If you own a summer camp in Maine, you may have closed it up for the winter, but now is the time to prepare it for the warmer months to come. There are a number of steps to take to make sure it will be ready in time for summer.
If you took the time last fall to close up and winterize your camp, then that should help avoid repairs as you get ready for summer. If you take the following steps now - or very shortly - your chances of enjoying the summer without major headaches will increase. Keep in mind that each of these items should be updated annually and as you go through this list, make sure to take note of any changes you need to make for next year.
Last fall, you probably drained the water and left your camp unheated, so restoring the heating system should be one of the first steps you take this season. To prep your fireplace or woodstove, open the flue and check the chimney or chimney pipe for leaks, nests or other obstructions. Bring in a dry supply of firewood.
For oil or propane heat, turn on the fuel supply tank and light the pilot light. Clean or replace furnace filters as needed. If your fuel supply is low, you might want to top off the tank. Turn on the furnace or heater to test it and make sure everything is working properly.
What type of system you have and how it's set up determine the specific steps for turning on your water supply, but there are some general guidelines to follow. Faucets that were left open all winter should be closed and supply valves should be closed prior to turning on water to various parts of the camp. If you have a shallow or deep well pump, run the water until it's clear. Then open the hot water valve and fill the tank, making sure not to turn on the hot water heater until the tank is full.
Any wall-hangings that you removed to prevent shadowing on pine walls can be replaced. To prevent children or pets from harm, pick up any mousetraps or bait you left out over the winter. Clean the floors, uncover and vacuum upholstered furniture and treat leather polish to any leather furniture. Dust and vacuum and wash windows inside and out.
Check for evidence of moss or mold on wood decks or stairs, and power wash them if necessary using a biodegradable cleaner. You may even want to reseal the deck. Check siding for mold or discoloration and power wash if needed. Wash screens before re-installing them for the summer. You may also want to rake and pick up branches and other items in the yard.
Once you've taken care of all these items, there are a few small details you should see to: clean off the grill and make sure it has a full gas tank, then stock the fridge for what should be an excellent Maine summer.