Fall may be in full swing, but for Northeasterners, winter weather is already here. This puts homeowners on high alert as lengthy periods of sub-freezing temperatures means an increased risk of pipes freezing and bursting. Damaged pipes are not merely an inconvenience. They can cause serious damage to a home’s integrity. Fortunately, preparing your house for icy weather can prevent these unfortunate scenarios from occurring. Reducing the risk of frozen pipes is just one of the ways to keep your home ready for winter.
Why Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?
Water expands when it freezes. This puts excess pressure on pipes and can cause them to crack or burst. Preventing pipes from freezing in the first place will keep your pipes intact and protect your home from damage.
Keep your house warm. Program your thermostat and leave it at the same temperature day and night, even when you leave.
Open the cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen to allow warm air to circulate around the piping.
Keep your garage doors closed. Cold drafts and wind increase the likelihood of pipes freezing.
When the weather gets exceptionally cold, let water drip from the faucet. This can relieve pressure in the pipes and keep the water moving.
If you won’t be home for a long period of time, turn off the water supply line to your washing machine.
Cover pipes with insulation or other products meant to insulate them.
Have a friend walk through your home regularly if you will be away for an extended period of time.
Clearly label the water supply line so you can easily identify it later. This can help you turn it off quickly if an emergency ensues and it needs to be turned off.
What Should You Do If Your Pipes Freeze?
If your pipes freeze, there are several steps you can take to minimize the resulting damage. These steps include:
Keep the faucet open. As the ice starts to melt, the flowing water will help the rest of the ice melt.
With a space heater, heating pad, or heated towels, apply warmth to the frozen length of the pipe.
Never use an open flame, such as a blow torch or propane stove, in an attempt to warm the pipes.
If you do experience damage to your home due to a frozen or burst pipe, rest assured that our team at Vargas & Vargas Insurance will be on hand to assist you. Contact us today to learn more about our policies or for help protecting your home.
In the Fall and Winter, New England can get hit with some nasty hurricanes and blizzards. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare your family – do a little bit of prep now and you will be ready when a storm threatens the area. Here is a list of some of the things that you should have to get you started:
Food and Water – You should always have enough nonperishable foods and water for each member of your household to last one week or more. This typically means one gallon of water per day, plus foods like canned goods, and dry foods like cereal, nuts, crackers, and protein bars. And don’t forget to keep an emergency food supply for pets also!
Clothing – Each person in your household should have access to plenty of warm clothing, including hats and gloves.
General Supplies – If a storm is coming your way, make sure you have essential supplies handy. These will include flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, paper dishware and plastic cutlery, paper towels, toilet paper, medications, and more.
Tools – You will need a few tools to weather a storm. Scissors and a manual can opener are a must. In addition, it would help if you had access to a pocket knife, multi-function tool, and a fire extinguisher.
While you’re preparing for potential storms, you should gather digital items as well as physical. There are certain phone numbers you should have stored in your cell phone. These include your local fire and police lines, the power company, the nearest hospital, and your insurance providers. To find out if your insurance is ready for a fall or winter storm, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655.
Whether it is a family member or a neighbor, everyone knows an elderly person that may need a little bit of extra help this time of year. Do your part to help the seniors in our area, especially in the harsh winters of Massachusetts. Here are three things you can help with:
Prevent Falls – During the winter here in Massachusetts, things are often slick. This is a concern for everyone, but most of all for seniors, who are at an increased risk for injury from slip and fall accidents. To decrease the risk of a slip, keep sidewalks and driveways de-iced.
Ensure Warmth and Comfort – When the temperature drops, you should make sure that the seniors in your life stay warm and comfortable. Monitor the air temperature in their home, and ensure that heating devices like space heaters are used properly to reduce the risk of fire.
Prepare for a Storm – Seniors need to be somewhere safe during a storm. Ideally, they would have someone with them – this could mean that someone stays with them until the storm blows over, or that the senior is relocated to stay somewhere safe during bad weather.
And if you want to further help your senior family members, friends, and neighbors, make sure that they have optimized their home, health, and life insurance policies. If you suspect that one of your elderly loved ones could use a thorough insurance review, please let me know – I would love to help and make sure that they are fully prepared for the rest of their life’s journey.
Have you read the blogs on what to do before and during a winter storm? If so, then you’re ready for the third and final part to this blog series – what to do after the storm passes. It’s easy to think that you’re free and clear once the storm blows over, but there are still a few things that you should check off your ‘to-do’ list:
If your home lost power during the storm and you need a safe place to stay warm, find a local shelter by texting SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Learn from the storm. Make a note of anything that you could do in the future to be more prepared, including supplies that you should add to your emergency kit, and improvements you could make to your family communication plan.
Make sure to restock any items in your emergency kit that you may have used during the storm, including batteries, medicines, food, water, and more.
If your home was damaged due to the storm, call your local independent insurance agent to find out if the damage is covered by your home insurance policy. They can get started making a claim for you right away!
If you need any help with your home insurance or want some general insurance advice, please let me know. And make sure that you stay tuned to this blog for more tips on winterizing your home and car, and on how to get the most out of your insurance policies.
Hopefully, our series of winter storms has been beneficial to understanding what to do, before, during and after a winter storm. If you need help with a Massachusetts auto, home or business insurance, we are the experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand all of your insurance needs and coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.
Like it or not, it’s just going to get colder from here. We know that many of our customers are seasoned New Englanders who have driven in the snow and cold year after year, but it’s never a bad idea to brush up on safety! When you have to hit the road this winter, make sure that you keep yourself (and your passengers) safe by following these suggestions:
Never allow your car to warm up or run in an enclosed space, like a closed garage.
Ensure that your tires are properly inflated according to your manufacturer’s instruction.
Make sure that your gas tank is always more than half full in case of an emergency.
If your car gets buried in snow, take the time to clear it off completely before driving.
Never use hot water to de-ice your windshield.
Never use cruise control when driving on a slick surface.
When roads are snowy, accelerate and decelerate slowly to maintain traction.
Increase your follow distance when the roads are slippery.
If conditions get bad, don’t drive unless absolutely necessary.
Make sure that your car’s emergency kit is fully stocked at all times.
For more winter survival tips, stay tuned to our blog! And remember, it only takes a few minutes to get an auto insurance quote from your favorite local insurance agency! Your agent can ensure that you are getting all of the discounts for which you qualify, as well as ensuring that you have all of the coverage that you and your vehicle require.
Hopefully, this will help you If you fins yourself in a bad situation, or if you would like to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand your automobile, homeowners, and business insurance coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.
Now that you know what to do to prepare for a winter storm, we are ready to cover what to do once a storm blows in. When you’re stuck in the middle of a blizzard, here are some tips that you and your family should follow in order to stay safe:
During the storm, everyone should stay indoors.
If anyone must go outside, make sure that they dress for the weather, and tell them to walk carefully – black ice can be very dangerous!
Drive only if absolutely necessary. If someone goes out on the roads, know their destination and route just in case.
Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Know what to do if anyone is affected by either of these conditions.
Stay tuned to your local weather station for updates on the storm.
Have plenty of activities ready in case of a power outage, especially if there are kids in the house. In fact, you may consider adding a few new games, books, crafts, and toys to your emergency kit to keep your kids occupied during a storm.
If and when there is a storm, please be careful and try to stay as safe as possible until the weather clears up. And make sure that you don’t miss the third and final part of this blog series, which will go into what you should do after a major storm, including tips for making home insurance claims if there is major damage to your home.
Hopefully, this information will help you If you are in a bad situation, or if you would like to speak with a Massachusetts insurance expert from Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, just call 617-298-0655. We will be happy to help you understand your automobile, homeowners, and business insurance coverage options, and select the plan that’s best for your unique needs.