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Winterizing Your Home: Maintenance Tips

Winter is hard on homes, but you can reduce your risk of property damage from the hazards of cold weather with these home maintenance tips from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Inside Your Home

  • Clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on. Get someone to check on your home while you are away. Contact your insurance representative to determine the visitation requirements while you are away.
  • Test batteries in fire and smoke detectors and vacuum fire and smoke detectors, as dust or spider webs can prevent them from functioning.
  • If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, run water through it occasionally to keep water in the trap.
  • Make a note of where your water main is located in case you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  • If away for extended periods, consider fire and low temperature detection off site.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.
  • Examine your attic for frost accumulation. Check your roof for ice dams or icicles. If you see excessive frost or staining in your attic or if there are ice dams on the roof surface. Damage from ice dams may not be covered under your home insurance policy.

Outside Your Home

  • Keep your sidewalk and the front stairs of your house clear of snow and ice to prevent falls and injuries.
  • Keep snow clear of gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.
  • Drain your garden hose.
  • Water frozen in pipes can cause your pipes to break at their weakest point. To prevent freezing, fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • Trim tree branches that hang close to the house or electrical wires.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada

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