How to Close-Up Camp for the Summer - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Sep 13, 2021

How to Close-Up Camp for the Summer


With summer weather slipping away and cooler temperatures settling in, many may be thinking it’s time to close-up camp for the season. Taking steps to winterize your cabin or campsite will save you a lot of time and money when you return in the spring. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to properly close your camp for the summer. Continue reading to learn more.

 

Cleaning House 


First things first, you’ll want to start with a thorough cleaning of all appliances and electronics. Be sure to remove batteries from clocks, cover your smaller appliances, and make sure that everything has been unplugged. Don’t forget to remove all food from your fridge, freezer, and pantry. As you clean, you’ll want to spot check for any stray crumbs that may invite rodents, raccoons, or other pests.  Note that anything you clean with can become a breeding ground for bacteria and can also attract pests, so be sure to empty your vacuum and bring home your mop for washing. Pro-tip: Be sure to bring home any cleaning supplies you may have at camp, as hazardous chemicals and pesticides can actually freeze and explode when temperatures are low.

 

Furniture and Equipment


Follow these tips to prevent weather-related damage to your outdoor furniture and equipment.

 

Boats and Water Equipment

Small boats like canoes and kayaks should be drained, dried and turned upside down. Outboard motorboats and other powered equipment will have a more involved winterizing process. First, you’ll want to review your instruction manual for details about specific winterizing and storage requirements. In many cases, you will need to add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank  to keep it fresh. Be sure that all winterizing and cleaning tasks are done away from any body of water, as many detergents and motor oils can be harmful to natural ecosystems and wildlife. Following that, boats should be stored away from shore, either covered or in a storage facility.

 

Outdoor Furniture and Toys

Be sure to collect all of your outdoor furniture and toys for a quick wash. Once dry, you should store toys and furniture in a covered space. Many summertime toys such as high-powered water guns, bubble-making machines, and motorized water toys require batteries. Be sure to remove all batteries prior to cleaning and storing.

 

Docks

Removable docks should be pulled out of the water and stored on land over the winter. You will want to start by checking all nuts and bolts to ensure that they are tight. Next you can loosen the anchor chains to allow for higher water levels. Then you can remove any ladders and ramp legs. Following that, you can disconnect the ramp and place the dock on shore. It’s best to tie a safety chain from the dock to a strong fixed structure on shore. Pro-tip: Mark your dock with something tall if your campsite is in an area where snowmobilers tend to ride in the winter.

 

Utilities


Leaving your utilities (like your electric and water) running over the winter not only costs you money, but it can also be dangerous. To protect your campsite from burst pipes or electrical fires, follow these tips.

 

Electric

Be sure to call your service provider to cancel or pause your electric service. Remember to do another sweep through the property and unplug any appliances and electronics.

 

Heating

If your campsite has oil heat, be sure to have a licensed professional come out to protect the tanks from ice and snow damage with a filter protector. If you have gas heat, be sure to shut off the gas tank. For outdoor fire pits and fireplaces, you’ll want to remove any debris so that it doesn't rust or clog up over the winter. If there is a gas or electric component to your fire pit, you’ll want to turn those off. Then, simply cover your fire pit with a fitted, weather-resistant cover.

 

Water

To prevent your pipes from freezing you’ll want to have your water shut off for the season and then drain your pipes. Be sure to leave faucets open to prevent air locks and to drain your water heater as well. If your water heater is electric, be sure to turn off the system to prevent the elements from burning while it’s empty. Don’t forget to drain your toilet tank as well.

 

Inspection


Between a build-up of debris in the gutters, snow on the roof, and pests looking for somewhere to make their winter home, a few months away from camp can really put it through the ringer. To best protect your property, be sure to thoroughly inspect your roof, gutters, septic tank, water heater, sump pump, windows, and walls before officially closing up for the season.

 

Locking Doors and Securing Windows


It should go without saying that locking up before you leave for the season is a critical step in protecting your campsite. Be sure to do a run through of the camp and make sure that all external doors and windows are locked. Don’t forget to pull down shades and close blinds. During winter months, it is not uncommon for snow to damage your windows. You can reinforce windows with a layer of thin metal or plywood for added protection. Winter is also a common time for break-ins. To prevent intruders from coming into your camp, you might consider installing a deadbolt.

 

For more information on how to winterize your belongings, check out the link below.