Important Tips for Property Maintenance This Winter

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Insurance Advice, and Personal Safety Tips

Winter is approaching quickly and the weather in Eastern Ontario can have some nasty effects on your home. Here are a few tips to keep your home in top shape throughout the cold months coming up..

winter-home-ona

 

Property Insurance and Maintenance Tips for the Winter:

  • Keep up regular maintenance of your home or property throughout the winter.
  • Make any insurance claims as soon as they come to your attention;
  • Keep the sidewalk or any walkways in front of your home clear of ice by using salt or sand to ensure that pedestrians don’t slip;
  • Keep trees well-trimmed and remove branches from your property before winter to minimize the risk of damage from storms or high winds;
  • Take the necessary steps to avoid some of the fairly common issues listed below.

Freezing Pipes

Canadians love to escape to warmer climates during the chilly winter months. But homeowners should resist the temptation to completely turn the heat off while they’re away. The reason? You don’t want your plumbing pipes freezing. In fact, you should arrange for a trusted friend, neighbour or relative to come and do a quick check on your home if you’re away for an extended period during the winter months. Check with your insurance company or independent insurance broker to find out how often your home must be checked while you‘re away. Here are a few more things you can check on to reduce the risk of freezing pipes:

  • Ensure that pipes near your home’s exterior are well insulated;
  • Make sure that any holes in your home’s exterior are sealed (e.g. cable lines, phone lines, etc.) to reduce the potential for the cold weather coming in to cause havoc with your pipes;
  • If you have any unheated spaces in your home, keep a slow trickle of water flowing from faucets.

Ice Dams

Ice dams, which are walls of ice formed on the edges of your roof, can be a problem during winter in this region. There are a few things you can do to prevent this buildup, which can end up causing significant damage to your roof and lead to costly repairs. First, before the winter truly hits, safely clean out your gutters to remove any debris. Also, if you find lots of debris, consider installing gutter guards to prevent it from happening again.
A well-insulated and ventilated attic is one of the best ways to prevent ice dams from building up; the attic floor should be well insulated to minimize rising heat, and a well-ventilated attic will make for less melting and refreezing up above. Finally, for a long term solution, consider adding a water-repellant membrane under the roof covering to prevent the damage from ice dams from occurring in the future.

Flooding

While this is not likely to be an immediate concern as we head into the winter months, it’s certainly something to be cautious of when the spring starts to come around. Once the snow starts to melt, that water is likely to find its way into your home if there are issues with the grading around the home or the home’s foundation. Water damage can be devastating to your home and personal property. Most Insurance policies exclude damage caused by water seepage through foundations, doors and windows.
Here are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk of damage due to flooding:

  • Note where melting snow might drain away from the house and clear a path for the water to easily drain away;
  • Keep snow away from the house, if possible, by shoveling;
  • Ensure any catch basins or sewer grates on the street are clear of any obstructions;
  • Do not keep your most valuable items in the basement in case flooding does occur.

By taking some basic precautions and keeping up proper maintenance of your property, you can have a worry-free winter.

Thanks for reading,

The ONA Team

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