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Tips for Closing Up Your Cottage for the Year

Summer days are over and that means it’s time to start thinking about closing up your seasonal home for the winter.

Other than the obvious tasks like cleaning out the fridge and putting away outdoor furniture, there are other maintenance items you should take care of before calling it a season and closing down your camp.

Our top tips for shutting down your seasonal home:

  • Determine if you want to do a full or partial shutdown.
  • Make sure your cottage is crime proof
  • Get your place ready for the harsh winter snow, wind and ice.

Here are some things that should be on your checklist:

Shut Off the Water

Make sure you shut off the main water supply valve and drain all the pipes before you say goodbye for the winter. After shutting off the water, turn on one of the faucets to make sure no water is left in the pipes. Any water left in pipes can freeze and cause a pipe to burst.


Unplug everything electrical that you can. Even small appliances and devices can drain electricity, often referred to as phantom power. Unplug all major appliances. Some people shut off the power completely at the fuse box. If your cottage has a sump pump, you probably want that to keep working or you could face flooding. You may also want to leave on exterior lighting and security systems. You might be better off unplugging individual appliances and/or turning off the power supply to these individual receptacles at the electrical panel. 

Septic Checkup

Many camps and cottages have a septic tank for sewage. Your septic tank should be on a service schedule to make sure it is operating properly. If your septic tank is due for a checkup, get that done before winter so that it’s ready to go next year when you open up.

Inspect the exterior

Before heading out for good this year, walk around the exterior of your cottage. Check for any openings that critters can get in through. If you have a chimney make sure it has a chimney cap or cover on it. Your vacant camp looks like a nice winter home for various rodents and small animals, and you don’t want the surprise of that mess next spring!

Make sure your roof is in good shape. Heavy snow load through the winter can cause roofs to buckle or even cave in. Also check for any poor locks or broken windowpanes. Get your place buttoned up tight for the harsh winter months.

Make it Crime Proof

Unfortunately, when you shut your seasonal camp or cottage down, it leaves the property vulnerable to break-ins and vandalism. Do what you can to protect your cottage from winter burglars:

  • If you leave the power on, consider installing a security alarm system and/or surveillance cameras.
  • Lock every potential access, including all windows (even second story), and lock up any outbuildings up well.
  • Remove any valuables that could be stolen. Be especially mindful of irreplaceable items such as artwork and jewelry.
  • Ask someone who lives in the area year-round to check on your property periodically.

Get the Help of a Pro

At 207 Plumbing & Heating, we can take care of all the shutdown and winterizing needs of prepping your seasonal home for winter so you don’t have to!

If you have a seasonal home, summer cottage, or getaway camp in Southern Maine, we’re here when it’s time to close it down for winter. We get everything safely shut off and buttoned up for winter.

Contact us to schedule your second home, cottage or camp closing today!