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

“With an increase in extreme weather events causing more property damage, it’s important to follow a home maintenance schedule all year round. In winter, there are several measures you can take to safeguard your home against the dangers of cold conditions. This can help protect you against potentially urgent and costly home repairs,” says Amanda Dean, Director External and Government Relations, IBC Atlantic.  

You can protect your property with these tips:

  • Keep floor drains clear of obstructions.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.
  • Check all faucets for dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent replacement of washers may be in need of repair.
  • If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
  • If you will be away from home during the winter for more than three days, drain the plumbing or arrange to have someone come in and check your home to ensure that your heat is on.
  • Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, make a note to repair or replace in the spring.
  • Examine attic for frost accumulation. Check roof for ice dams or icicles. If there is excessive frost or staining of the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface, consult the tips from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for practical solutions.
  • Keep snow clear of oil tanks, gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents, basement windows and chimneys. Consult with an appropriate contractor or your gas utility for information on how to safely deal with any ice problems you may discover.
  • Ensure tree and shrub branches are well away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home.