How To Protect Your Home In The Winter
Winters in Ontario can be more than just unpleasant — the snow, wind, and ice can cause severe damage to your home, potentially costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. While some damage may be covered by your home insurance policy, you may be on the hook for other types of damage.
This winter, take some precautionary measures and preparations to protect your home from winter damage:
1. Keep Your Vents Clear
After a snow storm, it’s a good idea to make sure all of the vents on the outside of your home are unobstructed and not covered by snow. Check your dryer vents, furnace exhaust pipes, and oven range vents, and clear away the snow to allow for proper air flow and prevent hazards like fires.
2. Clean Your Gutters
Before the winter weather really hits hard, it’s important that you clean your gutters to ensure they’re not clogged with leaves and other debris. Clogged gutters can freeze and cause blockages, which could mean ice and snow seeping into your roof or your home’s foundation. If you don’t feel safe cleaning your gutters yourself, hire a professional.
3. Check Your Roof
In addition to cleaning your gutters, you should consider having a professional examine your roof for any damage before the winter. A professional will be able to check for potential causes of ice dams. Ice dams are caused by heat escaping through your roof which melts and refreezes the ice and snow, which can build up and become heavy over time. Ice dams could cause major damage to your roof and home, but can be prevented by proper insulation and ventilation in your attic.
4. Drain Your Plumbing
If you’re going away for a winter vacation, it’s a good idea to drain your plumbing before you go. Leaving your plumbing as is for a long period of time during cold weather could cause your pipes to freeze. Frozen pipes can lead to damaged plumbing, resulting in water damage if the weather warms up and the pipes begin to thaw.
If you decide not to turn off your home’s water while you’re away, you should ask a friend, neighbour or family member to check on your home once a day to ensure everything is still in working order and nothing has happened in your absence.
5. Check Your Basement
Even when you’re home over the winter, it’s important to stay vigilant and keep an eye on your home comfort systems. Check your basement or utility room to ensure that everything is in good working order and nothing has been negatively impacted by the cold weather. Check that your water, sewer back-up, hot water tank, pilot light, and main shut-off are all continuing to work properly so you can avoid potential damage.
6. Mail & Newspapers
If you go away for an extended period of time, your mail and newspapers are likely to begin building up. Unfortunately, this signals to potential home invaders that no one is home, putting your house at risk of a break-in. Have your newspaper delivery put on hold for the duration of your vacation and ask a neighbour to pick up your mail until you get back.
7. Clear Your Driveways & Walkways
Few people enjoy clearing their driveway and walkways of snow and ice, but it’s an essential chore that needs to be done regularly during the winter. Keeping your driveway clear of snow and ice throughout the winter will help to prevent injuries, and having a friend or neighbour shovel while you’re away on a winter vacation will help to make your home look lived in.
To make sure you’re properly covered over the winter with the right home insurance policy, contact Jeffery & Spence Insurance.