening your cottage. Check the power lines (all the way from the transformer on the utility pole servicing your home) for any downed or damaged wires. Look for fallen trees, cracked windows, pealing paint or calking, sagging roof, loose stairs, planks or rotten wood on the deck or docks, corroding connectors, corroding or twisting planks or supports, protruding nails, etc.. Take note of whom you’ll need to call for repairs. Hopefully there are little to no damages and opening will be a snap.
2. Water. Turn the water on. Check the intake system. Are the pipes in good shape? Any parts loose or corroded? Do filters need replacing? Any water leaks or cracks in the ceiling? Let the water run for a bit to release any chemicals you may have used to preserve the lines over the winter.
3. Hot water. After turning on the water, it’s time turn on the hot water tank. Test the hot water by turning on a hot water faucet anywhere in the cottage. Check the flow, and, again, make sure there are no leaks. While you’re at it, does the furnace filter need replacing?
4. Visitors. Any signs of mice, bugs, spiders, bird nests, etc., in the house? Have they gotten into any stored food? Give the closets, cupboards, chimneys and drawers a good cleaning, and do a thorough food and wire inspection.
5. Propane. Are there any damages to the tank, the main or secondary supply lines? Are all connections securely fastened?
6. Phones and fuses. Time to turn the phones and power back on. Test the power by turning the breakers on one at a time. Be sure to check heaters, light switches, appliances, wires and outlets for any damages first, and, of course, make sure the water heater’s filled to avoid burning the element.
7. Alarms. Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. If the carbon monoxide detector is older than 5 years, replace the whole thing – 10 years for the smoke alarm.
8. Fire extinguishers. Are they charged? If disposable, are they past their expiration date?
9. Clean. Call a cleaning service, or do it yourself: clean leaves and branches from the eaves troughs and beneath the decks; paint, stain or wash the decks; clean the fire pit, windows, furniture, cupboards, drawers, appliances, bathrooms, etc., etc..
10. Set up shop. Time to move in! Unpack dishes, linens, books, paddles, etc., and enjoy the season!