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Opening or closing a seasonal residence

Whether you are opening or closing your seasonal residence it is important to take safety precautions. See below for our guide to ensure your safety related to security, your electrical system, and your water system. 

Opening your seasonal residence
  • Call your security company to let them know that you are returning to your residence

  • Check your home for any signs of damage or vandalism

Electrical system 
  • Visually inspect your meter and power lines for damage. 

  • If a power line is down or damaged, stay clear and immediately call us at 1-800-434-1235. 

  • Inspect visible wiring to outdoor lighting fixtures, water pumps, and other equipment. If wires are damaged, remove the fuse to that circuit or turn off the circuit breaker, and call a qualified electrician. 

  • Check all household appliance cords. If damaged, unplug the appliance and do not use it until the cord is replaced. 

  • If your electrical panel uses fuses, make sure they are screwed in tightly and that you have spares. Do not use fuses higher than 15 amps in normal receptacle and lighting circuits.

Water system

Follow these steps to safely turn on your water system:

  • Make sure the drain valve at the bottom of your water tank is closed

  • Open a hot water tap at a sink. The tap must be at a higher level than the tank

  • Open the cold water shut-off to tank

  • Leave the hot water tap on until water comes out of tap

  • Turn on the power to the water heater at the fuse box or electrical panel

  • Check the tank and drain valve for leaks

Closing your seasonal residence


Security in the off-season can sometimes be a problem. There are a number of steps you can take to help protect your seasonal home and its contents:

  • If you have any neighbours who stay there year-round, ask them to watch your home.

  • If you leave the electricity on, you can use portable timers to turn lights on and off at specific times.

  • To enhance security around the house, install outdoor motion sensors that flood the selected area with light whenever movement is detected.

  • You can also choose to have outdoor lights automatically go on at night and off at dawn by installing photoelectric cells

  • Consider a security system that is monitored by a reputable local security firm. A basic system offers protection against burglaries. More sophisticated systems include smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have such a system, inform your security company when you are leaving for the off-season and ensure they have your contact information.

  • Tightly close your fireplace damper to prevent animals from getting in through the chimney.

  • Some people choose to shut off electricity to their home in the off-season. 

  • If you do this, be sure to turn off all major appliances, your water heater, and electrical room heaters before you turn off the main switch. This will ensure a smoother and safer start-up when you re-open your home. 

  • If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should:  

  • Turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel.

  • Turn off the power supply to any space heaters.

  • If you have a digital thermostat that controls your electric furnace or baseboard heaters, remember to change your batteries. If your batteries are dead, power outages and restorations can reset the thermostat to a setting of 20 to 22°C . It is likely this is much higher than your chosen setting and can result in an unexpected high bill. 

  • Turn off the power to your hot water tank and drain it. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you have executed this properly: 


  • Remove fuses or shut off the main breaker to disconnect power to your water heater.

Open hot water tap at the sink.

  • Attach a hose to the tank's drain valve located at the bottom of the tank and direct the hose towards the basement drain or outdoors. The opening to the drain or outdoors must be lower than the drain valve to siphon out the water.

  • Open the drain valve and drain the tank completely. Once the tank is completely drained, remove the hose and close the drain valve.

  • If you are closing the house for the winter, shut off the water to the house and drain the cold water from all taps. This will prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.

Cottage opening checklist

Opening your cottage this month? Here is our top ten checklist to open your cottage safely:

  1. Plan ahead and sign up for our Outage Alerts.

  2. Do a circle check and inspect the power line feeding your cottage. If a wire is down on the ground, call us at 1-800-434-1235.

  3. Check your electricity meter for damage. If you spot any damage, call us at 1-888-664-9376.

  4. Look at interior wiring for visible signs of gnawing from animals. If wiring is damaged, turn off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse to that circuit and call an electrician to arrange for repairs.

  5. Check electrical cords and plugs for damage. Never use cords that are worn.

  6. Fill your water tank before switching the power on to avoid damage to your water heater element.

  7. Keep all branch circuits in the off position until you have opened the main switch. Then, energize individual circuits one at a time.

  8. Make sure tree branches are trimmed well away from your power line to avoid unnecessary power outages and safety hazards. Always hire a qualified contractor to prune trees near your power line. We will disconnect the power supply to your property once a year, at no charge, so that any maintenance along or near your power line can be performed safely.

  9. Replace the batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

  10. Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged.