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5 simple steps to protect your home from severe weather

Worried about what changing weather patterns can do to your home? Here are some tips for protecting your home from severe winter weather.
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Melanie Epp, January 3, 2014 6:00:44 AM

Winter storms are said to be the most common severe weather event experienced by Canadians. According to Royal Sun & Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (RSA), 67 per cent of Canadians agree that frequency and severity of weather events have increased over the past 10 years. Of those, 29 per cent have experienced weather that has impacted their home.

Interestingly, while most agree that storms are increasing in both severity and frequency, 49 per cent have done nothing to further protect their home. Some 22 per cent trimmed or removed trees that were too close to the home, 8 per cent installed a sump pump, 3 per cent installed heavier hinges and locks on doors and 2 per cent installed storm shutters. What measures have you taken to protect your home? If you’re like 59 per cent of Canadian homeowners with insurance, then you’ve done nothing. It’s time to change that. Here’s what RSA says you can do to prevent cold temperatures from damaging your home:

1. Protect your pipes.

If you’ve ever had a water pipe burst because of strain due to freezing, then you know what kind of damage it can cause. There are ways to prevent the freezing of pipes. First, you can fit pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping. Inspect the outside walls and foundation for cracks or holes. Sealing them will further protect your pipes. Finally, keeping a slow trickle of water flowing through your faucets of an unprotected space with keep them from freezing. If you don’t plan on using the space during the colder months, you should drain the pipes completely.

2. Don’t neglect your roof.

There are all sorts of things you can do to protect your roof and attic from damage due to severe weather. Keep in mind that if older shingles cover your roof, they can crack and fail as a result of repeated freezing and thawing. Come spring, you could have a real problem on your hands. To prevent this from happening, consider clearing snow off of your roof, especially after particularly heavy storms. If you’re not sure about the procedure, call an expert. To further protect your home from water damage, consider applying extra vapour barrier along the eaves of the roof. Finally, remember that keeping your attic cool in winter prevents snow from melting and refreezing on your roof. For this reason it is a bad idea to install heat sources in or around the attic. Also, be sure that your attic floor is well insulated, which will also help to keep heat from escaping from the attic.

3. Check your drains and downspouts.

You might have noticed that the winter weather hasn’t been consistent this year. Depending on where in the country you live, you’ve probably noticed that one day it’s freezing cold and snowing heavily, but the next is warm and thawing. Check your drains and downspouts and be sure that they’re clear of snow. This will help to prevent water backup during a thaw.

4. Seal those walls up tight.

RSA recommends that you check the flashing on your exterior walls to ensure that it is sealed tight and not opening.

5. Cover all your bases.

Most of us agree; weather patterns have changed and we’re experiencing more severe storms. But most of us haven’t done a thing about it. Don’t get left out in the cold when it comes to severe weather-related damage. Talk to your insurance broker to review your policy and make sure you’ve got the right coverage.

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Melanie Epp


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