The ultimate guide to Manitoba spring
In Manitoba, it can seem like winter will go on and on. The freezing cold temperatures and the seemingly never-ending snowfalls are enough to make anybody go a little ‘bananas’. And, although there’s so much to do and see in the wintertime, by the time February, March, and April roll around, we all start to dream of warmer weather and sunshine. Are we the only ones who have a countdown to summer on our phones?
But, as any smart Manitoban knows, there is a little transition between winter and summer. Obviously, we’re talking about spring. From upkeeping your sump pump and understanding spring melt, to backyard preparation and spring cleaning, there is lots to do and know during spring.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer or new to Canada, navigating a Manitoba spring can be a tricky territory. But, have no fear! We’ve put together the ultimate guide to Manitoba Spring to help you conquer the season because it’s not all sunshine and roses. (Although it could be – read below for more!)
Benefits of installing a sump pump (if you don’t already have one)
A sump pump offers innumerable benefits. First and foremost, it prevents flooding in your basement, protects your basement appliances (like your washer and dryer), improves air quality within your home, and can even prevent mold and mildew.
If you live in an older home that does not have a sump pump, the benefits above (in addition to peace of mind!) are reason enough to think about installing one.
Keep in mind there are different types of sump pumps, so we recommend speaking to a professional to make sure you’re purchasing and installing the correct one for your home and basement.
You need to maintain your sump pump
Like anything that protects you in your home (like a smoke detector, for example), you need to maintain your sump pump, especially in the springtime. For example, you’re going to want to check for rust, leakage, or even listen for odd sounds (this could mean the motor is failing). To check the motor, lift the cover and pull up the float. If it’s not running or it’s making an odd noise, you’re going to want to speak to a professional straight away.
Know when to get a new one
Sump pumps typically last anywhere between five and fifteen years, even if they are consistently maintained. If you know your sump pump is getting to that age, again, you’ll want to speak to a professional. Plus, if you’ve been doing your due diligence over the years, you’ll be able to tell right away if it’s time to get a new one. We recommend thinking ahead and budgeting the cost of a sump pump early on, so you’re not surprised when the time comes. This could be anywhere between $1500 and $2500, but of course, speak to a professional to get a more specific quote for your situation.
Did you know sump pumps can’t run on their own during a power outage? If you find yourself during a major storm and the power has gone out, having a non-functioning sump pump won’t do you any good. This means you’ll need to also invest in a battery or generator to run your sump pump in times of emergency. Better to be safe than sorry!
Understanding the insurance implications
Although you don’t need a sump pump to get home insurance, if you want to increase the sewer backup coverage on your policy, then it may be required.
If you have a sump pump installed in your home, you may be able to add sewer backup coverage to your home insurance policy. This extra protection covers damages if your sump pump fails. If you’re interested in sewer backup coverage, check with your broker if it’s an option for you. Availability of sewer backup coverage could depend on factors such as, whether you have had previous losses or if you have a backwater valve installed in the mainline of the dwelling.
As we say in the insurance industry, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, no matter the outlook predictions.
First, what is the difference between overland and ground flooding?
Overland flooding can happen when there is too much water around your home due to poor drainage seeping inside through windows or doors. Ground flooding is when water seeps into your home through foundation walls.
In addition to having a sump pump (see above), protect your home from the hazards of spring melt by doing the following:
- Shovel snow away from the edge of your house
- Don’t move leaves or grass into the street – it could clog sewers
- Make sure your sump pump drains away from your home
- Prop basement appliances off the floor, so they don’t get damaged by water
- Don’t store belongings in cardboard boxes on your basement floor
- Hire a professional to remove ice from your home’s roof
Know your coverage options
One exception to a comprehensive home insurance policy is overland flooding coverage. It’s not automatically included in policies. The good news is, depending on where you live, you may be able to add this as an extension to your home insurance. Some companies also offer groundwater coverage to cover damages from water seeping through your foundation.
If you’re interested in overland flood coverage, one of our property insurance specials would be happy to check if it’s an option for your home.
Finally, to prepare for a flood evacuation, you’ll want to:
- Review the flood evacuation checklist from the Manitoba Government
- Have a plan for your pets in case of an evacuation
- Learn how to secure materials such as propane, petroleum, and any other hazardous materials you may have in your home or garage
Making your backyard amazing
Now that we’ve gone through the serious and important business, spring is also about freshening up the spaces where we relax and unwind, like your backyard and garden. As the temperatures get warmer and the snow starts to melt, keep these tips in mind to make the most out of your precious outdoor spaces.
The perfect spring pastime! Here are some tips to get you started.
- Before you begin, plan your garden, utilizing tools such as the Manitoba Community Gardener’s Guidebook and the Farmer’s Almanac Planting Calendar. If you’re new to Manitoba, these are great resources for getting started!
- Clean your garden of dead leaves and weeds.
- Wash and disinfect your gardening tools! We know they’ll get dirty, but they could carry bugs or diseases that may harm your plants, so give them a good scrub.
- In late winter / early spring, you can begin pruning. This is the perfect time to prune back old wood because you can see the branch structure well, and you can shape the plant before the buds break dormancy and the plant starts investing energy in its branches.
- Once the frost has lifted, prepare your soil by tilling or turning it. Then, add compost or amendments. Lastly, rake the soil and water it to release air pockets.
- Plant what you can early or begin planting indoors to get a head start. Again, you’ll want to review Manitoba-based resources so you’re not making any mistakes.
Gardening not your thing? You’ll still want to take care of your lawn for maximum spring and summer enjoyment. Here are some quick steps to get started. As always, we recommend consulting a professional or your local home and garden store for more information and guidance.
- First things first, prep your lawn equipment. Hall your equipment out of storage and inspect for rust or other deformities. Replace what is broken or clean what is dirty. You’ll also want to tune up your lawnmower, ie. sharpen the blades, replace spark plugs, replace old oil, and grease all necessary areas.
- Just like with gardening, you’ll want to remove any unnecessary leaves or weeds from your lawn. Tip – A good high-quality rake will do wonders.
- Stop weed growth with a herbicide and add fertilizer to your lawn to release nutrients to help keep your lawn healthy and looking presentable.
- Seed your lawn if it is prone to bare patches due to weeds or insects. People often overlook this step, but by purchasing the right seed for your lawn, you can fix the problem in no time.
- Finally, upkeep your lawn by watering (ensuring the grass stays moist, not wet) and mowing regularly.
Manitoba spring cleaning
This might not be everyone’s favourite chore, but unfortunately, it’s something you need to do every Manitoba spring to keep your home in tip-top shape.
- Procrastinate for a few days, enjoy the nice weather, and get outside!
- Okay, now that’s done, it is time to get down to business. You’ll want to start by doing a general clean of all the rooms in your house. Dust, vacuum, and disinfect every touchable surface in your home, like doorknobs, light switches, handles, computer mouse’s and keyboards, and video game controllers.
- In the kitchen, scrub and disinfect all of your small appliances, like your coffee maker, toaster, and microwave. Don’t forget to get all the crumbs out of your toaster!
- Clean your fridge by taking everything out and scrubbing like it’s nobody’s business. Tip: if they’re small enough, your fridge shelves may fit in the dishwasher. Score!
- You may not be able to see it, but clean underneath your fridge and oven. You’ll be surprised what finds its way down there.
- Clean your oven. Each model is different, so make sure to read your model’s manual to know exactly what to do.
- In the bedrooms, declutter, donate unwanted clothing or toys, wash sheets and bedding, and flip your mattress.
- In the bathroom, clean your toilets, disinfect and scrub the tub, and organize the shelves and drawers. To clean your shower head, you can use regular old white vinegar to dissolve the mineral deposits that tend to build up over winter.
- Vacuum cushions on any of your couches throughout your home.
- Clean your windows throughout your home by mixing ¼ cup of vinegar, two cups of water, and two teaspoons of soap in a spray bottle and use newspaper to scrub. The ink from the newspaper helps create a streak-free clean. Who knew!?
- Lastly, don’t forget about your laundry room. Clean behind your appliances and empty lint traps.
Complete a coverage review for peace of mind.
A lot can change in the span of the year. If you’ve done any recent renovations or taken on any other home projects during the winter, you might want to revisit your home insurance coverage by talking to an insurance specialist at Brio Insurance. It might also be beneficial to speak to someone simply due to the rising costs of lumber and other supplies. We’ll be able to properly assess your coverage to make sure you have the right amount of protection.
Get in touch, request a quote, or book an appointment at the links below.