How to protect your home from extreme weather

February 12th, 2015 by admin

On February 9, an extreme cold warning was issued for Northern New Brunswick. With the recent spell of cold weather and heavy snow, there's a greater likelihood of power outages and flooding, among other severe weather risks. Deirdre Sullivan of Houselogic provides homeowners with tips for guarding against these problems in a recent article. 

Prepare for Power Outages

With extreme weather on the rise, public utilities have become more vulnerable. Sullivan cites the fact that in the U.S. blackouts have doubled since 2003 as a result of extreme weather events. Consequently thousands of customers have been left without power for days, and in some cases even weeks.

Just one month ago, in early January in Quebec, 150,000 residents were left without electricity due to heavy snowfall, which led to falling tree branches and damaged power cables.

Luckily there is a solution: Installing a standby generator. Sullivan expands on the advantages generators offer:

"You'll have electricity to run essential appliances and your central air system," she writes. "It can even reduce your chances of flood damage by keeping your sump pump running. It's permanently installed outside your home and fueled by liquid propane or natural gas. Since it's wired directly into your home's electrical system, it can automatically restore power in seconds."

Typically the price of the generator is based on the size of your home and the wattage required. A 14,000-watt model will run you roughly $3,300, while a 50,000-watt model usually costs around $16,000, Sullivan says.

If you are searching for a more affordable option, you can look into portable generators, which are fueled by gasoline or propane and can provide enough energy to power a few appliances and some lights. Prices for portable generators tend to start around $299. 

Retrofit for Flooding

Both in Canada and the U.S., flooding is the costliest natural disaster. Back in July of 2014, we reported that water damage surpassed fire as the main cause of loss in much of Canada, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Accordingly, it is vital that you flood-proof your home. Sullivan says that the best way to protect your home against flooding is with a flooding retrofit. 

Here is what you can do:

  • Elevate your home, ensuring that the lowest floor is at or above flood level.
  • Dry flood-proof your home. The goal should be that it can withstand floodwaters for at least 72 hours. "This involves making the portion of a home that's below flood level watertight using materials like concrete," Sullivan explains. 
  • Wet flood-proof your house. This means making changes that minimize the damage potential floodwater could cause inside your home's structure.

While there's also the option of relocating your home to higher ground, that is not usually feasible for most homeowners. 

Before you start retrofitting, always confirm that the upgrades you plan to make are in accordance with the requirements of your province or territory. Your insurance provider can also guide you in the process and offer advice. It's also a good idea to compile a home inventory list if your home should incur significant flooding damage, and you need to replace items. 

Fundy Mutual is here to assist you this winter and year-round. Headquartered in Sussex, New Brunswick, we have been serving the insurance needs of customers in the region for over 70 years. Contact us today for a home or auto insurance quote