Safety at the cottage
Opening the cottage
Here are some electrical safety tips to help you open your cottage safely in the spring:
- Inspect your power line(s) and look for damage that may have occurred during the winter. If a wire is down on the ground, stay at least 3 metres or one bus length away and call your local electric utility immediately.
- Check your electricity meter for damage. Call your local electric utility if the meter has been tampered with or shows signs of being damaged.
- Look at interior and exterior wiring for visible signs of gnawing from animals. If your wiring is damaged, turn off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse to that circuit and contact an electrician to arrange for repairs.
- Check electrical cords and plugs for damage. Never use cords that are worn or frayed.
- Check that the chimney for your furnace is clear of debris, such as bird's nests, leaves, etc.
- Check the water level of your water tank before switching the power on to avoid damage to your water heater element.
- Keep all branch circuits in the OFF position until you have opened the main switch. Then energize individual circuits one at a time to avoid power surges that can damage your appliances.
Closing the cottage
The following is a handy checklist of tips to help you close your cottage or seasonal home safely for the winter months:
- Before shutting off the main circuit breaker to your cottage or seasonal home for the winter, be sure to turn off heaters, pumps, hot water tank, and all major appliances, and then shut off each circuit breaker. This will help protect your home when you put the power back on in the spring.
- If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should make sure the power supply to your major appliances is off at the main electrical panel.
- Turn off the power supply to any space heaters - otherwise they could come on automatically during the cold weather.
- Store all extension cords in rodent-proof containers, or consider storing them at home where they won't be subject to freezing temperatures which can cause them to crack.
- Make sure tree branches are trimmed well away from any power lines coming into your cottage to avoid unnecessary power outages and safety hazards. Always hire a qualified contractor to prune trees near your power line(s).