One of the best ways to keep your home insurance premiums manageable is to limit your risk of having to file a claim. All too soon it will be turning cold again in Alberta, and so we encourage homeowners to take some basic steps to get your house and property ready for winter.
Get Your Heating System Serviced
Proper care of your furnace and ducts is pivotal for avoiding breakdown of the furnace during the cold winters and having the ducts cleaned saves on the energy cost plus makes the flow of hot air much more efficient. If you a wood burning fireplace, recall when was the last time you had your chimney cleaned out, and it may be time to have it done again. Creosote build-up in a chimney is a grave winter fire danger to your home. Also, remember to change your furnace air filters once a month when the blower motor is cycling frequently. Be sure to read your manual and completely power down the system before servicing. Never attempt any home servicing or repair that you are not completely comfortable performing.
If your furnace or wood field heating system ever smells “hot” or operates strangely, power it off or extinguish it immediately and call for a professional to check it out.
Don’t Overload Your Electrical System
Another winter fire hazard is one that is most prevalent during the holiday season—electrical overloads and short circuits. The typical Alberta home of relatively modern construction features a central panel of circuit breakers that will trip to “off” when an inordinate load is placed upon a particular electrical circuit. Unlike the old fuse panels, which literally depended upon the metal within the fuse melting apart to break the circuit, it is nearly impossible to overload a new circuit breaker. However, do you know what still relies upon fuses? Holiday light strings. Festooned upon a drying Christmas tree, the fuses within the plugs of these strands will tend to overheat before the electrical panel’s circuit breaker will trip. This phenomenon is why you are advised by the manufacturers of these lights to not daisy chain too many together on the same electrical outlet.
Another way to reduce the electrical load upon your home is to insulate it properly. By sealing up drafts, and making sure your home has adequate wall and overhead insulation you reduce the work your heating system performs, thereby causing the central air motor from working as hard. You’ll also save money in the long term.
Though not as devastating as fires, water presents a constant winter threat to your home if you don’t keep it in check. From uncleared gutters causing ice dams and slick spots on the walks in a post-Chinook thaw/freeze cycle, to polar temperatures causing pipes to burst, to spring melt water inundating a leaky basement or infiltrating a poorly maintained foundation, water presents a constant threat to your home. If your property has drainage problems at either the ground level, basement, or along the roofline, take care of the problem now while it is easier to have contractors fix things. It also takes but a few minutes to properly insulate any supply or drain pipes exposed to cold.
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Contact Bow Valley Insurance
As an insurance broker, we at Bow Valley work with a number of nationally recognized insurance providers to offer the very best coverage options at excellent rates. We can help you assess your homeowners insurance needs, and potentially help you save with a a no obligation quote.