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Get your home winter-ready to avoid insurance claims

(NC) Cozying up by the fireplace. Building snow forts in the backyard. Enjoying a movie. There are lots of things to love about spending the Canadian winter tucked in at home. Filing a home insurance claim isn’t one of those things.

Follow these tips to get your home winter ready so that you can enjoy another snow-filled season at home – without worrying about the unexpected.

Check, clear and clean your exterior
Making sure the exterior of your home is well-kept is a key step in preparing for winter. So, before freezing temperatures become an everyday reality, clear your eaves of leaves and other debris to prevent ice dams from forming. Drain and shut off your exterior water lines to avoid water damage from frozen and burst pipes.

Now’s also a good time to inspect the weatherstripping around your doors and windows. Finding and fixing cracks or openings helps to prevent heat loss, which is good for your utility bill and the integrity of your home.

Do an interior safety checkup
Interior fire safety and air quality are important all year long, but adding a checkup to your winter-prep list can ensure that everything is in tip-top shape.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re working. And, while you’re up on the ladder, make note of each detector’s expiry date. Depending on the model, they should be replaced every five to 10 years.

Next, make sure your fire extinguishers are in good working order and easy to access. If you don’t have fire extinguishers, add them to the top of your shopping list. Be sure to familiarize yourself and other family members with when and how to use them properly.

With safety on the mind, you can also consider getting a long-term radon test kit and detector. Ventilation, entry points, drains and even soil composition can impact your exposure to radon, a potentially cancer-causing gas created when naturally occurring uranium breaks down. The lowest level of your home is the best place to install a detector. Regularly monitoring it can keep you and your family safe.

Inspect your furnace and other heating appliances
With winter knocking and cold temperatures on the way, routine checks and maintenance of your furnace are essential to ensure it’s operating efficiently and safely – so you can stay warm and toasty all season.

For a basic DIY inspection, check that the area around the furnace is clear of objects and debris, look at the pipes and fittings for any signs of deterioration and make sure your filters are replaced on the schedule recommended by the manufacturer. An annual inspection and cleaning by a qualified service technician is also recommended.

If you have wood-burning heating appliances and fireplaces in your home, you’ll want to hire a certified chimney inspector to examine and clean them before you start using them. This reduces your risk of a chimney-related fire.

Find more tips on how to protect your home throughout the year at

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