Kid shoveling snow with her dog biting the shovel handle.

December 17, 2016

6 steps to winter home safety

1 min read


Here comes winter and that means snow and ice, cold days and even colder nights. Making a few preparations now will help you avoid insurance claims while you and your family stay safe and warm no matter what this Ontario winter throws at us.

1) Insulate any exposed water pipes

Temperatures below 0°C can really cause damage to exposed water pipes if they are not sufficiently insulated to prevent freezing. Water pipes running through your garage or in an attic or crawl space are particularly vulnerable to freezing. You can protect them with an insulation sleeve, which are available at hardware stores. In addition, backyard or outdoor faucets should be drained of water after shutting off their water supply. As an added precaution, you may wish to turn off the water supply completely if you’re going to be away for any extended length of time.

2) Keep your walkways clear

It’s not just nice to clear the ice, it can also prevent a lawsuit from someone who might slip and fall on your walkway that hadn’t been shoveled within a reasonable time. The same rule may apply to clearing sidewalks on your property depending on your municipal bylaws.

3) Inspect your furnace or heating system

No matter how you heat your home, whether it is a furnace, wood stove or heat pump, it is always a good idea to have it professionally inspected each year before the cold weather arrives.

4) Get the fireplace ready for use

There’s nothing like sitting beside a crackling fireplace, enjoying the warmth while the snow flies outside but you’ll enjoy it more knowing it is safe to use. Take a look at the chimney outside in case there are any cracks or decaying bricks. Also look inside your chimney for signs of animals or accumulation of soot. Scheduling it to be professionally cleaned and inspected once a year is the safest way to take care of a fireplace, and a key to fire prevention in the home.

5) Install new batteries in smoke alarms

It’s not surprising to hear that the number of house fires increases during the winter. So be sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, which by law must be installed on every floor of your home and immediately outside of sleeping areas.

6) Check all windows

You can lose a lot of heat through windows that are not properly sealed or insulated. Even the best windows with double or triple panes of glass can still have a draft coming in. If you can feel a draft, you can easily get a sealing kit and quickly install plastic film on the inside of each window. This will reduce your heating bills as well as keep you warmer.

OK, this last tip has nothing to do with insurance, but it will save you money on your heating bills and help keep you warm, so you’re welcome.

Home insurance advice and savings

We can help you avoid home insurance claims and save money too. Feel free to contact the expert home insurance brokers at Mitch by calling 1-800-731-2228 or emailing

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