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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

What To Do If A Pipe Bursts

You thought you took the necessary steps to protect your home from freezing temperatures, but now you’re dealing with a burst pipe. What should you do? First of all, stay calm. Then, follow these steps.

Shut off your water and potentially your electricity

If a pipe bursts in your home, the first thing you should do is turn off your water to minimize flooding damage. Every homeowner should know where the main water valve is. Find it and shut it off immediately! If necessary, you should also turn off electricity to the areas of your home where the flooding is occurring.

If you are living in an apartment and do not have access to the building’s water supply or electric services, call your landlord or building manager as soon as you notice a problem.

Call a plumber

Next, call a plumber. If your plumber does not offer 24-hour services, do some research. A quick online search should yield services in your area that work round the clock.

Move your belongings

Move anything you can away from leaking pipes to minimize damage. This includes furniture, clothing, art, or any other items that can be damaged by water. Be extremely careful with electronic devices that may have come in contact with water.

Remove as much water as you can

Get together as many buckets, pots, pans or any other containers you have and start collecting the water. You want to get as much water out as quickly as possible to avoid problems with mold and mildew. Towels and mops or even a wet/dry vacuum can also help with this process. If you don’t own a wet-dry vac, try renting one from your local hardware or home improvement store.

Set up fans and a dehumidifier in the affected area to remove moisture from the air and dry things out faster. Make sure to keep an eye on the dehumidifier and empty it before it fills up. Desiccant products like silica gel can also help for more serious damage. You can apply tubs or sachets of the gel near areas most affected by water such as floors or walls.

For more severe damage, such as leaks affecting multiple rooms or floors of your home or cases where leaks have gone unnoticed for more than 8 hours, a water mitigation or restoration professional may be required.

Call you insurance agent

Get in touch with your insurance agent to keep them up to date about what is happening. Photographs and notes recording the extent of the damage will help you and your agent when it comes time to file an insurance claim.

Did you know that burst pipes are covered under most homeowner insurance policies? Give us a call at 508-676-5949 to discuss home insurance rates or head to our website for more information.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

The balmy December temperatures may have given you hope, but don’t let them fool you—the snow is coming. It’s important that you brush up on the basics of winter driving now, before the snow hits. We’ve made it easy for you by compiling the five essentials of safe winter driving.

Snow Tires

If you live in New England, you need snow tires. All season tires are a compromise of the best assets of each type of tire—while they are better than a standard road tire, only a snow tire is designed to excel in winter conditions for more than three months. Invest in a good pair of snow tires and (depending on your driving frequency) they could easily last you for several seasons. Trust us, it’s worth never getting stuck in the snow again.

Warm Up The Car

Taking the time to warm up your car isn’t just to make you comfortable; it’s integral to the performance of your vehicle in the cold. While engine stalls may not happen as much as they used to, it’s still important to let the engine idle for at least 30 seconds; longer if the temperature is below zero. The oil in your engine changes its viscosity the colder it gets, and if you don’t let the car idle, you’re putting a full load of work on an engine with no lubrication. Protip: remote car starters are cheap!

Gas

This winter driving rule cannot be overstated: always leave at least a quarter tank of gas in your car. Always. The less gas in your tank, the more cold air in your tank; eventually this will cause your tank to freeze and can even lead to ice on your fuel lines. It’s such an easy thing to do, but postponing a trip to the gas station during the winter can have disastrous consequences.

Brakes

Take the time to familiarize yourself with your brakes before trying them out in the snow. It’s important to know whether you have anti-lock brakes or need to manually pump them. Remember, in the snow it’s always important to do everything more slowly. Give yourself plenty of room to come to a stop and avoid braking on corners if possible.

Exhaust Check

Have your car’s exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which are particularly dangerous during the winter when you’re driving with your windows up. If you’re driving your car after a night of heavy snow, always unclog the snow from your exhaust before starting it!

The key to safe winter driving is preparation—before winter hits and before you start the car. Driving in the winter can be scary, but you can make sure you and your family are safe if you follow these basic tips. Enjoy the warm weather while you can, but don’t sleep on preparing for the snow that will eventually come.

For more winter driving tips and insurance insights connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, visit our website or give us a call at 508-676-5949!

Everything You Need To Know About Ice Dams

Ice dams are a very real problem that you will most likely face if you own a home in Massachusetts. While ice can be lovely for skating, it can quickly ruin your home if you don’t take the proper precautions. Luckily, we know all about ice dams! Follow our suggestions and you can rest easy knowing that even if we see a repeat of last year’s winter, you won’t have to worry about ice dams ruining your home.

What’s An Ice Dam?
Great question! An ice dam occurs when water from melting snow runs down your roof then refreezes, causing the ice to accumulate, or “dam” in one spot. If any water gets under a shingle it will lift it up, which can often cause water to drip into your home, ruining gutters and shingles along the way. Ice dams are not your friend.

Oh No! How Do I Prevent Them?
The trick to preventing ice dams is to completely seal and insulate your attic space. Unfortunately, this usually means calling a contractor! Call a contractor now and schedule a visit ASAP before they’re booked for months. If your contractor isn’t available, or if you prefer to just do-it-yourself, it’s not that difficult! This guide from Energy Star lays out all the materials you would need and walks you through the process step by step. The sooner you can prep your home, the more quickly you can stop worrying about an ice dam!

Take Care Of Leaves
Autumn in New England is what makes winter worth it for all of us. However, all those beautiful leaves will often clog up your gutter, which can lead to more ice dams. Keep your gutters free of leaves and snow so they can actually do what they were designed for. Now is the time to buy a roof-rake to help keep your roof clear of snow. Remember, the crux of ice dam prevention is a clean roof!

It’s also important to note the importance of basic ladder safety when doing any work on the roof, particularly in the winter. Always keep your ladder away from an electrical wiring, have a spotter stabilizing the base of the ladder and always face the ladder when descending or climbing!

Dam It!
Alright, so despite your best efforts, you still got an ice dam. Don’t panic. We can fix this. Simply run down to the hardware store and grab a chemical melting agent! Avoid using rock salt. While rock salt will melt the dam, it will also likely damage your shingles and gutters. Stick with a basic melting agent like calcium chloride. All you have to do is apply the agent to the dam and you’ll be all set!

Don’t Use Fire
Always use a chemical melting agent rather than fire. While it may intuitively make sense to use some sort of fire, such as a blow torch, to remove ice dams we beg you to listen to us and simply don’t do it. Seriously, don’t do it. You are far more likely to cause a problem than to fix one when using fire in this situation.

If you own a home in New England you need to prepare for ice dams! A little money upfront to purchase the necessary preventative tools will save you a lot of money down the line. Finish winterizing your home by making sure your all of your insurance needs are up to date. Give us a call at 508-676-5949 or visit our website!