Tips for Opening Your Michigan Cottage

Finally, just maybe, the cold, windy spring weather is loosening its grip and we can start thinking about warmer summer days “Up North.” If you have a cottage or second home in Northern Michigan, we are starting to creep closer to the traditional Memorial Day official start of summer. For many, May is the first time they will have been back to their cottages since closing them up and winterizing them in the fall. If you fall into this scenario, here are a few cottage opening tips to keep in mind:


Water is always one of the most important concerns for any cottage owner. This involves your piping, as well as any water damage on your roof. Make sure to inspect your roof for any potential damage the ice and melting snow may have caused. If you have an attic, be sure to go in and inspect for any signs of water damage as well. It’s especially important to check the peaks and ceiling edges to make sure everything stayed dry.


Make sure on arrival at your cottage you will want to turn your water pump on. Once you do, do not turn your water heater on right away! If you had to drain it in the fall, make absolutely sure that you wait for your water tank to fill back up with water before you turn the breaker for your water heater on. This will avoid any issue of burning up the heating element in your water heater. Also, after flipping your pump on, run the water for a few minutes to get the gunk out of your pipes that may have settled over the winter. Finally, once you stop running the winter out of your faucets, keep listening. If you hear the water pump continuing to run, you may have a leak somewhere in your piping system.

Decks and docks

As you return, look over your deck, especially if it is where you do your outdoor entertaining. If your dock is in the water make sure you give it a once over too. Did any boards warp in the snow? Do either need to be power washed? Is your deck or dock ready for a protective waterproof stain? If your deck needs repairs or it’s time to install a new deck, be sure to call right away before companies get busy.


Make sure your windows and window casings made it through another winter without issue. Older windows are an easy way for water to sneak into your cottage.


If you have a yard you will want to walk around and pick up branches and sticks that fell during the winter months. Additionally, be sure to look at the trees that are adjoining your property. Did any start to lean or fall towards your cottage during the winter months?


This seems like an odd tip to add for opening your cottage. However, oftentimes up north, spring can be dry and the fire danger level in your area is elevated. Make sure to clean your firepit before you build that first fire of the year so you can have the traditional lakeside fire, safely. No one wants to start a forest fire.

Finally, as you consider these things you may need to think about insurance options for your cottage, given all of these hazards. They are actually a number of agencies across Michigan that offer specific cottage insurance.

Hopefully, these tips help and here is to a fun, relaxing summer!