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  • Writer's pictureNewaygo Marine

Button up your Lakefront Home

Brisk evenings. Brilliant foliage. Geese flying in V-formations. These signs of fall not only mark the turning of the seasons, but they usher in a new phase of maintenance for lake residents. Time to roll up your sleeves, batten the hatches and put away the toys before the frost and mold claim them.

Although this wonderful Indian summer has stretched out for us, the inevitable always rolls around. Here are some tips and tricks and help make the chore of preparing and closing your lake home for winter more efficient.


  • Clean the house well, remove trash and remove all food or seal non-perishable items in metal containers

  • Put mousetraps and other pest-control devices in basement, closets and kitchen

  • Make sure fireplace flue is closed or chimney is covered to prevent animals and birds from entering


  • Defrost the refrigerator, unplug it and prop the door open to prevent mold

  • Open your closet doors (to prevent musty smell)

  • Cover furniture, pillows, etc., to prevent dust accumulation


  • Turn off all water and run the faucets a second or two afterward to make sure all water is out of the pipes

  • Drain all faucets, hoses and appliances that use water (including flexible hoses in showers and sinks, water softener, water heater, etc.)

  • Leave all faucets open while the cottage is vacant

  • Arrange to have a local snow removal company come at least once over the winter to remove snow and ice build-up from the roof


  • If you can, remove valuables, such as TVs and stereos. If any valuable items will be left, make sure windows are covered so that thieves can’t see in and be tempted

  • Any items that are normally left outside, such as a gas barbecue, should be removed and stored offsite or in a secure location onsite, such as a locked garage or basement

  • Take photos, inside and out, as well as any valuables you’re leaving there over the winter. Record serial numbers of devices that have them. These will prove invaluable if you need to call the insurance company


  • Turn off all lights and unplug electronics and appliances in case of a power surge

  • Lock all windows and doors

  • Check on your home periodically, or ask a trusted friend in the area to do so

  • Arrange for someone to maintain the road and walkways around the cottage over winter, so there is access in case of an emergency such as a fire


  • Take in docks, since shifting ice can snap metal posts and wear down wood

  • Store dock sections well away from shore, since the shoreline can change as ice contracts and expands

  • Remove boats, lifts, jet skis and other recreational items from the lake to prevent damage from ice. This is a great time to inspect them and order any replacements or repairs

  • Clean the hull of your watercraft immediately after removing the boat from the lake, because marine growth is easier to clean when the hull is wet

  • Avoid storing your boat near pine trees, if possible, because they can shed needles that become enmeshed in carpeting and fabric.

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