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For The Cottage

Time at the summer cottage; casual, laid back, your chance to get away from the hustle and bustle, but your seasonal downtime it is not without chores. The best way to make the most of that time at the cottage is to be prepared. Yes, there is that check list of things to do at the beginning of the season when opening your cottage on May two-four; however, it all does not have to be done at once – in fact, it is better to look at it as an ongoing summer chore, one that requires frequent breaks on the dock, refreshing gin and tonic in hand.

There are the Must-do’s, as follows;

  • Safety first – check the age of your smoke and CO alarms. Immediately replace any smoke alarm over ten years old and any CO alarm manufactured before 2008.
  • Install fresh batteries in all alarms. Power outages are frequent in cottage country, so if your alarms are hardwired, make sure they have battery back-up. If they don’t, replace them with models that do or add battery powered alarms outside bedrooms.
  • If you have a wood or gas fireplace, or woodstove, an attached garage, carport or boathouse, a water heater or furnace that burns gas, oil or propane, install at least one CSA approved carbon monoxide alarm outside sleeping areas.
  • Keys – track them all down, be sure you have all of the keys and copies too.
  • Get the tool kit. There are always things to fix, repair and replace. Have all of the tools you will need at the ready.


Be sure everything is insured and that you know where the documents are. This includes more than just the cottage – insurance for the boat and trailer too. Tip: if you are pulling that trailer, be sure to test all of the lights and connections before you load the family into the car.


Periodic checks of all power lines, phone lines and the chimney are important. For more information on those checks, Hydro One is a great resource for you. Also ongoing are inspections of the deck, dock, windows and window screens, and under the cottage at the posts, pads and beams. Although you may be very near to the water, access to good running water in the cottage is an essential. Annual checks of the taps, pump and hot water tanks will keep everyone and everything clean this summer.

The Details

  • Pack replacement batteries.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged and ready to go.
  • Get those flashlights out and replace batteries.
  • Clean the eaves troughs.
  • Clear any large branches off the building.
  • Replace any filters that need to be changed.

Staying on top of the cottage to-do’s is a great way to ensure that you enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer at your little piece of heaven on earth. Now, get out there and enjoy some summer fun. You remembered the cold beer, right? “Cannon-ball!”

Please call McDougall Insurance & Financial for your cottage insurance, trailer insurance, 5th wheel insurance, or any of your seasonal insurance property needs at 1-800-361-0941.




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