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How to Avoid the Home Hazards of Winter

ice dam


Everyone knows that energy costs go up in the winter, and we’ve already covered the simple ways to save on heating costs during the coldest months of the year. But winter also brings with it many hidden home hazards that could potentially lead to injury or substantial costs if you don’t take the necessary steps to prevent them. Here’s how you can avoid the home hazards of winter:


Fallen Branches


With all of the ice and snow that we’re used to getting in Canada, there’s always a risk that trees and branches around your home could fall without notice. In order to avoid the risk of injury and the cost of potential damage to your home or automobile, consider trimming back any trees that hang close to your home, and having rotting or sick trees removed entirely.


Fire Hazards


Secondary heating sources are a common source of comfort when the weather turns frightful. Wood stoves and fireplaces are popular appliances during the winter, but using a flame inside the home is always a risk, so make sure to keep a watchful eye on any open flame. Get your chimney cleaned annually to avoid the risk of fire, and always open your flue the whole way to keep the air flow in proper order.


Frozen Pipes


During the winter, your home’s pipes could be at risk of freezing and even breaking, potentially leading to flooding and other costly problems. Insulating your pipes, dripping your faucets, and sealing air leaks are all effective ways of preventing your pipes from freezing, and preventing frozen pipes from breaking.


Ice Dams


Icicles that hang along the eaves of your house might look beautiful, but they could also potentially spell trouble. That’s because snow-covered roofs and freezing weather also lead to ice dams, which are thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams could tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. Have as much snow as you can removed from your roof by a professional, add more insulation to your attic, and try using heated cables that attach along the roof’s edge with clips and heat it from the outside.


Holiday Disasters


Christmas decorations and lights add a festive ambience to your home during the holiday season, along with an increased risk of injury or damage to your property. Consider these safety tips to avoid holiday disasters:


  • Don’t string together too many lights on one extension cord;
  • Unplug any lights before going to sleep or leaving the house;
  • Throw away lights that have frayed insulation or bare wire;
  • Keep the Christmas tree far from any heat source; and
  • Buy a safety-checked artificial tree or a natural, fresh tree with green needles that don’t fall off when touched.


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