With the weather hitting -50’C last week. It was a nice reminder of how fortunate we are to not have any mosquitos nearby. That being said, a lot can go wrong at these temperatures. Vehicle trouble, heating problems in the house, power outages – equipment does not like to work in these temperatures.
We are lucky we live in a place where we have people/companies who are quick to respond to emergencies or we have access to backup heating appliances to protect ourselves from these types of problems. Here are some insurance tips to make sure you’re prepared for these “conditions.”
- Leaving for extended time
If you are leaving on a vacation or for an extended period of time, you must either drain your water lines or line up someone to check on your house daily. This is to make sure if your heat goes out, that your water lines do not freeze and rupture. A day or two of minus 40 and a house can cool down in a hurry. These are requirements of most insurance companies when leaving your house for more than a couple days during the heating season. Some thermostats & smart home systems allow you to monitor the temperature of your house from your cell phone.
- Backup heating system
If you live in a rural area, sometimes the power can go out for an extended timeframe before it gets fixed. In the rural areas, your heat is usually limited to electric, oil, or propane; and most furnaces run on electricity so unless you have a backup generator, your furnace will not run without power. Therefore, many people install a wood stove, fireplace or some type of auxiliary heat in their house as a backup for these scenarios. If you decide to install a wood burning appliance, please contact your insurance broker beforehand to see how this will affect your insurance. If you have an old fireplace you haven’t used in while, make sure you have it cleaned properly before you fire it up.
- Power Outages
As already mentioned, power outages can directly affect the heating in your house. There are other areas it can affect, such as keeping your fridge and deep freezers running (in winter this shouldn’t be a problem), keeping your block heaters going in your vehicles that are plugged in outside, etc. In rural areas again, there are other important areas such as the watering bowls for your cattle, or septic tank systems for your sewer that relies on power to pump out the tank which will prevent a sewer backup. It might be worth looking into a power source such as a generator or something that would backup your power for these types of situations.
When everything runs great, we never have to worry about any of these things. However, these extreme temperatures can cause a ton of problems. We need to be prepared for them. We live in Canada and we should know that -10’C is a dream temperature. We live in reality and the temperatures can change drastically overnight. All the more reason to hire your neighbour to check on your house and fly to Mexico. 🙂