Dealing with Snow and Ice Around Your Home

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Winter is an inescapable fact of life in Canada. With winter comes the inevitable arrival of cold temperatures and necessary snow removal around your home. Shovelling snow and ice is a safety issue for you and your neighbours, so be diligent. If you have health issues that prevent you from taking part in strenuous activity, consider hiring a neighbour or contacting a volunteer service in your area.

A Good Shovel

The snow shovel will be your main tool in dealing with winter, so invest in a good one.

  • Chose a shovel that is lightweight yet sturdy, with an aluminium or plastic blade. Plastic is lighter, and appropriate for use on softer materials, like wooden decks and porches.
  • A shovel with a smaller blade may seem counter-intuitive, but taking a little extra time picking up smaller loads will help ensure you don't strain yourself, and that you get the job done.
  • Snow shovelling is taxing on the body. An ergonomic, S-shaped shaft on the shovel will require less bending and strain
  • Pushing snow, instead of lifting or throwing it, is the best way to avoid injury while shovelling. When you do have to lift a load of snow, avoid twisting your body, and bend from the knees.
  • Be prepared to shovel often, even while the storm is happening. It is easier to move 5cm of snow several times than it is to move 15 or 20 cms.
  • Finally, it's important not to pile snow around the foundation of your home. Melting water can seep into the foundation and cause cracks when it refreezes. As well, don't pile snow against any wood structures, as they are most susceptible to water damage.

De-Icing

De-icing should not be used as a substitute for shovelling, but it can be a necessary last step in the process. There are a variety of products you can use to help prevent slip-and-falls on ice around your home.

  • Rock salt is the cheapest and most common de-icing option. However, it's bad for plants, uncomfortable for dogs and only works to -10 degrees C.
  • Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride will continue to work down to -30 C and are slightly less likely to damage plant life, but both are more expensive than rock salt.
  • Apply your de-icer to slippery spots, melt-runoff spots, and high traffic areas. Scatter de-icer in a thin layer, low to the ground, so granules bounce and roll into a uniform layer. If you need to do a large area, you can purchase a specialised spreader, but don't use your summertime grass seed spreader: de-icing granules are incompatible with the gears and may cause damage.
  • Kitty litter and sandbox sand (not mason's sand, which is too fine to help with ice) are also options, as they create a gritty layer which helps with traction, though they don't melt ice.

No matter the season, you will need a good home insurance plan. Protect your home with PC® home insurance. Get your free, no-obligation home insurance quote today!

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Need help?

Take a look at the top 5 FAQs:

  • Why should I have home insurance?

    Why should I have home insurance?

    While the government doesn't require you to purchase home insurance, your mortgage-holder probably will - at least enough to cover its share of ownership. There are various kinds of home insurance that cover general and specific kinds of damage to your home, and you should research your options carefully. You can also buy specialized insurance to cover a condominium, home business, or other kind of property or valuables found in your home.

    Home insurance also includes liability coverage for people who are hurt on your property.

  • Why should I buy tenant's insurance when I live in an apartment and don't have many contents or valuables?

    Why should I buy tenant's insurance when I live in an apartment and don't have many contents or valuables?

    Most people would be surprised at the value of their personal property if they were to add it up and have to replace it all immediately. Think about your furniture, clothing, electronic equipment-then try to put a price tag to it all. Also, if you've purchased items on credit and they are stolen or destroyed by fire, you could still have to make the payments.

    Tenants insurance also includes liability insurance for damage the tenants or their guests cause to the building, for injuries in the rented home, etc.

  • How can I earn PC® points?

    How can I earn PC® points?

    When you use your President's Choice Financial® MasterCard® to pay your PC home insurance premium, you'll get 20 PC points per dollar of your premium. If you use your President's Choice Financial bank card to pay your PC home insurance premium, you'll get 10 PC points per dollar of your premium.

  • What is a deductible?

    What is a deductible?

    A deductible is your share of the amount that needs to be paid to cover the repair or replacement of your covered property before your insurance pays the rest.

  • How are premiums calculated?

    How are premiums calculated?

    The building itself has a lot to do with how your home insurance premiums are set. Many things about your home are taken into consideration including:

    • Its age and size
    • Type of building (detached, semi, high rise, etc)
    • Type of construction (brick, stucco, wood, etc)
    • Type of heating system
    • How close it is to a fire hydrant or fire station
    • Where it is located

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