Across Canada, many homeowners and entrepreneurs know the problems that can be associated with cold weather. And while it’s easy to predict that winters can get very cold indeed, coupling that fact with other issues can lead to major problems for their properties. For instance, one area a few hours north of Toronto recently learned the hard way just what can happen when subzero temperatures and lost power combine.
In mid-February, temperatures in and around the Almaguin Highlands in Ontario near Parry Sound dipped close to minus-40 degrees Celsius, just after midnight, according to a report from the Almaguin News. That was when the power failed. And even beyond the severe cold making things uncomfortable for people, the air was so cold that many pipes in homes and businesses alike froze and then burst.
“I was packed,” Irene Chmil, owner of the Caswell Resort and Hotel in nearby Sundridge, Ontario, told the newspaper “I didn’t have a spare bed anywhere. The hardest thing was getting anybody to help. I have one maintenance man but there’s only so much he can do.”
In fact, it took five days for Chmil to get the pipes at her 100-year-old facility fixed, and during that time, the business had to remain closed, the report said. It couldn’t even open its restaurant due to the lack of water. Similar problems were experienced by a grocery store in Sundridge, though they were able to open their doors after a two hour delay because their water systems run on wells. In fact, the cold air was something of a blessing to the store because it kept frozen food unthawed while the power was out.
However, nearby Ha’s Restaurant wasn’t so lucky, the report said. It saw its pump break and water pipes burst, which led to flooding after the power came back on three days later and thawed the system, the report said. All that caused them to remain closed for Valentine’s Day, which is normally one of its busiest days of the year.
And all over the area, homeowners and small business owners alike tell similar stories, the report said. Even a local historical center will be closed for the foreseeable future while water-damaged drywall is replaced.
What’s the lesson?
This confluence of events would have obviously been difficult for any property owners to foresee, but the fact remains that they must be prepared for the unexpected. That should include taking all precautions possible to avoid flood damage and other such issues, but also having the right kind of insurance coverage to insulate owners from the financial burden of dealing with those problems when they arise. The benefit to doing so is significant, both in terms of the financial side of things, and the peace of mind that such coverage provides.
“As the number and severity of storms increase, Canadians, homeowners and business owners alike should be better prepared for weather related losses,” states Karen Roller, Underwriting Director at APRIL Canada. “Back up power generators for restaurants and hotels are essential and battery operated or crank flashlights; radios and cell-phone chargers should be household necessities. Water leak detection devices with back up batteries such as Aquatrip can help also minimize water losses from burst pipes when a homeowner is away or a business is closed.”