May 04, 2022
A few weeks before opening make sure all of your utilities such as phone, internet, hydro and heat have been turned on. It’s also a smart time to call your insurance company to confirm the insurance on your cottage, boat and trailer is active.
TIP: Before arriving it’s a good idea to look online to check for any changes to your municipality’s land fill or transfer station hours and whether any burn bans are in effect.
Upon arrival do a thorough walk around the cottage and property to assess the condition and look for any wear and tear, damage or anything that looks out of place.
Be sure to check for:
TIP: If you arrive to discover that someone has broken into your cottage, call the police immediately but do not go into your cottage. By entering the crime scene you may be inadvertently destroying important evidence.
Once you’ve completed the exterior it’s time to take the inspection indoors. Walk around inside the cottage and look for any signs of water leaks, especially on the ceiling, mold or mildew and rodent droppings or nests.
TIP: If you find animal droppings be sure to spray down those areas to be cleaned with a water/bleach solution before sweeping it up.
It’s extremely important to pay attention to the order in which you turn on the water and hot water tank. One of the biggest mistakes that cottagers can make is to walk into the cottage, go directly to the breaker panel and turn on the power to everything. Why? If you turn on the breakers to everything it includes the power going to your hot water tank and doing this in the wrong order will risk the chance of burning out your hot water tank element.
TIP: Do not turn on the power to the hot water tank until you have got your water up and running. Otherwise you risk burning out the element.
Most likely you'll be spending a few hours on the opening day raking up leaves, picking up sticks and cleaning up the property. If you do intend to use any of your lawn equipment be cautious using any gas in Jerry cans that have been left on the property over the winter. It’s good practice to bring fresh fuel and fuel stabilizer with you to open the cottage for equipment like lawn mowers and generators.
Tip: small pieces of hardware cloth (wire mesh) are always handy to have on hand should you find holes from chewing intruders as a temporary fix and/or spray foam.
Opening the cottage is an extremely exciting time as you gear up for making memories at the lake with family and friends. As exciting as it can be, it’s still important to be thorough, methodical and take your time with your own checklist and inspections. We hope you find our suggestions helpful but ultimately you will develop your own best practice for this important job. It's worth it though. Just think. The more time you take to thoroughly open the cottage, the more time you’ll have to sit, relax and enjoy the summer!
Roger and Rose