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Home Insurance

How to Protect Your Home for Winter

By Rebecca Lake • Published January 22, 2024 • 5 Min Read

Making sure your home is ready for the winter will cost you some time and sometimes a little money but it's always worth the effort.

Ever notice how things go south at the most inconvenient times? Welcome to winter. Missed out on cleaning the gutters? Brace yourself for some potential ice-induced drama. And those breezy windows and doors? They’re practically inviting your heating bill to skyrocket.

Similar to maintaining a trusty vehicle, a winter home requires seasonal upkeep. Furnaces demand a check, chimneys cry out for a clean, and gaps in windows beg for sealing. When getting ready for winter year after year, these tasks transform from burdens to dependable rituals.

Key takeaways

  • Your home requires seasonal upkeep to protect it from the elements.

  • Do both an indoor and an outdoor inspection to ensure your home is ready for winter.

  • Your home is one of your most important assets, so consider going beyond seasonal inspections and safeguard it with the right type of insurance.

    How to prepare your home outside for winter

    Here are some ways to make sure the outside of your home and its surrounding property is ready for the colder months.

    Inspect the roof

    Missing a shingle or two? Spot-check your roof, especially after those gusty autumn days, because missing and damaged shingles can cause leaks. Consider a professional once-over for a more thorough examination. If you’ve got critters eyeing your roof as their winter home, maybe it’s time to get professional intervention. You definitely don’t want uninvited guests over the holidays.

    Clean the gutters

    Debris-free gutters aren’t just an esthetic choice; they’re also your home’s first defence against water damage. Ensure those downspouts usher away water, protecting your home’s foundation.

    Insulate all your windows and doors

    Feel a draft? Seal those gaps and consider installing weatherstripping. And assess the overall health of your window frames. They play a bigger role than just looking pretty by preventing drafts and leaks, and keeping things energy efficient.

    Clean your landscaping and prep irrigation systems

    Prep your garden for its winter slumber. Prune trees to keep stray and damaged branches away from your home, stash your gardening tool kit to keep it in working order, and winterize those irrigation systems.

    Drain your spigot and pipes

    Unhooking and properly draining water from hoses is essential to prevent freezing and subsequent damage to spigots and pipes. Avoid expensive repairs by ensuring all water is removed from hoses after each use, safeguarding your plumbing system against potential freezing-related issues.

    Inspect your walls and siding

    A quick evaluation of these can make a world of difference. Boost your home’s warmth quotient by insulating walls and the attic. You may also want to touch up paint, where needed, adding a fresh, winter-ready look.

    Inspect your driveway and walkways

    Address those cracks to keep things level and set up proper drainage, so water doesn’t pool, leaving your walkways as skating rinks. Ice is great in a glass of eggnog, but not on your driveway.

    Get the necessary tools and products

    When winter arrives, it’s essential to be prepared with the necessary tools and products to tackle the challenges it brings. A sturdy snow shovel takes centre stage, ensuring efficient snow removal from driveways and walkways. For larger areas, a snow blower can be a valuable investment, quickly clearing snow with ease. Insulated and waterproof gloves protect your hands from the cold and moisture while you’re shovelling or handling icy surfaces. Bolster traction on icy surfaces with salt, a winter warrior against slippery pathways. Additionally, keep a stash of sand to enhance traction and prevent slips.

    How to prepare your home inside for winter

    The inside of your home needs some TLC before winter, too. Read on for some ways you can ensure things will be cozy and safe in time for the first snowfall.

    Inspect your attic

    Exposed joists can be energy drainers. A little foam or fibrefill insulation might do the trick.

    Check your basement foundation

    A little crack can snowball into a major issue. Insulate exposed pipes, so they don’t freeze, and address gaps around exposed ductwork to keep out drafts.

    Examine your furnace or boiler

    An outage on a cold night? A malfunction—or worse—a boiler leak or rupture? No thanks! Hire an expert to check that everything is running smoothly and remember to replace those filters.

    Check your sump pump

    If you have one, now’s the time for that once-a-year check to ensure everything is running smoothly and to help prevent flooding. It’s better to be safe than soggy.

    Inspect your chimney and fireplace

    A professional cleaning of these enviable features could help you have safe and heartwarming fires all season long.

    Consider a programmable thermostat

    This is a smart way to keep your home toasty and running efficiently, allowing you to set specific temperatures for specific times (such as lowering it while you’re sleeping, for example) and adjust the temp while you’re away from home.

    Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors

    This is definitely not something you want to leave off the list. Make sure the batteries in your smoke detector are fresh.

    Remember, the goal here isn’t just to winterize your home; it’s about creating a cozy and safe winter home. And while you’re at it, home maintenance tips go beyond just physical checks. It’s the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve covered all your bases. Your home is one of your most important assets, and safeguarding this haven with insurance is smart, too. Reach out to RBC Insurance at 1-877-749-7224 for comprehensive home insurance coverage.

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*Home and auto insurance products are distributed by RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. and underwritten by Aviva General Insurance Company. In Quebec, RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. Is registered as a damage insurance agency. As a result of government-run auto insurance plans, auto insurance is not available through RBC Insurance in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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