Home maintenance tips for winter

In 2019, insured damage from extreme weather reached $1.3 billion. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, 2019 is the seventh most costly year recorded.

While we can’t control the severity of the weather, there are certain things we can do to help protect our home during the winter. Here are some key home maintenance tips to minimize damage, reduce your chances of filing a home insurance claim and, most importantly, keep you and your family safe this winter.

Home maintenance in Winter

Home maintenance in Winter

1. Prevent ice dams

When the edges of a home’s roof are colder than the upper area, ice forms around the eaves. Melting snow from the top of the roof causes a back up behind a ‘dam’ of ice. Ice dams are dangerous and are a big reason for leaks and permanent damage to the roof and inside your home.

To prevent ice dams from forming:

  • Remove debris from gutters
  • Purchase a long-handle roof rake
  • Remove snow promptly after a storm

If an ice dam has formed and has caused damage to your home, it can be hazardous to break or melt the ice yourself. We recommend calling in professional services.

2. Prevent burst pipes

Frozen pipes have the potential to burst, leading to costly repairs. To keep your pipes safe during the winter, be sure to:

  • Disconnect your hose from the outside faucet
  • Turn your outside water line off
  • Insulate pipes, especially those by windows and doors
  • Keep the heat no lower than 12.5 degrees Celsius when you are away

3. Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

During the winter, we typically keep windows closed, use fireplaces and candles more often. To prevent a tragic house fire, be sure to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly and have one on each floor of the house, in each bedroom, and in the kitchen.

4. Prepare for winter storms

When you know that a winter storm is imminent, prep ahead of time for emergencies. Keep a stash of batteries available for flashlights and lanterns, purchase a generator, keep food well-stocked, and check the condition of your shovels and window scrapers.

5. Speak to your insurance provider

Extensive damage to your home from extreme weather conditions can be a stressful experience for homeowners. Your home insurance company is here to ease the burden and help you through a challenging time. For peace of mind, speak with your insurance provider who can walk you through your policy and what you are covered for.

Furthermore, an insurance broker can provide recommendations on additional coverage on your existing policy or other benefits that you may be eligible for. As always, prevention and proactiveness is key to staying safe this winter.

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