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Closing Your Muskoka Cottage for the Winter

Whether you like it or not, the fall season has arrived, which means that you’ll have to start seriously thinking about closing up your cottage for the winter. Effectively closing your cottage ensures that it’ll be safe throughout the winter months, and will increase its longevity. Failure to close your cottage properly can result in serious damage to your property and a major headache in the spring. Here’s what you need to know about closing your Muskoka cottage for the winter season.

Take a look at the exterior and attend to the chores you’ve neglected
The first step to closing up your cottage for the winter is to take some time out of your day and examine the exterior of your cottage. Make sure that you clean and repair your gutters and take a look at the roof – heavy snowfall can wreak havoc on your cottage property if these things aren’t done proactively. While you’re on the roof, you might want to put a cap or cover over the chimney (if applicable) in order to keep pests from entering through the chimney. Take a walk around the property and look for any openings where pests can easily enter your home, and be sure to seal them to thwart any unwanted winter visitors.

Wrap the pipes, turn off the water and check the sump pump
The next step involves doing something that very few people want to do – you’ll need to go into your crawlspace to wrap any water pipes. Wrapping pipes is an essential part of winterizing the cottage, and will keep the pipes from freezing easily. Using foam or other insulating materials to wrap the pipes will allow you to continue visiting or using the cottage during the winter months, and will make re-opening the cottage in early spring much less of a headache. If you don’t plan on using the cottage over the winter, be sure to shut off the water and drain the pipes. Leave one faucet on to ensure that there’s no water in your pipes, otherwise they run the risk of bursting and causing serious damage.

Another crucial step in closing the cottage is to ensure that the sump pump and septic tank are in good working order. Without a working sump pump, there’s a good chance that your basement could flood over the winter, which could be disastrous for your property. If you’re planning to turn off the power for the winter, consider running the sump pump on a backup generator to cover any unexpected failures. If you haven’t serviced your septic tank in recent years, now might be the best time to do so, allowing you to have a much more relaxing experience when opening the cottage in the spring.

Unplug everything and turn down the heat
If you aren’t planning on visiting the cottage during the winter, there’s no reason to keep appliances plugged in and consuming phantom power. Go through the cottage and unplug anything that doesn’t need to be running over the winter. This will save you from unnecessarily high utility bills over the winter season. Some choose to power down the entire cottage for the season, but doing so runs the costly risk of sump pump failure. While you’re going through this step, turn down the heat in the cottage to ensure lower utility bills, while at the same time avoiding frost buildup in the cottage. If you have gas heating, turn it off before you leave.

Give your insurance company a call
Before you leave for the season, be sure to give your insurance company a call to ensure that you’ve done everything expected of you. Different providers will expect various things to be done before heading off for the winter,, so it’s a good idea to make sure you haven’t missed anything. This way, you’ll be covered in the event that anything disastrous happens, giving you peace of mind throughout the winter months.

What do I do with my windows and doors?
Windows generally don’t need much pre-winter maintenance. You’ll want to make sure they are closed properly, and that’s about it. If you have basement window wells, make sure water and melting snow are directed away from them so they don’t fill up during the Spring melt. For your doors, check the seals around them. If they look worn then replace them.

For more information about Muskoka Window & Door Centre’s high quality line of window and door products, visit our website or contact us today.

Featured Product: Ostaco Prism Windows

Ostaco is a family owned and operated window and door manufacturer based out of southern Ontario. The company was founded in 1981, and has since become an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of high performance window and door products, which has helped them establish a large network spanning all across the country. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is proud to be Ostaco’s official Muskoka dealer, with our showroom containing many of their finest products.

Perhaps most notable are Ostaco’s new line of Prism window units, which are available in a wide variety of custom types and sizes that are manufactured to your specifications. Ostaco Prism windows recently launched, featuring 4 9/16” vinyl frames, thicker exterior sashes and larger glass surface areas for a more energy efficient window unit. Prism windows are one of the best ways to maximize your living space and get the most out of the beautiful Muskoka landscapes, while cutting down on your utility bills and maintaining energy efficiency.

A family owned manufacturer dedicated to excellence

Since 1981, Ostaco has been a leading manufacturer of windows and doors throughout Canada. The family-run company takes a simple approach to taking care of their customers, ensuring that each and every one receives the highest quality service, and long-lasting products they can rely on.

This approach has proven to be extremely successful, and has made Ostaco one of Canada’s most beloved window and door manufacturers. All windows and doors are made to order, guaranteeing that customers are receiving a high performance product made to exactly the specifications they need. Each and every product manufactured by Ostaco has been thoroughly tested and certified at the highest levels by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Energy efficient windows that can withstand the elements

Ostaco’s line of Prism windows are the perfect choice for maximizing the space in your Muskoka cottage and getting the most out of your view. These custom crafted windows feature energy saving designs that have been rated most efficient by Energy Star. Ostaco Prism windows use warm edge spacers between glass panes to contain argon gas and minimize glass edge conductivity, keeping your cottage warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer. Energy efficient windows mean saving on utilities, and keeping your cottage at a consistently comfortable temperature all year round. Ostaco Prism windows also feature fusion welded vinyl chambers, offset grooves, steel reinforcement channels, mullion reinforcement pockets, and more to ensure that they’ll perform to the highest standards for years to come.

A wide variety of styles and finish options at your disposal

One of the best things about choosing new windows is having the ability to customize them to meet your needs, and make an aesthetic statement that will be sure to catch the eye of neighbours, friends, and family. Ostaco Prism windows are available in a wide variety of window styles, including stylish casement and awning styles, easy to operate single hung and slider styles, and flexible double hung and double slider options. Once you’ve selected the window operation that best suits your home or cottage, you can choose from more than two dozen exterior finishes that range from antique brown and blue grey to rustic blue and shutter green. No matter what kind of statement you’re looking to make with your windows, Ostaco can help you make it your own with these ultra sleek contemporary windows.

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is the official Muskoka dealer of Ostaco Prism window products. For more information about Ostaco windows and doors, as well as the full line of Muskoka Window & Door Centre’s high quality line of window and door products, visit our website or contact us today.

Should I Replace Windows Before Winter?

The cold winter months are on their way, forcing Muskoka cottage owners to consider whether they should replace their windows before winter arrives in cottage country. Replacing windows during the winter is possible, but is obviously easier in the fall. And if you wait until spring, installation slots get booked quickly.

Install windows as soon as possible for immediate results
It’s a good idea to plan your window installation before the cold weather and snow arrive. There’s a chance that your old Muskoka windows aren’t performing as well as they once did, letting in drafts, moisture, and affecting your overall comfort. New energy-efficient windows will save you the most money in the winter, so starting now ensures you get the best use out of your windows.

New windows will make your home or cottage more comfortable by regulating the temperature inside, keeping it nice and toasty inside the house during the colder months. New windows will also protect your home against drafts, which saves you in energy bills because your furnace won’t be running as frequently. Taking a proactive approach to having your new windows installed will ensure your comfort throughout the winter, and help you save big on heating costs.

Other complications involved with winter installations
While installation experts take care to reduce energy loss when installing new windows in the winter, some energy loss will still occur. This happens when old windows are removed in order to make room for the new window being installed.

To reduce energy loss, many window and door installers will do their best to install one window at a time. They will take measures like closing doors in the room where work is being done and closing off adjacent areas.

Winter installations will also require you to clear the area around windows, ensuring that snow and other debris won’t get in the way of your installation professional. This means taking the time to shovel snow away from your house, requiring much more effort than simply clearing debris from around your windows.

Winter installations are still possible
If you don’t have the time to book your installation prior to the winter season, or discover that your windows need to be replaced mid-winter, worry not – window installations are possible throughout the winter.

Understand that winter isn’t the ideal season for window installation, and that your contractor makes take additional time in order to get the job done correctly. Inclement weather is more common during the winter, so this may also pose complications during winter window replacement projects. Installation experts will do their best to reduce energy loss from your home, and finish the job as quickly as possible given the circumstances. While winter window replacement isn’t ideal, it’s far from impossible.

If you’re in the market for new windows, get in touch with the team at Muskoka Window and Door Centre as soon as possible to ensure pre-winter service from the team that is best at Muskoka window installation. The experienced team at Muskoka Window and Door Centre make replacing your windows easy with expert consultation and superior product knowledge. For more information about Muskoka Window and Door Centre’s unparalleled line of window and door products, visit our website or contact us today to get a free estimate.