Install the right heating system
If you decide to use your cottage over the colder months, how you plan to heat it should be top of mind. You’ll need to install an appropriate heat source, which may vary by location and the structure of your cottage. It’s best to seek the advice of a local professional who will know what type of system will best suit your property.
Add proper insulation
Properly insulating your cottage is a fundamental steppingstone to the creation of your all-season escape. If you cut corners, your cottage may be more difficult to heat and may experience ventilation and moisture control issues that could result in mould and rot down the road. A well-insulated cottage will also benefit you year-round by keeping your space cooler in the summer and conserving warmth during winter. Just be sure that, while installing the insulation, you seal off any openings or cracks that may let rodents and other pests inside.
Seal your windows and doors
Winter can also pose some challenges for your doors and windows – especially if they’re older. Most cottages will benefit from energy efficient double-pane windows and doors that can be sealed tight against the winter weather. If this isn’t in your budget, be sure to fill all visible holes and cracks with caulking and apply weather stripping around the door frames.
Upgrade your utilities
Harsh winter conditions can strain your electrical and plumbing systems and result in tripping breakers, frozen pipes, and more. If you’re not well-versed in these trades, you may want to hire a licensed electrician or plumber with experience winterizing local cottages. They’ll know how to properly update your electrical, heat and plumbing, so you can be sure your water supply, septic system, and electrical panel can meet the added demand of all-season living.
Update your insurance coverage
Winterizing your cottage can increase the potential cost to repair or replace it, so it’s important that you let your insurance company know about your renos so we can update your coverage limits accordingly. If you’re planning on using it as a rental property from time to time, too, you’ll also need to let us know so we can determine if you need specific coverage to stay properly protected.
Sharing details about recent renos can also impact your insurance premium. To learn more, check out this article on why it’s important to keep your insurer in the loop.
Ensure you have access to essential services
Before you commit to staying at your cottage over the winter, be sure you have a plan for essential services like garbage pickup and snow removal. If the municipality will not collect garbage or clear the roads on your street through the winter months, you’ll need a backup plan to ensure you can dispose of your trash and travel to and from town safely to access food and other supplies.
Consider other ways to keep your cottage safe while you’re away
If you plan on enjoying your cottage during all four seasons but won’t be staying there 24/7, it’s important to add additional security measures to keep it safe in your absence. A home security and 24/7 monitoring service, like the AlertTM program, can notify you if smoke, water or signs of a break-in are detected so you can act quickly and prevent further damage. Plus, depending on the type of system you install, you may even be eligible to save on your insurance premium.
Get ready to enjoy your four-season escape
Once you’ve upgraded your heating system, insulation, utilities and security system, you’re well on your way to enjoying year-round living at your cottage. Just be sure to give us a call to determine if you need to increase your policy limits or add any of our optional coverages so you can enjoy year-round peace of mind, too. We’re always here to help.
AlertTM is a trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Group Inc., used under licence.
The Alert program is available in Canada only: in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
Some cities, towns, or municipalities require you to register or to obtain a permit or authorization certificate before you install a home security system. Please ensure you comply with all applicable requirements.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.