Preventing Water Damage to Your Home in the Winter

Preventing Water Damage to Your Home in the Winter

There is no season in Calgary or greater Alberta when your home is safe from water damage. Although the Bow and Elbow Rivers likely won’t be spilling their banks this winter, if something goes wrong with the water management systems of your house you can easily be on the hook for a great deal of cost and a potential insurance claim.

The Threat of Burst Pipes

Though we live in southern Alberta, the Arctic has been known to import its temperatures to us without much warning. Especially following a prolonged power outage that has knocked your central heat offline, you face the possibility of frozen water supply pipes bursting from ice expansion.

When frozen, water expands its volume by about a tenth. Your pipes were not designed to handle this extra volume and are prone to splitting, which leads to a nasty leakage problem when the ice blockage melts away. Think for a moment on how fast you can fill your tub with just a modest faucet. Now imagine the main water supply pipe filling your basement that fast or even faster.

Bow Valley reminds you that if you have a basement, a drain fitted with a sump pump is an excellent preventive measure against water damage from whatever source. It’s also a good idea to outfit your home with backflow valves so that if Calgary’s storm water and sewage systems or water pumping stations get inundated during any season the back pressure cannot invade your pipes and surge up through your drains and toilets.

If you are going to be gone from your home for any extended time during the winter, it’s a good idea to turn off your main water & drain the water from the pipes by opening the faucet located in the lowest part of the house. You should also have someone actively checking your property every day that you are absent.

Failing all that, make sure you have a complete inventory of your possessions and ensure you know whether you have a cash value or replacement value homeowners policy in place.

Environmental Water Hazards

One preventable problem that causes thousands of dollars in damage to homes in southern Alberta every winter is the ice dam. Ice dams are a hardened lip of ice that forms at the edge of your roof or in your gutters.

In an inadequately insulated house, escaped heat can melt snow from the roof to back up on behind the edge of the ice dam. If you don’t have a waterproof membrane installed under your shingles, this backed up melt water can attack the plywood edges of the roof and allow rivulets of water to flow into your home mostly unseen.

Even a properly functioning gutter system can become a flooding problem if the water in the downspouts is not well managed. Rain gutter water should ideally be managed away from your house and out to the storm drains of the street. If your downspouts have to drain into your yard, make sure they are maintained and well away from your home’s foundation, especially if you have a basement that hasn’t been properly water sealed against seepage.

Contact Bow Valley for a Home Insurance Quote

Limiting your claims made history is one way to save money on your home insurance policy. Another is to fill out our handy home evaluation form and then let the power of the market work for you. Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary is an independent broker for the competing product lines of fifteen nationally recognized insurance companies all of who are competing for your business.