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Tuesday, 13 January 2015 00:00

Tips to prevent frozen pipes

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Tips to prevent frozen pipes - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

With the freezing weather recently, we have been to several homes with broken water lines.

The damages can be significant, review these tips to help protect your home this winter. Here is more from the redcross.org:

 

The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions on
how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do
freeze.

 

 

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

 

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts
tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No
matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that
freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs,
swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated
interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes
that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by
following these recommendations:

 

 

Preventing Frozen Pipes


Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's
or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is
environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor
hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve
open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to
break.


Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated
areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and
bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or
installing UL­listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water
pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed
pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do
not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

 

 

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

 

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.Open kitchen and

bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move

any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the

reach of children.


When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by
exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe ­ even at a trickle ­ helps prevent pipes
from freezing.


Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By
temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher
heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a
temperature no lower than 55° F.

 

To Thaw Frozen Pipes


If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places
for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your

home through the foundation.


Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt,
water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help
melt ice in the pipe.


Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe,
an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or
by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or
propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen
area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed
plumber.


Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If
one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

 

 

Future Protection


Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher
temperatures in these areas.


For more information, please contact HCS. We are available for emergency repairs 24 hours a day. 918-949-9077

Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00

Health issues tied to your home temperature.

Written by
Health issues tied to your home temperature. - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

When winter comes along, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends indoor temperatures of at least 64 degrees, and raises that to 70 degrees for households which include infants, elderly members, or frail individuals. Inadequate insulation or an inefficient heating system makes your home feel chilly and unwelcoming. Even worse, cold temperatures inside can have a decidedly negative effect on your health.

Respiratory Problems

It's a simple equation. Cold interior home temperatures plus an accumulation of moisture equals condensation, which in turn can lead to mold. Mold inhalation is bad, bad news for a whole host of respiratory problems such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. Indoor moisture problems are made even worse by the efficient sealing of modern homes, coupled with poor ventilation. Minimize their effect by installing extractor fans in your bathrooms and kitchen that vent to the outdoors, rather than just recirculating humid air. Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system. Ensure that it is working optimally and is free of mold. If you see (or smell) moldy, damp, or musty patches on your walls or floors,clean them uppromptly and take care of the underlying source.

 

Vulnerability to Colds and Flu

Yes, it's true. Being cold at home or work does seem to increase your vulnerability to catching colds and flu. What is the reason? According to a2009 studyat New York's Mount Sinai Medical School, cold makes it harder for you to get rid of viruses wafted in your direction. The explanation is that normally, mucus flows into the upper respiratory tract to clean out contaminants you've just inhaled. Unfortunately, the viscosity of this mucus increases with lower temperatures, impairing its effectiveness in combating airborne viruses.

 

Poor Sleep

Every human being has a "set point" for temperature … in other words, an ideal internal temperature that his or her body constantly strives to achieve or maintain. This set point, which varies according to the individual, is also different when you are sleeping than during your waking hours. If you are having trouble with any aspect of sleep -- dropping off, staying asleep, or feeling rested when you wake up -- your bedroom may be too cold. Experiment with differentnighttime settings on your thermostatto see which suits you best. Warm up your bedding with a hot water bottle or electric blanket. Wearing cozy pajamas and even snuggly bed socks may help as well.

 

Arthritis Pain

Joint pain due to arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may be worsened by cold, according tojoint specialist Javad Parvizi, M.D., Ph.D.,of the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dr. Parvizi explains that a drop in barometric pressure causes swelling of ligaments and soft tissues surrounding the affected joint. This expansion will stimulate the nerves to register painful sensations. The good news is that the effect on the underlying condition is symptomatic only and can be alleviated by gentle exercise and stretching, massage, warm clothing, and heat packs. Try to lose a few pounds to reduce pressure on your aching joints.

 

Heart Disease

Cold temperatures tend to raise blood pressure and heart rate, which is especially dangerous for those already suffering from heart disease. If you fall into this category, be conscientious about heating your home and on the coldest days, stay inside as much as you can.

Source: http://www.networx.com/article/how-cold-indoor-temperatures-affect-your

5 Tips You Need To Know About Your Homeowners Insurance - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

The homeowners insurance policy is complex, boring and often stored away unread. Most homeowners believe once they pay their premium their home and contents are protected against any damage. Unfortunately, policies have exclusions, restrictions and sub limits that can leave you without the needed coverage. We have compiled a list of the least known areas of your homeowners policy.

 

1. Replacement Cost

Replacement cost value or RCV refers to the valuation method used to determine your damages. RCV determines the cost to replace the damaged item with something of the same like, kind and quality under the current prices. Actual Cost Value determines the approximate life span for the damaged item and then depreciates the item before paying the damages. This can be a substantial amount when your roof is damaged by a storm. If your roof is 15 years old and the insurance carrier determines the life span should be 30 years, the carrier will take 50% of the shingle cost off of the total. In some cases, the carrier could actually pay out for your thousands in damages.

 

2. Insects and Pets

Termite, insect and pet damages are all excluded coverages. If your dog chews up your new front door, you are out of luck. Same goes with a termite infestation to your home.

 

3. Earth movement and Floods

The standard homeowner’s policy excludes coverage for flooding, earthquakes, mudslides, settling, sinkholes and flooding. In Oklahoma you can add relatively inexpensive earthquake coverage to your policy. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program.

 

4. Stolen Contents

Most carriers cover your contents anywhere in the world. So while you were vacationing in Russia, your video camera was stolen, you are covered. Just remember you are still responsible for the deductible.

 

5. Sub limits

Your policy will have sub limits listed for various items. Guns, Art, Furs, and Jewelry often have lower limits assigned. Your gun collection may be valued at 15,000 when it was stolen, but due to the 2,000 sublimit, you are well underinsured. It is important to read your limits to ensure proper coverage. If you are underinsured contact your agent to add more coverage.

 

We have over 20 years of insurance adjusting experience at Home Claim Solutions. Let us know if you have any questions and we always provide a free consultation.

 

Donnie Morgan President

Home Claim Solutions LLC

918-949-9077 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 15:25

Junk Drawer Fire Hazard

Written by
Junk Drawer Fire Hazard - 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 votes

Do you have a junk drawer in your home?  Like most people you probably do.  If you have loose batteries stored in the drawer, you have a potential fire hazard.  New Hampshire's Fire Marshall is warning people after a home burned down due to items in a junk drawer.  The items responsible include a 9 volt battery, paper clips, post it notes and other items stored in the drawer.  The prongs of a 9 volt battery apparently came in contact with metal and paper.  Once the metal came in contact, the paper acted as fuel and started the fire.  

 

Londonderry Fire Chief Mac Caffrie stated “The potential is there, there are a lot of things in a normal junk drawer that do burn, and apparently the ignition source was a 9 volt battery.”    A 9 volt battery is a fire hazard because the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another. If this comes in contact with anything metal (pens, paper clips, etc.) it will spark, and if there is a fuel for this spark you will have a fire.

 

Storing batteries together in a plastic bag can also be a hazard.  When you dispose of this type of battery make sure it is safely wrapped in electrical tape or something to keep it separated from anything else that may come in contact with it.  I have noticed the batteries are now being sold with the plastic cap attached to the posts to prevent any contact.   Now is a good time to clean out your junk drawer to ensure you do not have a fire hazard.  

 

My neighbor’s insurance company is replacing their roof, but I have no damage? - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

I pull up to do an inspection on a home in a tightly packed neighborhood.  I notice right away several trucks and a dumpster in the neighbor’s driveway.  I also find a crew of workers on their roof and could hear the air compressor over my car. Instantly I knew why I was there.  As I ring the doorbell, the insured comes to the door and states her claim... "My neighbor’s insurance company said they had hail damage so I must need a new roof as well".  After I complete my inspection, I climb down the ladder to a conversation I know will be frustrating and confusing to the customer.

 

As an adjuster for a large carrier, this seems to be an issue that was ever too common.  I would inspect a roof 20 feet from a newly replaced roof and not find enough damage to replace it.   The customer questions your knowledge and motive.

While knowledge could potentially come into play, I can assure you the average adjuster has no motive to either accept or deny a claim.

 

There are several factors that come into play with this particular scenario. The first depends on your carrier.  All insurance companies have different guidelines to determine whether or not a roof needs replaced.  For example, Insurance A needs 8 hail hits in a 100 square feet area on four directional slopes. Each hit needs to have bruising, broken matting and an indention on the shingle.  Insurance B may only need 2 hits per 100 square feet on only 2 slopes with bruising being the mark they use for damage.

The other factor would be the specifics of the home. Such as, roof age, roofing material, layers, ventilation, pitch, the direction the home faces and tree coverage to name a few.

 

If you run into this issue with your carrier, here are a few tips to get the answer you deserve:

 

  • Ask the adjuster what their guidelines are for damage and amount of damage.
  • Call 3 or more local and trusted roofing companies to come out and inspect the roof for hail damage.
  • Call the supervisor of the adjuster and request a reinspection.
  • Ask all people who inspect the roof to take photos demonstrating the damage and document their inspection.

 

Home Claim Solutions has licensed adjusters and roofers on staff that are here to help you get through these issues.

 

Thanks! 

 

Jeff Deao

Vice President 

Home Claim Solutions

Friday, 27 December 2013 19:38

My tree fell on my neighbor's home.

Written by
My tree fell on my neighbor's home. - 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 votes

 

 

neighbor tree fall house

 

If my tree falls on another person's property, who files an insurance claim?

 

As an adjuster for several years, this is a common question that I received.  There is a lot of confusion about the subject.  Your home and contents are covered by your homeowners insurance if they are damaged by a tree or branch.  The cost to remove the tree or branch is also covered.  Keep in mind that the tree or branch must cause property damage to be covered by the policy.  Broken branches or a falling tree in the yard would not have coverage for the removal. 

 

Most homeowners tend to think that since the tree was located on their property, they are responsible for any damage that it causes.  In most cases, the property owner where the tree was located is NOT responsible for any damaged caused from either the broken branches or the entire tree falling over onto another property. 

 

 

There are scenarios where the tree owner could be considered negligent and would be responsible for damage.  Insurance Commissioner John Doak's office stated "if your neighbor knew that their tree was a safety concern and nothing was done, your neighbor could be considered negligent. This could be true if the tree was in poor health or not properly maintained. The policyholder’s insurance company may try to collect from the neighbor’s insurance company in a process known as subrogation. If the insurer is successful, you may be reimbursed for the deductible."  If you have a neighbor with  a tree in this condition, we recommend documenting every discussion you have had with the owner.  Be sure to send notices in writing and take pictures. Maintain a paper trail in case damage does occur to your home.  This will help you prove that the tree owner was negligent and possibly subrogate against the neighbor's insurance carrier. 

 

If your home has sustained damage, contact Home Claim Solutions anytime at 918-949-9077.  We can assist you with the tree removal and repairs.  

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