(NC) Although you may not want to admit it, cottage season is coming to an end. Say a final goodbye to lazy days by the lake and ensure your home away from home is in great shape for next season with this easy checklist for closing it down properly.

• If you are leaving the electricity on for the winter, go room to room and unplug any unnecessary electrical devices. Consider turning off the power supply to major appliances or space heaters at the main panel.

• If you are turning off the electricity, go room to room to turn off and unplug all electrical devices before flipping the main power switch.

• Drain the plumbing system to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

• Drain your water tank. Remember to turn off the power supply to the water heater before to avoid damage to the heating element.

• Leave the door to the refrigerator ajar to avoid a foul smell in the spring. Remove all food from the cottage.

• Ensure all windows are closed and the fireplace damper is shut tightly to prevent animals from getting inside during the winter.

• Store extension cords in rodent-proof containers. Check all cords for damage before using them again in the spring.

• Take photos of each room and outside the cottage just in case there’s damage during the winter.

Find tips for opening up the cottage safely come springtime at www.hydroone.com/myhome/staysafe/pages/cottageopeningtips.aspx.