Preventing Frozen Pipes

Freezing pipes can be a common issue during cold weather, and it’s important to take preventive measures to avoid potential damage. Here are some tips to help prevent pipes from freezing:

Insulate Pipes – Insulate pipes in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces. This can help maintain a higher temperature around the pipes.

Seal Cracks and Gaps – Seal any cracks or gaps in walls and around windows and doors to prevent cold air from entering and affecting the pipes.

Keep Interior Temperature Consistent – Maintain a consistent temperature inside your home, especially during extremely cold weather. This helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Let Faucets Drip – Allow faucets to drip slightly. This keeps water flowing, making it less likely for pipes to freeze.

Open Cabinet Doors – Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to reach the pipes.

Disconnect Garden Hoses – Disconnect and drain garden hoses, and shut off outdoor water valves to prevent freezing.

Add Extra Insulation – For extremely cold climates, consider adding extra insulation to walls and ceilings.

Heat Tape or Cable – Use heat tape or cable on vulnerable pipes. Follow manufacturer instructions for installation.

Keep the Thermostat On – If you’re away, don’t turn off the heating system entirely. Keep the thermostat set to a temperature that prevents freezing.

It’s crucial to be proactive in addressing potential vulnerabilities, especially in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces. By implementing these preventive steps, you can minimize the risk of frozen pipes and ensure the continuous flow of water in your plumbing system.

If despite these precautions, your pipes still freeze, it’s crucial to thaw them carefully to avoid damage. Use a hairdryer, heating pad, or towels soaked in hot water to thaw the pipes gradually. Never use an open flame or high-temperature devices.

By following these guidelines and staying vigilant during cold weather, you can protect your plumbing system and enjoy a winter season free from the worries of frozen pipe

How to Prevent Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

Clogged gutters and downspouts are a common headache for homeowners. They can lead to various problems, including water damage to your home’s foundation, roof, and walls. Preventing clogs is essential to maintain the functionality and longevity of your gutter system. In this blog post, we’ll explore effective ways to prevent clogged gutters and downspouts without relying on numbers.

Regular Gutter Cleaning: Perhaps the most crucial step in preventing clogs is regular gutter cleaning. Remove leaves, debris, and dirt from your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. This simple maintenance task can go a long way in keeping your gutter system clear.

Gutter Guards: Consider installing gutter guards or leaf screens. These protective devices cover your gutters, allowing water to flow in while keeping leaves and debris out. Gutter guards come in various designs, so choose one that suits your gutter system and budget.

Trim Overhanging Branches: Overhanging branches can drop leaves and twigs directly into your gutters. Regularly trim back branches that extend over your roof to minimize the amount of debris that enters your gutters.

Regular Roof Maintenance: Maintaining your roof can indirectly help prevent gutter clogs. Keep your roof clean and free of moss, algae, and debris, as these can wash into your gutters during rainfall.

Downspout Extensions: Ensure that your downspouts extend at least a few feet away from your home’s foundation. This directs rainwater away from the foundation and reduces the risk of soil erosion and basement flooding.

Properly Sloped Gutters: Ensure that your gutters have the right slope toward the downspouts. This allows water to flow freely and helps prevent standing water in your gutters, which can lead to clogs.

Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect your gutters and downspouts for signs of damage or blockages. Look for loose or sagging gutters, misaligned downspouts, and any visible clogs.

Use a Garden Hose: If you suspect a clog, use a garden hose to flush water through your downspouts. This can help dislodge minor blockages and clear the path for proper water drainage.

Leaf Blowers or Vacuum Attachments: Some homeowners use leaf blowers or vacuum attachments designed for gutter cleaning. These tools can make the cleaning process more efficient, but use them carefully to avoid damaging your gutter system.

Consider Gutter Heaters: In cold climates, ice dams can form in gutters, leading to blockages. Consider installing gutter heaters or heating cables to prevent ice buildup during the winter months.

Professional Maintenance: If you’re unsure about gutter maintenance or encounter persistent clogs, consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service. They have the expertise and equipment to ensure your gutters remain clear and functional.

Preventing clogged gutters and downspouts is essential for the overall health of your home. Regular maintenance, proper installation, and protective measures like gutter guards can go a long way in ensuring that your gutter system efficiently directs rainwater away from your home. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of clogs and the potential damage they can cause.

Lydon & Murphy Insurance/Norwood,MA/Home Maintenance

Spring Showers May Bring Home Hassles

After a cold, dark winter most people look forward to the sights and sounds of the spring. But with the warmer months also comes the potential for heavy rains, which can lead to slippery driving and property damage. So, what can a homeowner do to help avoid the hassle and expense of cleaning up after leaky roofs and flooded homes?

Maintain your gutters: Gutters and downspouts that don’t do their job will lead to trouble inside your home. It starts with cleaning your gutters of leaves and debris at least once a year. But if your gutter is leaky or damaged and you don’t want to buy and install a new gutter, you can patch it. According to HGTV, “Check the sources of any leaks, including holes in the gutters and cracked caulking in the seams. Use an old chisel to scrape the old caulking out and dry the area thoroughly.”

Invest in the roof over your head: A leaky roof leads to a leaky ceiling. No one wants to buy a new roof, so before you spring for a roofer you can inspect the damage before ever stepping on a ladder, according to Bob Villa.  “Leaks can occur at any point where shingles butt, or where caulking and flashing have been compromised.  End caps, the tent-shaped shingles that cover the angular peaks of the roof, can also be the source of leaks, so check those as well. If you discover shingle problems, which you can do from the ground with a good pair of binoculars, repairs may be an easy fix.” A professional may be required. If you do the job yourself, be very careful.

Beware of Mold: If water has led to mold, address it right away. It smells, rots the wood and can make you sick. But it’s also just bad for the value of your home.  According to the Family Handyman, “If you have a high concentration of mold, you may smell it. If you detect the typical musty odor, check for mold on damp carpets, damp walls, damp crawl spaces and wet wood under your floors, wet roof sheathing and other damp areas. Clean up these infestations right away before they get worse. Scrub the surface mold stains from walls and wood trim with a mixture of 1 qt. water and 1/2 cup bleach to kill the mold. Use a soft brush and work until signs of the mold disappear.”

Know your policy: When it comes to water damage to your house it’s important to understand the difference between what’s covered and what isn’t under your homeowner’s policy. It’s covered if the damage is from water entering from a covered loss such as lightning or a windstorm. However, damage from a flood, surface or groundwater or back-up of sewers or drains is generally not covered. This would include water that seeps through the foundation and floods the basement. If you live in an area that floods, ask your MAPFRE agent or visit the National Flood Insurance Program.

Making simple fixes can save you from a lingering problem and costly repairs down the road. But never put yourself in a dangerous position. Consult with a contractor. And check with your agent before trouble strikes. Contact us to discuss your home insurance budget and needs. Source: https://www.mapfreinsurance.com/blog/spring-home-roof-gutters/

Home Fire Escape Plans

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. 

  • Why do you need a home escape plan?
  • Working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan can reduce your risk of injury or death in a fire.
  • Most fatal fires happen in homes.
  • When fire strikes you may have less than one minute to get out of the building. 
  • Fires double in size every minute.
  • Fires create thick, black, choking smoke which makes it impossible to see or breathe.
  • Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.
  • In the event of fire, time is the biggest enemy, and every second counts. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Having an escape plan will help you and your family to get out of your home quickly. Practice E.D.I.T.H. — Exit Drills in the Home — with your family.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Below are guidelines on how to write your home fire escape plan. As your insurance agent, we strongly encourage you to follow these steps and create a plan for your own home. 
  • Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home. Show all doors and windows.
  • Visit each room, find two ways out, including windows and doors, and mark them.  
  • All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
  • Push the test button on each smoke alarm to make sure each alarm is working. Replace the batteries where needed. 
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home. Everyone will meet at the
  • meeting place.
  • Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street.
  • Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
  • Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department.
  • Practice your home fire drill!

Watch these steps to making a home fire escape plan from the National Fire Protection Agency. 

According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 45% of those have practiced it. One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Source: 

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/FPW/Educate/2019/FPW19Grid.ashx  

https://fire.arlingtonva.us/safety/escape-plans/  

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Escape-planning 

https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/does-your-family-have-fire-escape-plan

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/create-and-practice-a-home-escape-plan

Spring Home Maintenance

🌷Spring is here!  🌸  After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the winter snow and ice.

2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.

3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.

4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy but, we are ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! 

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

 

Fall is a beautiful time of year. The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves are changing colors. As homeowners, it can also be a very busy time of year! Take advantage of the moderate weather to repair any damages to your home before the first frost sets in.

Taking the time to care for the exterior of your home in the fall will help your home last through the winter. Check the foundation for cracks. If you have cracks in your foundation repair them before it’s too late. Caulking around windows, door frames, and where pipes and wires enter, your home can help prevent heat escaping in the colder months. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Check exterior walls for peeling or blistering paint. If left untreated, the siding itself will deteriorate. Ensure your roof is in good shape. If there are some missing or loose shingles, get them repaired or replaced!

Interior maintenance is just as important. Properly sealing and insulating your home can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill. Applying weather stripping and caulk to windows and doors is a simple and easy way to help keep the heat in and the cold out – don’t forget about the basement windows! Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Properly working heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Change the direction of your ceiling fans to redistribute warm air from the ceiling. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep extra batteries on hand.

Now that the house is taken care of, it’s time to move back out into the yard. Prepare your yard equipment for storage by draining the fuel from all gas-operated equipment. Check to see if all your snow equipment is in proper working order and ready for the first snowfall. Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves to keep them from freezing. Take some time to organize your garage. Clean and store your summer garden tools, and move your rakes, gloves, and winter equipment within easy reach.

If you are a homeowner, keeping up with home maintenance is important! This is just a short list of maintenance items that should be completed during the fall. Take the time to call Lydon & Murphy Insurance at 781-762-4280 or visit us online at https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/ to review your homeowners insurance policy so you know your home is fully protected for the next season! 

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/1499-fall-home-maintenance-checklist/