|After three winter storms in less than a week, you may be noticing some pretty large snow piles on the roof of your home. With a slight warm up in temperature coming week-end, now is the time to remove snow in order to prevent the buildup of ice dams - and potential damage to your home.
As you may recall from our winter in 2015, ice dams can be very destructive as the water from melting snow backs up behind the dam and leaks into your home underneath the shingles.
There are two basic approaches to help you prevent damage to your home from ice dams:
1. Remove snow and ice from your roof. The safest way to clear your roof is to hire a snow removal professional. However, if you plan to do it yourself, follow these recommendations from roofing experts:
|2. Create channels to help melt ice.|
|What if water is dripping inside my home?
If you notice leaks in your home, it's important to do what you can to mitigate the damage:
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the average cost to repair a burst pipe is $5,000 or more. That cost can skyrocket if the problem isn’t discovered quickly, so it’s important to protect your pipes from winter weather to prevent this unwanted expense.
A drop in temperatures can cause the water in pipes to freeze and expand, potentially causing a crack in your plumbing. Most homeowners know to let faucets drip during the night when the temperature drops below freezing, as this helps relieve the pressure and prevent ruptures. However, another way to prevent frozen pipes is to protect them from the cold weather. Insulating pipes is an inexpensive DIY project that has long-term savings. It can also reduce heat loss and decrease the time it takes for the water to warm, which helps conserve water.
Foam and rubber are the most common material to insulate iron and copper pipes, and one pipe protector only costs a few dollars. When choosing insulation, make sure it is flexible enough to wrap around pipes and resists mold and bacterial growth. You’ll also need acrylic black tape, tie wire or zip ties to hold the insulation in place.
Another helpful way to keep pipes warm is using heating cables such as the Frost King Water Pipe Cable Kit. Wrap these around pipes to automatically regulate temperatures and keep water flowing up to 40 degrees below zero. Consider this option for areas prone to freezing, such as pipes in the basement and exterior walls.
Subtitlessubtitles offCaptionscaptions offChaptersChaptersAnother area of the home to update during the winter is outside faucets, which can be protected with an inexpensive hard faucet cover.
The latest technology can be used to catch leaks before they turn into problems. Install a water leak detector such as the Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Water Leak and Freeze Detector to monitor moisture and temperatures. The smart tool will notify your phone if a problem is identified so you can address it immediately.
If you have to repair a burst pipe, the first thing to do is turn off the water supply. Locate your home’s shutoff valve now, that way you’re prepared in case of an emergency. After shutting off the water supply, clean up as much of the water as possible and dry everything out.
Use a pipe repair kit if you need to fix the problem immediately or to save on the cost of a plumber. The kit has everything you need to quickly and permanently repair up to 12 inches of damaged pipe.
Pipe insulation prevents expensive repairs, maximizes water usage and increases energy efficiency, so be sure to tackle this simple DIY project before an emergency hits.
An important aspect of this potential claim is to have an independent agent that you can call to help you through the claims process. At Foy Insurance we provide the human factor to claims handling – you will always be dealing with a person and not a computer. Visit us today!
One issue that consistently confuses homeowners, especially first-time buyers, is the difference between the market value of the home compared to its replacement cost.
The market value is what the home is worth on the open market. The insurance company is not concerned with market value; however, it is only interested in the replacement cost value of your home. It does not insure your land. The typical home can be rebuilt for using like kind and quality. The two are often not nearly the same.
What will the insurance company promise? The insurance company agrees to repair the home at replacement cost without depreciation as long as you have maintained the proper amount of coverage. Most companies will also offer endorsements onto the policy where the company will pay above the coverage limit as long as you have made a good faith attempt to insure your home to its replacement cost.
So what’s the issue? In many cases there is a wide discrepancy between the market value and the replacement cost. And, it can vary either way. At the peak of the housing market or in towns with hot markets you will see homes whose market value far out paces its replacement cost. Conversely, in down markets or towns with depressed markets you may find houses whose market value lags far behind its replacement cost.
For instance you might find a small, single-family home on a half-acre of land in South Portland go for $380,000 while the building could be rebuilt for $250,000 or less. On the other end you might find a large single-family in certain sections of Gorham going for $250,000 with a replacement cost closer to $400,000. The insurance company is interested in the replacement cost. The homeowner in South Portland can insure his house for $250,000 while the homeowner in Gorham would need to insure for $400,000.
Many home purchasers are told they must insure their homes to their outstanding mortgage amounts. This is not necessarily true. So make sure you ask your independent insurance agent when discussing replacement value for your home.
A recent study conducted by BankRate.com showed that Maine ranked within the lowest 5 states for auto insurance, with an average premium of $672. Recently, one driver from Westbrook saved over $300 by giving us a call at (207)289-3850. Located in Scarborough, Foy Insurance has been serving New England drivers for over a century. In fact, our first auto policy was for a horse and buggy! Give us a call today to see what our experience and network of insurance companies can do for you.
December is here and along with it comes the familiar reminders that winter is quickly approaching. Turn on the radio and Christmas music is blaring, go to the store and see decorations and lights lining the shelves. It’s also that time of year again when you have to prepare your home for freezing temperatures. Here are a few items that you can start with to help winterize your home this season.
- Cover patio furniture—patio furniture wears easily in climate change. If possible, I recommend storing patio furniture in a shed or garage. If that’s not possible, cover them with a tarp or specifically designed covers is a great way to minimize weather damage to your furniture.
- Cover the air conditioner—the coils on the top and sides of your air conditioner can be easily damaged. Wet leaves and debris can ruin these coils which will cause your air conditioner to run less effectively, and could even ruin it completely. By simply covering the coils, you could prevent a costly repair.
- Cover crawlspace vents—if you have a crawlspace under your home, you likely have vents on the outside in your foundation. In the summer you should open the vents to let air through to prevent mold growth; however, in the winter you should close the vents and cover them with Styrofoam or crawl space vent covers. Doing so helps you heat your home more efficiently.
- Put hoses away and cover outside faucets—when water freezes, it expands. If there is water left in the hose, it will likely freeze and tear. You should undo the hose, drain it, and store it in a shed or garage for the winter to prevent it from breaking. The faucet heads should also be protected from the cold weather. Styrofoam faucet covers go directly over the faucet to keep heat in and prevent a possible break from freezing.
- Insulate pipes and keep your home heated—if you are going to be traveling this winter season, it is still important to maintain heat in the home. Pipes are easily frozen and could burst from the pressure. Insulating the pipes will also help prevent freezing from occurring.
- Replace the air filter—your furnace sucks in air and uses a filter to sift out any particles from being blown onto the coils. A clean filter will help your furnace run efficiently and increase the life of your furnace. Depending on the filter quality, a good rule of thumb is to replace it every 1-3 months.
- Drain the gas from your mower—this is one maintenance item individuals seem to forget about. When storing a mower for the winter, it is important to either drain the gas from the mower or let it run until the gas has been used up. If not done, moisture could seep into the gas tank and ruin your mower.
I’m not a fan of the cold weather, but it’s almost upon us. Taking a little time to winterize your home could help you prevent a loss and save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Talk to your local Foy Insurance representative for other suggestions they may have to help prepare your home for the winter months.
Written by Rebecca Ries from Central Insurance Companies
More Blogs by Rebecca Ries: https://blog.central-insurance.com/author/rries/
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