How to Summarize Your Cottage

Summarize Cottage Checklist

Here is THE complete checklist on how to open up your cottage for the summer!

Before you Head out

  • Keys

First and foremost, make sure you have all the keys you may need for your stay. These include cottage keys, boat keys, garage keys, and quad keys.

  • Cleaning Supplies

Bring cleaning supplies such as brooms, mops, dustpans, paper towels, cleaning products, etc. If you aren’t sure, bring it! Don’t forget duct tape!

  • Tools and Technician Contact Information

Bring tools that could be useful for cottage repair and maintenance. Be certain to have the contact information of local handymen or technicians. This includes plumbers, HVAC, electricians, and tree removal or arborists.

  • Permits and Licensing

If you are planning on fishing or hunting, then make sure you bring the required documents and equipment.

  • Contact Hydro

Call any companies or services that are required to get the cottage up and running. It’s best to do this well in advance to solve any problems if they arise.

  • Bring Friends!

Don’t attempt to open the cottage yourself. Bring family or friends to have a second set of hands in case something goes wrong.

  • Check your coverage Protect Your Fun

Ensure you have the proper cottage insurance and coverage for your boat, ATV, trailer and any other valuable toys on the property! If your cottage does have problems, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for insured risks.

On Arrival


Before getting settled inside, it’s best to do a throughout inspection of the exterior of the cottage to locate any potential issues and hazards that may require attention. This includes:

  • Survey of Grounds

Do a walk around your property and look for any damage to the building, windows/screens, power lines, screens, chimney, deck, doors, stairs as well as the foundation. Make sure to also check for any sealed caulking and weatherstripping issues and replace if needed. Also, you should inspect under your cottage for any damage to foundations posts, pads, or beams.

  • Dock Inspection

Inspect your dock, and check the floats, rings, dock cleats, while looking for loose boards, and raised nails.

  • Inspect Roof and Eavestroughs

Make sure to inspect your roof for any missing or loose tiles as well as any debris or damage to your eavestroughs.

  • Tree Inspection

Inspect all trees on your property, especially around the cottage, for any damage or broken branches that could cause any harm to you or your property. If you do notice a tree that has become a potential hazard, call a local tree removal or trimming company to remedy the problem.

  • Propane Inspection

If your cottage uses propane, check the propane tank, and the supply lines.

  • Account for Belongings

Inspect all your outdoor toys and belongings to ensure no damage or theft has occurred.

  • Breakin, Animal and Pest Inspection

Look for any signs of break-ins, animals (raccoons, bear or squirrel intrusion), pests, or anything else that could potentially be
a problem or hazard. If you come across signs of animals or pests around or in your building, contact animal/pest control

  • Water/Freeze Damage Inspection

Look for any water or freeze damage to the building including the roof and foundation. Inspect all plumbing and pressure
pipes. Ensure there is no leaking from your pumps, pressure tanks and or hot water tanks. Once your water is restored in the
cottage inspect the sinks and toilets for any signs of leaks.

  • Exterior Plumbing Check

Inspect all exterior plumbing fixtures including taps, inground sprinkler systems and water lines that run to the lake.

  • Exterior Electrical Check

It is important to ensure all electrical wires and fixtures are intact and operational. Make sure to have on the proper safety
equipment required for the task at hand. Such tasks are:

    • Be on the lookout for any type of rodent damage to wires
    • Check the power lines leading to your cottage. If you come upon damaged or sagging lines, do NOT approach it and contact the local utility.
    •  If your property contains hydro poles or powerlines, ensure they are clear of debris and not in danger of being in contact with branches or property and equipment.
    • If your property contains a transformer (metal box on a pole), ensure the high voltage power lines have no obstructions
      within four meters.


  • Survey and Smell Test

Survey the interior looking for any signs and smells of animal, pests, or mold in the cottage. If you notice any rodent entrances close them up after ensuring no hazards are present. If there are any signs of current animal occupancy call animal/pest control immediately.

  • Ceiling, Cabinet and Drawer Inspection

Inspect your ceiling for any signs of water leak and make sure to open and inspect all your cupboards, drawers and cabinets for any signs of animals, pests, or anything that has gone bad that was left behind for the winter.

  • Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC systems test

Inspect your plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems and turn them on if no problems are present.

  • Interior Electrical Check

It’s time to check the internal electrical components. Make sure to know where your breaker is located and how to operate it.

  •  Inspect your breaker and interior wires for signs of damage to any electrical components. If you do notice damage, DO NOT turn your power on call a licensed electrician.
  • Look out for any faulty switches, wires, or damage and then test all your lights, fans, and appliances. If you use any extension cords inspect them for any damage before use.
  • Interior Plumbing Check

Before you turn on the water, double check to see if any water pipes need re-connecting and that there is no damage to the
pipes, plumbing fixtures, or the plumbing system.

  • Inspect your pump, replace the filter, prime it and turn on your water system.
  • Inspect all lines and pipes for issues, if any arise turn off your water system immediately and call a plumber.
  • Open up all valves to push out air in the lines. If you used antifreeze in your water lines to prevent them freezing in the winter, make sure to run water and flush your toilets to flush out any antifreeze in the system.
  • Close all valves and inspect the pump. If the pressure does not hold with all taps closed, there is a leak turn off the power and call a plumber to inspect your cottage for the source.
  • Inspect and prepare your hot water tank
  • To turn on a hot water tank: First, make sure the hot water tank breaker on your electrical box is off. Close all taps as well as the cold water intake valve on the tank if it is not already. Connect a hose to the drainage valve on the tank and take the other end outside to an appropriate area. Then open the hot water tap to allow air and any existing water through the hose. Close the drainage valve, turn on the cold water intake valve and then fill the tank. Turn on the hot water tank switch on the breaker and inspect for any signs of leaking.
  • If you own a well, inspect it thoroughly to ensure no damage or contamination has occurred. If you are unsure about the quality of your water, have it tested by your local health unit to ensure its safe to consume.

After Settling In

Now that the most critical tasks are complete, it’s time to settle in! When you are done unpacking and putting things away. Make sure to:

    • Test and replace batteries in flashlights, fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
    • Replace your filters and clean your countertops and quickly dust and sweep the cottage to remove any dust that settled in.
    • If you noticed any potholes in your driveway, fill them in or hire someone to do so.
    • Take note of any supplies or consumables you need to bring or to be replaced for your next cottage trip. You’ll thank
      yourself later.
    • Get your boat and other toys out ready for fun!
    • Start the barbeque and relax!

About R. Robertson Insurance

In 1943, the late W.J. (Bill) Robertson established an insurance brokerage which, to this day, continues as a family business. Well known for his commitment to safe boating, Robertson founded the Ontario Marine Operators Association and was instrumental in establishing many of the Marine Safety Programs still relied on by modern boaters. R. Robertson Insurance Brokers Ltd. continues the family tradition of offering a wide selection of quality products for recreational residences, business/commercial lines, commercial marine, and home and auto.

At R.R.I.B., our commitment to providing experience, expertise, and personalized service has established business relationships with our customers that will last a lifetime. R. Robertson Insurance Brokers Ltd., takes pride in knowing our customers, meeting their needs, and providing the benefit of a one-on-one working relationship with their broker.