The Co-operators – Spring Clean Up: Five Tips to Protect your Home

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GUELPH, ON, April 3, 2012 – Spring is here and it is time for one of Canadians’ annual rituals: the spring cleanup. While raking the leaves and tidying the basement, take the time to perform some maintenance. There are plenty of things you can do to protect not only your home but also your possessions and the well-being of your family.

“In many cases, damage to homes could be prevented through proper maintenance,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Taking a little time each spring to protect your property can go a long way towards avoiding costly repairs.”

Following the five tips below will help you do just that.

  1. Fix the roof while the sun is shining. Spring is a great time to have your roof checked. Loose shingles should be repaired and holes should be patched. Make sure eavestroughs and downspouts aren’t clogged with debris or damaged by ice build-up.
  2. Give your home that “lived-in” look. Before leaving home for your summer vacation, taking a few steps can make your absence less apparent to potential thieves. Ask a neighbour to check your home periodically. This is probably a requirement of your insurance policy. Ask the post office and newspaper to halt deliveries while you’re away. Using a timer is a cheap and effective way to turn lights and radios on and off.
  3. Keep your basement dry. Reduce the risk of spring water damage by installing a backwater valve or sump pump, depending on your circumstances. Consider adding backflow protection devices for basement showers, toilets, drains and sinks. Make sure the foundation drain and eavestrough downspouts aren’t connected to the sanitary sewer; downspouts should extend several feet away from the house.
  4. Control moisture. Most home insurance policies do not include coverage for mould. It can damage your property and cause health problems, particularly to those with asthma or allergies. Controlling indoor moisture is the best way to prevent mould, which forms on moist areas like bathroom walls, basements and window frames. If you discover mould, hire a professional experienced in removing it safely.
  5. Check alarms regularly. Most deaths and injuries from house fires occur while people are sleeping. This is why smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling of every floor including basements, and outside all sleeping areas. Use only smoke alarms approved by the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Every home should also have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm on a wall (rather than ceiling) outside sleeping areas and on each level. Test all your alarms monthly, and change the batteries regularly. Try to get into the routine of replacing the batteries when adjusting your clocks in the spring and fall.

About The Co-operators

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is ranked #1 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights, and listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada. As a proud member and supporter of the co-operative sector, The Co-operators is pleased to celebrate 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. For more information visit