Winter is here, and the frigid temperatures can be challenging for Canadians. We experience some of the most extreme winter weather in the world, usually in the form of winter storms and extreme cold. Freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and ice build-ups can result in significant property damage for homeowners.
To help Canadians protect their homes, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) recommends the following tips:
1. Prevent roof damage or collapse after a big snowfall or freezing rain
First, determine if your roof is susceptible to snow or ice build-up — the flatter the slope, the higher the risk. If you have ice build-up, clear any loose snow and ice then make a drainage path, or use electric heating cables or chemical deicers to get the ice to melt and run off. Ice dams -— ridges of ice that develop at the edge of your roof and prevent snow or ice from melting off your roof — occur when heat escapes from inside your house. Ensure there are no penetrations that could allow warm air to leak from inside your house into the attic.
2. Winterize your plumbing system
Frozen pipes are a significant source of damage for homeowners, because when a pipe freezes, water can back up and the pipe can burst. Insulate any outdoor pipes, and make sure to seal any air leaks that could expose interior pipes to cold air. Don’t forget to drain the pipes between the indoor valves and outdoor faucets. If you know there’s an extremely cold snap ahead, open your taps to allow a drip of water to keep the pipes active.
3. Be prepared for power outages
One of the more common causes of frozen pipes are power outages, as temperatures can dip in the home, causing vulnerable pipes to freeze. If your home or area is susceptible to power outages, ensure you always have a back-up power supply such as a generator. If you do find yourself without water, swiftly turn off the main water valve coming into your house and open all taps to clear the remaining water in the pipes.