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It’s that time again—the cold weather is here. For those who own recreational properties like cottages, mobile homes or trailers, that means it’s also a time to get them ready for the winter.

Good winter proofing can go a long way to ensuring your summer place is safe and secure from the elements since Mother Nature can dish out some wicked winter weather. You might want to keep these eight tips in mind as you batten down the hatches.

Shut off the water. Turning off the water supply is one of the first things you should do. Cottages, mobile homes and trailers have plumbing that are very susceptible to extreme temperatures. You wouldn’t want any trapped water to freeze in the pipes causing them to burst, so shut the water off at the main valve, the water heater and the pump, and make sure to drain the pipes.

Insulate the pipes. Some people continue to use their recreational properties into the colder months. The last thing you want is for the pipes to freeze, so be sure to add insulation sleeves to the pipes to keep them toasty warm. While you’re at it, check for gaps to make sure no cold air can get in.

Weather stripping and caulking. Check these things out and replace them where needed. Weather stripping and caulking helps to keep the cold out and the heat in, which can also be beneficial for the pipes. You might even consider adding some heat tape.

Clean the eavestroughs. When eaves get clogged with leaves, branches and other debris, they can’t do the job they were meant to do. Plus, clogged eaves entice pests that look upon them as perfect places to shelter over the winter.

Cover stove pipes and chimneys. If you’re completely closing up for the winter, covering the stove pipe and chimney openings is a wise idea. It will keep critters out and stop cold air from coming in.

See to the septic tank. This is a must-do on your winterizing list. Now is the time to drain the tank and add a bacteria solution which will do its work over the winter to get rid of any additional waste in the tank.

Protect windows. Many cottage owners board up the windows for the season, especially since many of these places don’t have storm windows. Covering the windows with plywood will also help to keep animals out.

Other things. Also be sure to switch off and unplug appliances, bring outdoor furniture inside, clean the air conditioner and remove any food items.

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