Prevent Water Damage

housework dreams.

When water damage strikes, the wreckage can be as fast as lightning, as destructive as a windstorm and as costly as your last reno job. But there are measures homeowners can take to protect their properties. Here’s how:

Protect Your Home – In the event of a flood or sewer back-up, there’s no peace of mind quite like insurance coverage. Typically, insurance for water damage depends on where you live and your home’s construction. Many plans include coverage for certain types of water damage such as sewer back-up, while protection for other types of damage such as flooding may need to be purchased as extra. Check your policy!

Basements – To help prevent basement flooding install a sump pump. To protect your home from sewer water damage, you may also want to install a sewer backflow value.

Foundation and Exterior Walls – Seal cracks and holes in external walls, joints, and foundations. Pay close attention to areas where piping or wiring extends through the outside walls.

Outside Precautions –Be sure that downspouts direct water well away from your home’s foundation. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of leaves, dirt and other debris. Ensure proper grading around your home. Vines should be kept off all exterior walls, because they can help open cracks in the siding, which allows moisture or insects to enter the house. Make sure your roof is in good shape and that shingles are secure. Check windows and doors for leaks, too.

Indoor Precautions – Pay attention to higher than normal water bills. This could be from a broken pipe and can lead to structural damage, if left undetected. Get into the habit of occasionally checking for leaks at your water supply line, pipes and under bathroom and kitchen sinks.

Check around appliances and fixtures that use water such as dishwashers and toilets. Look at the water supply lines and check for corrosion on fittings and valves. Listen for the sound of dripping water or the refilling of your toilet water supply.

Take notice of discoloured, cracked or warped flooring as this can be a sign of a water leak. Be sure to inspect rooms directly below bathrooms. Look for stains on walls or ceilings or a musty smell. Know where your water shut-off valve is located in case you need to turn off the water in an emergency.

To help prevent water from freezing in pipes on extremely cold days, leave kitchen and bathroom cabinets open to expose pipes to warmer air.

Jennifer Birch

Winterizing your pool


If ever there was the perfect year to install a pool at home, 2016 was it! This summer brought with it fantastic weather for pool owners across Ontario. Plenty of hot, humid days and warm evenings meant lots of opportunity for enjoying a refreshing oasis in your own backyard.

Now, as the summer months wrap up for another year, it’s time to start thinking about closing the pool. Here are the steps you will have to tackle to prepare your pool for the long winter ahead.

1. Add a winterizing chemical kit to balance the water’s chemistry for the winter season. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always take measures to protect your hands, eyes and lungs from the harsh chemicals.

2. Shock the water with an extra strong chlorine or a non-chlorine substitute to kill bacteria, and the fungi and algae that may be living in the pool. Be sure to keep everyone out of the pool for a few days.

3. Clean the pool. Remove all equipment, including ladders, baskets, filters, etc., rinse off all equipment and lay out to dry completely. Skim the pool, vacuum and brush the water line.

4. Drain the water to appropriate level. The water line should be at least a few inches below the skimmer. To avoid damage to your expensive equipment over the winter, make sure to thoroughly drain pumps, filters, heaters and chlorinators. Use a shop vac or air compressor to blow out every last drop of water.

5. Be sure to blow out the plumbing lines as well and use plugs to ensure no more water enters them.

6. Cover the pool as tightly as possible to prevent debris and rainwater from entering. You can use air pillows to hold the cover up in the centre, allowing debris and moisture to slide off.

7. After equipment has dried completely, safely store indoors if possible.

Closing Day Preparations


You bought a home! Congratulations! Your offer was accepted, the home inspection went well and all the conditions have been met…so what’s next on your to-do list? Other than packing of course, there are a number of steps you’ll need to take in preparation of the big day:

The first is to get your lawyer involved. Your real estate professional will fax the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to your lawyer, who will then complete a variety of tasks on your behalf – checking title, preparing the land transfer, etc.

You will need to provide all necessary documents to your mortgage lender.

Arrange for homeowner’s insurance to begin the day of closing. You can often get a discount for “bundling” so check rates with your auto and/or life insurance provider first.

If you are a renter, give ample notice to your landlord.

Call the local utility companies to set up hydro, water, gas, cable, telephone, etc.

Inform all necessary parties of your upcoming change of address – credit card companies, magazine subscriptions, the Ministry of Transportation, Canada Revenue Agency, insurance company, employer, etc. You can also arrange through the post office for all of your mail to be redirected to your new address for a specified period of time.

Start saving. As tempting as it is to go out and buy furniture, décor items and more for your new house, closing day will bring with it some hefty costs, including legal fees, hook-up charges, moving costs, and more.

Arrange for a final walk-through at your new address. Your real estate professional will accompany you as you tour the home for one last time before moving day. Bring a tape measure to check room sizes!

A day or two before closing, you will meet with your lawyer to sign all necessary documents.

Finally, when the big day arrives, your lawyer will contact you when you can pick up the keys to your new home!

Jennifer Birch