As part of the purchasing process, the builder, warranty provider, previous owner or home inspector will likely pass along information on your new home’s maintenance.
After moving in, it’s time to plan for the seasonal and yearly maintenance, as well as monitor for signs of defects that can be addressed through your warranty policy. You are expected to know your home’s warranty protection periods, provide maintenance as required, submit warranty claims for issues that emerge, and work with the builder or warranty provider to address defects. This will help ensure the integrity of your new home and protect your financial investment.
Operating and maintaining your home
A home is a collection of systems that need to be operated carefully and maintained regularly, for example:
- heating system
- plumbing system
- water maintenance system
- ventilation system
How you live in your home can impact how these systems perform, for example, larger numbers of people living in the home can create excess moisture. Understanding how these systems work and checking that they are working properly can help save you trouble and prevent damage.
Consider creating a plan for your home maintenance and track when and what you have done. You can include such things as:
- clean gutters, check downspouts and drains
- replace furnace filters and clean exhaust fans
- check that your electrical outlets are working
- check the grout and caulking of tubs and showers
- test your sump pump
Contact your home warranty provider or builder for more tips and recommendations for maintaining your home.
Home warranty protections
Home warranty is an important protection for your home, whether it’s brand new or a resale home that still has coverage. All new homes that are sold must be covered with the following warranty protections:
|Labour and materials
|Covers any defects in materials and labour related to how the home was constructed and materials used. This may include things such as flooring, staircases, baseboards, cabinets, railings and other trim and fixtures.
|Delivery and distribution systems
|Covers defects related to the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning delivery systems.
|Building envelope protection
|The building envelope is the shell of the home, including the roof and walls. It is the separation between the interior and exterior environments of a building, which protects the indoor environment and facilitates climate control.
|Major structural components
|Major structural consists of the frame, including the roof’s structural integrity, and the foundation.
See New home warranty for details.
Many builders provide homeowners with a contractual warranty for the homes they build in addition to the required insurance warranty policy. A builder’s warranty typically addresses problems only in the first year and is not regulated by the government. This is a contract arrangement between you and your builder, and not an insurance product like your new home warranty. Be aware that a builder’s warranty and a new home warranty have different protection periods and timelines for submitting claims.
If you chose to work directly with your builder to fix issues after you move in, your warranty provider may not be aware that there are defects to fix. You may still wish to submit an insurance claim to ensure your claim is registered with the warranty provider in case the builder fails to address the problem.
Home warranty insurance is a limited policy that covers construction defects in a new home. This means home warranty does not cover items that were not completed by the builder, substituted items, or items covered by a manufacturer warranty. Refer to the Alberta Construction Performance Guide for detailed information on what are considered warrantable defects.
Submitting a claim
When you discover a problem with your home, you should note the issue, take photos or video of the problem, and contact your warranty provider as soon as possible. Instead of trying to determine the cause of the problem, describe in detail the symptoms or damage you are observing. Record the problem as best you can with an appropriate tool, such as a tape measure or thermometer. Clearly show the location of the problem inside your home. Note the date and weather conditions, if applicable.
Each warranty provider will have its own specific procedures for submitting a claim. Go to your warranty provider’s website or contact them directly for specific instructions. For more information, see Filing a warranty claim.
After a claim has been submitted and the warranty provider determines there is a warrantable defect, they will arrange with the homeowner and the builder to fix the issues.
If your warranty provider denies your claim, they must provide a clear explanation for why they have denied it. If their written denial is not clear, you may need them to further explain the reason and any technical language used. Consider arranging to speak with a knowledgeable staff member who can answer your follow up questions.
If you still disagree with your warranty provider, there are options to resolve the dispute. For more information, see Insurance consumer complaints.