Winterproof your home

Winter is just around the corner. Take a few steps to protect your home from damage caused by animals, low temperatures, snow and ice before the mercury starts to drop.

Make sure the drainage in eavestroughs is clear and drain water lines. To prevent ice buildup that can lead to drainage and backflow problems, you should clear leaves and other debris from your eavestroughs and downspouts. Finally, drain all outside plumbing lines, underground sprinkler lines and water lines to your pool to keep pipes from bursting.

Check windows and doors for drafts. Repair or replace the weatherstripping around windows and doors to keep your home draft free and prevent heat loss. At the same time, use caulking to fill any gaps where heat may escape.

Service your heating systems. Get your oil tanks, wood stoves, water heaters and furnaces inspected to make sure they’re working properly. If you use water heating, bleed your radiators to maximize their efficiency and check valves for leaks at the beginning of the heating season. With electric heating, be sure to clean your baseboard heaters to remove dust. For forced air systems, vacuum your air ducts and, if you have a humidifier attached to your furnace, check your owner’s manual for information on how to keep it operating efficiently and prevent mould. Finally, don’t forget your fireplace. Hire a professional to clean your chimney and remove any obstructions so that the smoke flows out, not back into your home.

Send unwelcome guests packing. Don’t let squirrels, bats or other furry friends make your attic their winter hideaway. These visitors can cause fires by chewing through wires or gnawing your cable insulation, so inspect your walls and roof and block any holes where animals could get in. Or hire a professional service to help you.

By being prepared, you can keep your home safe and warm this winter. You can also protect your home with the right insurance coverage from The Co-operators.