More Canadians than ever are starting to purchase second homes. For many of us, the dream is to pack up and retreat to our own cottage or winter chalet. 

However, at Distinctive Homes we realize that as we modernize so do our vacation homes. We have a variety of properties that suit the needs of just about anyone looking to buy in the mountains. Whether it be for your summer getaway or your winter playground, our single units, duplexes or single-family homes allow you to obtain your second home dreams.

With a second home it is important to realize that these homes may be left unattended for longer periods of time. Therefore, they require a little more attention before you leave, especially if your home is facing a Canadian winter.

Here are 5 things you must do before leaving your vacation property or home for an extended period of time. 

 Kitchen shot of a mountain home


Water is one of the most important and overlooked factors when you leave. This can affect what kind of state you are leaving your home in and what kind of state it will be in when you return. You should always be tentative to your water supply when leaving your home for long periods of time. This can be as simple as turning off the water from the exterior. Also, make sure that the water supply is turned off completely from the main supply point. Once you’ve done this, don’t forget to open all faucets and drain the excess in your waterlines. This will prevent further issues in the winter if your furnace should fail causing your pipes to freeze and burst. 

Digitally monitoring your mountain home


Turn down the thermostat to a level adequate enough to keep the inside temperature above freezing. This will help to keep things dry and warm. While it might be tempting to turn your heat right off, this can cause problems when Alberta winter temperatures drop below -20 C.

You may also want to consider a remote monitoring system to check the status of your temperature, humidity and power. These smart thermostats connect right to your phone so it is easy to control. For example, during a full week of -30 you might want to turn your home’s temperature up a few degrees to compensate. 

Laundry room

Unplug All Appliance: 

If you a going away for an extended amount of time you will want to consider unplugging all your appliances. Even when your appliances are turned off they can still draw power. A trick for unplugging larger appliances such as your washing machine is to turn them off at the breaker box. 

Luxury Mountain Home Kitchen

Clean Out: 

It’s important that you don’t leave any food that will go bad while you are away. Simply cleaning out your refrigerator and making sure your pantry food is secure is a great idea. For longer periods, you may also want to clear out your freezer, there is always a possibility of a power outage and for food to defrost and refreeze. 

Clean thoroughly before you leave. Make sure you — or a housecleaner — vacuum, wash bedding, wipe down surfaces and remove all trash from the house before closing up. This should guard against insects and rodents. 

Outside our canmore property

Lock Up: 

This is an important one to remember to lock your house at all entry points. Check all windows doors etc. You may also want to set up a couple of light timers and set them up to turn on automatically in the evenings. It is also important to close the damper or flue on your fireplace. This will prevent snow, rain or animals from finding a way into your home. You may also want to check with your insurance broker as they may have guidance as to how often you need to have your home checked while you’re away. 

Exterior view of the Newcastle unit

Owning a second home can be a true joy and by following these steps to organizing your home before leaving you can assure yourself that your dream will be intact when you return every time and assure you for a pleasant return.