As we bid goodbye to another magical summer in Maine, it’s time to think about closing your summer property. So what’s the best way to close it safely and securely? And how can you best ensure that it will be relatively easy for you to open up next spring? Use this time-tested checklist to do just that!
Turn Off Electricity and (If Necessary) Gas
Be sure to turn off electricity at the main breakers and also unplug appliances to prevent potential damage from lightning. If you have gas heat, the safest option is to have your service temporarily suspended by contacting your gas company.
Turn Off Water and Drain Pipes
To prevent your pipes from freezing during winter in Maine, thoroughly drain all water from them. Frozen, cracked pipes can cause significant flooding or other water damage, so be SURE you’re done this properly yourself or have contacted a professional about it!
Clean All Gutters
Although this task is often overlooked, it’s essential. Cleaning pine needles, leaves, etc. from your gutters allows snowmelt and rain or sleet water to flow away from your Maine summer cottage or camp.
Close Your Fireplace or Woodstove Dampers
Various varmints such as squirrels and chipmunks have been known to access summer properties via the chimney, so be sure to close all dampers securely. This is also a “must” to avoid significant energy loss in the structure.
Trim Branches from Around the Building
Trees and branches hanging too close to the building can snap or fall due to the weight from snow, so be sure they are safely away from your summer home.
Store Your Outdoor Furniture
Be sure everything is moved either inside your summer property or—better yet—to you winter home or a temperature-controlled storage unit.
Clean and Empty All Appliances
Remove all food from the refrigerator, and thoroughly clean the entire unit with disinfectant. Consider leaving your (unplugged) refrigerator with the door slightly open to prevent mildew or mold. Open a fresh box of baking soda and leave it inside to prohibit odors.
Care for Linens and Beddings
Ideally, take linens and beddings with you for winter storage. But if you must leave them at your summer property, be sure to spread mothballs or cedar chips on them to deter mice.
Remove All Trash
As you are about to leave your property for the winter, make a “dumpster dash” to remove all trash. This will keep the keep your summer home neat and clean, while preventing mice, squirrels, etc. from being attracted by food odors, etc.
Close and Lock All Windows and Doors
As an all-important final step, close and lock windows, then “check your work” to make sure you haven’t forgotten any. This will keep unwanted “guests” of the human and animal variety out, while additionally helping with energy savings and the safety and security of your Maine summer home.