Not all of us are good at regularly checking the temperatures, and as the weather starts to cool down, it can be hard to know when the pipes are in danger of freezing.
Own an investment property and don’t know if you can trust the tenants to keep the pipes warm?
We often find that a “scare” tactic can get our clients to take action… right away. And when it comes to the potential financial risks associated with water damage… It’s important to pay attention! Let’s not forget that serious water damage could cause you or your tenants to vacate the property. That brings in a whole other set of challenges.
What can you do to keep your and your assets at home safe?
First, check in with your home insurance agent to understand what is and what is not covered when it comes to water and ice damage.
Second, go through the check list below and take action.
Home Damage Prevention Checklist for Winter source
- Ensure your pipes are well insulated
Have a plumber do a preventive check for you before freezing temperatures arrive.
- Inspect your attic, basement and crawl-space pipes
These areas frequently have less insulation than other areas of homes and are therefore more prone to freezing.
- Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees
This measure is particularly important if you have to leave your property vacant for an extended period.
- Weatherproof your home
Ensure windows, doors, vents and other gaps in your building envelope are weather tight.
- Install low-temperature alarms
These are most useful when installed in remote, exposed or vulnerable areas with plumbing.
- Blow out ground and sprinkler plumbing
This action is particularly critical before freezing weather.
- Walk around your house and look for cracks in the exterior walls
Cold air can enter these cracks and cause your pipes to freeze and burst. Use caulk or spray foam sealant to seal any cracks, or call a trusted contractor to fix them for you.
- Invest in leak detection and water flow monitoring technology
You can purchase basic leak sensors for about $50. These will send an alert to your phone or computer if they detect a leak, so you can take immediate action to prevent further damage. Some more expensive systems shut off your water automatically if they detect a leak.
- Open cabinet doors
Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open during cold weather when you’re heating the property.
- Run your water
If the weather gets severely cold, keep a little water running through both your cold and hot water lines.
- Inspect heating appliances yearly
Have boilers, furnaces and water heaters inspected at least annually, but preferably in the fall.
- Trim any trees near your home
Taking this precaution before snow and ice weigh down branches — causing them to break — is crucial.
- Clean sidewalks and other outdoor walkways
Keep sidewalks, walkways and stairs free of snow and ice to reduce the risk of injury and liability.