Power lines fell, pushing 100,000 Canadians to seek shelter and warmth in hotels, homes of friends and family, and makeshift shelters. Historica Canada’s Canadian Encyclopedia explains that in response, the Canadian Forces sent 16,000 military personnel to assist, the largest peacetime deployment in our history. Deemed the greatest natural disaster in Canadian history, the estimated damage to homes and cars neared $800 million.
Many of us remember the Ice Storm of 1998, and it serves as a reminder that no one can predict the weather. The World Health Organization explains that our changing global climate correlates with even less predictable weather.
Though ice storms can be a little intimidating, bracing your home properly can set your mind at ease, and can reduce the chances of damage requiring an insurance claim.
Here are seven ways to help protect your property from the effects of an ice storm:
1. Get a Gutter Guard
Normally, when your gutters overflow or get blocked by ice, water gets pushed over the edge and collects around the foundation. This can lead to seepage into the basement, which is something every homeowner wants to avoid. Gutter guards are something that can be added to your existing gutters. Not only do they help keep foliage out during other seasons, but they also prevent frozen ice in your gutters from causing the water overflow that can lead to the aforementioned issues.
2. Cut Down Precarious Branches
Take a look at the trees near your home. Are there branches low enough or close enough to cause damage if they fell? If so, you may want to consider getting a ladder and using a chainsaw to cut those potentially precarious branches. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, hire someone to do it for you.
3. Weather Strip Your Windows
There are many different weather stripping varieties available at your local hardware store. Sealing your windows prior to an ice storm can prevent water from leaking in. As a bonus, it can save you 10 to 15 per cent on your energy bills each month.
4. Let The Taps Drip
Normally, a dripping tap isn’t seen as a good thing because it’s a waste of water and can be a signal of a plumbing issue. During an ice storm, this is something you actually want to initiate. By letting your taps drip just slightly while the blizzard is blazing through, you help prevent your home’s pipes from freezing and potentially bursting. Burst pipes usually require homeowners to file an insurance claim. Here’s how to file a natural disaster claimif this or anything else happens to your home during an ice storm. If your pipes do end up freezing, here’s what to do.
5. Add Extra Layers of Insulation
Purchase and install extra insulation to protect the “extremities” of your home i.e. the attic and the basement. In the same way that our bodies lose heat from our heads and feet, the same is true for our homes! Adding an extra layer or two to these already insulated areas can also help prevent your pipes from freezing. You could also consider insulating your garage.
6. Clear Your Pool Cover
If you own a pool or hot tub, remove the snow from the cover prior to the anticipated ice storm. You may want to do this even before a snowstorm, as the leftover snow can morph into ice and the weight can wreak havoc on your pool or hot tub.
7. Unplug If Necessary
In the case of a power outage, be sure to unplug all your appliances, leaving one light on to inform you of when the power returns. The reason for this is that additional power surges during an outage can damage your appliances, which is the last thing you need. Here’s a helpful guide on how to prepare for a power outage.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.