10 tips to protect your home in winter

The winter months offer the most beautiful and enchanting scenery. However, the snowstorms and freezing temperatures that accompany this season can seriously damage your property.  

 If you don't take the necessary preventive measures, and without adequate home insurance, these problems can prove costly. 

 So we've put together a guide with 10 tips to help you prepare your home for winter! Enjoy your reading. 


point-v02-1Pack up those hoses

Before temperatures drop to freezing, turn off the water supply to all outdoor taps and faucets, then open the taps to drain them completely. Leave the taps in the open position until spring. 

Disconnect garden hoses and drain them completely, then coil them without kinks. Store them in a warm location so any residual water won’t freeze. 


Roofing and eavestroughs and chimneys

Inspect the roof and replace aging or worn shingles. Watch for missing, damaged, curling or loose shingles.  If your shingles are not visible from the ground or are over 15 years old, consider having a roofing contractor do a more thorough inspection. 

Clean out your eavestroughs and downspouts later in the fall when the leaves are down. Remove the leaves and debris and check for leaks. Downspouts should extend at least 6 feet (1.8 metres) away from the basement and drain away from the house towards the grass or garden area or the street.  Add extensions to downspouts if necessary. 

 If you have a contractor to inspect your roof or to clean out your eavestroughs, have them look at the flashing and caulking around chimneys and vents and ask them to replace where required. 

point-v02-3And speaking of chimneys…

If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, make sure you have the chimney inspected and swept by a WETT certified chimney sweep and complete any necessary repairs before you start the new season.



When it cracks, it breaks

When water gets into cracks in driveways, walkways, foundations and even the bricks of your home and freeze, it can cause all kinds of havoc. Fixing the cracks will help you avoid much more costly repairs and subsequent inconvenience. 



Protect your trees

Snow and ice can be really hard on trees.  Falling limbs are dangerous, and can cause significant property damage and also can cut off your electrical power supply.  Having your trees inspected by a certified arborist can be the best thing you can do to protect your home and those of your neighbours and prevent serious property damage.

Check with your municipality to ensure you know which trees are their responsibility and which ones are yours.  Have your arborist check for damaged limbs that may break or that are too close to power lines or the roof. And leave the trimming to the professionals! 

Making the grade

Before winter snow are on their way, make sure the ground around your house and buildings is properly graded. Grade the earth or hard surfaces to slope away from the foundation. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) suggests you check sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways to make sure they haven’t settled over time and will not cause water to flow towards the house when the snow melts. 

Most insurance policies do not cover continuous and repeated seepage. So when the snow does arrive, make sure you clear it well away from the foundation of your house to prevent seepage of water through your basement walls. 


Light the way

The days are getting shorter and the reduced light makes it harder for many people to find their way while walking. Low voltage landscape lighting is becoming very popular. Well-installed quality lighting can improve safety and security while enhancing your home’s curb appeal.



Watch out for icicles

While they may look pretty, icicles are dangerous to people and pets when they fall and can also result in icy patches around your home. Icicles are often an indication of poor insulation or ventilation which could result in serious damage to your home. Consult a professional if you have any. 



While you’re away

If you’re planning to be away from your home during the cold season, arrange to have someone you trust check on your home and maintain your heating system daily. Most insurance contracts have a clause requiring this in order to maintain your protection. Ask your insurance advisor before you go away about what you can do to protect your home. 



Have a sprinkler system? Don’t forget it!

Before the frost hits, you’ll want to drain your lawn sprinkler/irrigation system and have a professional complete any required repairs. To avoid a costly blunder during snow removal, make sure sprinkler heads are appropriately marked. 



Don't let the cold get in

Having a furnace break down or, even worse, needing replacement in the middle of winter can be a huge inconvenience. And if needed parts are not readily available, it can take even longer to get repairs done. The worst-case scenario is having to call a plumber to protect your pipes while repairs are carried out.  

Avoid this situation and have a licensed technician service inspect your furnace before the winter to identify and replace any worn out components and make sure your furnace operates as reliably as possible, and at peak efficiency. A professional service will also help to improve your safety by making sure there are no carbon monoxide leaks. 

These tips are simple but effective ways of protecting your property. Coupled with adequate home insurance coverage, you'll be able to enjoy peace of mind this season.