Category Archives: Winter

How Snowbirds Can Winterize Their Homes Before Going Away

Snow home

If you are a snowbird heading south for the winter, there are several key things you can do to help protect your vacant home. Taking these steps can help protect your home from theft, water damage, heating or electrical system malfunctions while you are away.

Make Your Home Appear as Though It Is Continuously Occupied

Forward your mail, stop newspaper delivery, and ask a friend or relative to collect flyers or other items that may be left at your door.

Take Steps to Protect Your Home from Thieves

Secure external doors and windows with deadbolt locks, security-type hinges and sturdy door frames that cannot be spread apart. Install slide locks or other equivalent security locks on doors.

Protect Your Pipes to Avoid Water Damage by Turning Off Your Water Supply

Drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets, and flush your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl, then consider pouring antifreeze in toilet tanks and bowls to prevent any remaining water from freezing.

Keep Your Home and Plumbing Warm if Your Water Supply Stays On

Set the temperature at 55°F or higher to help keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities above freezing temperatures. Keeping room and cabinet doors open also helps heat to circulate and warm the areas where pipes are located.

 Perform Routine Maintenance Before You Leave

If electrical service to the home is to remain on, consider having a licensed electrical contractor inspect your main electrical panel, wiring and outlets, if necessary.

Make Your Home Unattractive to Pests

Inspect your home for openings that animals could use to enter. For example, make sure your fireplace flue is closed, as bats, birds and squirrels are known to get inside this way.

Be Ready for Emergencies

Install smoke detectors on at least every floor (preferably tied to a constantly monitored fire alarm system so the fire department will automatically be notified in case of alarm), and confirm that the sensors and system are tested regularly.

For more information about how you can successfully carry out each of these steps and winterize your home, visit Travelers Insurance’s Snowbirds blog.

How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Winter

Utica National, one of our insurance providers, has provided us with some safety tips to share with you on how to prepare your vehicles for the winter. We hope you take these tips seriously and put them to use before the winter hits us. Your safety is our concern, especially when operating a motor vehicle. So please take the time to read the preparation steps below and get yourself ready for the hazardous roads that come with the cold weather.car tips

How To Prevent Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Here at Petschauer Insurance we feel it is important to offer good information so you can minimize property damage that may occur due to the harsh, cold and snowy weather that is just around the corner.

Ice dams, although easily preventable, happen often in the winter, and can cause a lot of damage to the exterior and interior of your property.

Aicedam_largen ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water will then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How to you tell if you have an Ice Dam:

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

What you can do to prevent Ice Dams:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm BEFORE it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

How to remove an Ice Dam:

  • Call a professional roof repairer! If done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do NOT use rock salt to melt the ice as this will cause even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, make sure that you use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

Please be proactive and be prepared for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Preventing an Ice Dam from will give you peace of mind and time to enjoy the festive season with your friends and family.

Protecting Your Home for The Winter

house-54585_640All homeowners know that the winter brings severe weather and with it more wear and tear on their homes. In preparation for the coming winter months, what can you do ahead of time to protect your home?

  • Roofs take a beating in the winter, so this is a good time to make sure that shingles are secure, there are no missing roof parts, no bubbles, no missing tiles, holes, leaks, etc. Now is also a great time to get your roof inspected and make any necessary repairs to avoid the unwanted effects of high winds, heavy snows and pounding rainstorms. If you know there are any damage risks, attend to it now so that a small difficulty doesn’t turn into a disaster later on.
  • Check skylights, vents and chimneys to make sure that no repairs are needed and everything is tight and secure from any water leakage.
  • Check leaders and gutters and make sure that they are clear of leaves, tree branches and any other debris associated with the Fall season. Clogged downspouts often lead to freezing and ice damage later in the season.
  • Make sure that trees and branches are trimmed back and pruned so that any dead branches or tree overhangs don’t fall and damage your roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors.
  • Make sure furnaces are cleaned and in good working order so that you don’t run the risk of being without heat on those bitter cold days that are sure to come.
  • Check carbon dioxide and smoke detectors, making sure that they are working properly and their batteries have been changed.
  • Check water pipes for any leaks. A small leak can be managed by changing a pipe or repairing a portion of a pipe. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to contact your service company for a shut-off as well. A large leak can be a nightmare and do considerable damage to your home.
  • Chimneys need to be maintained and cleaned.
  • Make sure you clean out the lint filter in your dryer every time you use it to prevent build-up of lint which is certainly a fire hazard.
  • Check your electrical outlets, plugs and cords for any deficiencies such as wear and tear, overload, and fraying cords.

In short, maintenance is the key to preventing homeowner claims that may be caused by the elements or a lack of attention. If you are in doubt about how to protect your home, speak to your agent. “An ounce of prevention” is surely worth your time so we urge you to embrace this opportunity to safeguard your home.  Good luck and stay warm this winter!

Winter Is Coming… Call Your Insurance Agent

brace-yourselfWinter is coming… and we have all been a witness to what snow, ice, and freezing can do to your properties. 

Harsh winters, and the number of traffic accidents, slips and falls, frozen pipes and other winter related losses are contributing to an escalating numbers of insurance claims.

In personal insurace, many claims involved auto accidents, roof damage, and homes inundated with water due to pipes bursting. High winds have caused broken windows and loss of shingles while the weight of ice and snow has caused extensive roof damage.

In the commercial arena, claims have come from frozen sprinkler pipes bursting, fires emanating from the use of space heaters, and business interruption claims resulting from covered losses making business offices uninhabitable.

We suggest that now is a great time to meet with your insurance agent to review your current policies and ask these questions:
• What coverages are afforded by your current policies?
• What coverages are excluded by your current policies and what is the cost to include these coverages by adding them?
• What steps can I take once a loss has occurred to keep my possessions from further damage?

Here are some ways that may help you minimize your exposure to a loss:
• Timely and proper car maintenance;
• Keeping up with Repairs and maintenance to your home or business;
• Routinely surveying what in your office or home needs to be replaced;
• Winterizing your second home
• Have a caretaker available to check your primary and/or vacation homes or offices while you are away
• Evaluate your business income exposure on an annual basis
• And should a loss occur, be sure to call your insurance agent immediately and ask for help to keep damage at a minimum and protect your property from further loss.

This year some of the claim scenarios are more serious than usual. So take advantage of your agent’s expertise and resources —-after all they are here to help you navigate through the good times as well as the more challenging ones.

 

Safe Driving Tips For The Winter

2202904_0e494293The severe winter weather is here, and we commuters sure know what that entails. We go through it every year, and it never seems to get any better. However, we all have what it takes to make winter driving safer for you and the drivers around you. We recommend that you not only prepare your car for the conditions, but also be aware of some safe winter driving tactics.

Below are some tips we recommend using before driving in hazardous weather.

Preparation before you get in your car:

  • Make sure your vehicle’s fluid levels are right – either check the manual or see your mechanic
  • Replace wipers if they are not fully cleaning off your windshield
  • Check that your tires are in good shape and well inflated
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times- you don’t want your gas line to freeze.
  • Be sure you have an emergency kit, along with jumper cables, a first aid kit, flares, flashlights, a shovel and some sand.

While Driving:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly to gain traction and avoid skidding
  • Do not make quick turns
  • Give yourself an 8-10 second following distance behind vehicles so you have enough time and distance to stop
  • Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm pressure when braking
  • Do not try to power up a hill, but do not stop going up a hill either

Even with these precautions, it is sometimes better to stay home during snow storms. Weather conditions can be unpredictable and so is the road, so keep yourself safe and wait it out before getting in your vehicle.

We here at Petschauer Insurance are concerned for everyone’s safety, so we urge you to please take these tips seriously. Prepare your vehicle and drive safe (or don’t drive at all)!

 

Source: AAA.com