Quick Month Newsletter November 2022
FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT QUICK INSURANCE
In this issue:
Carrier Spotlight: Nationwide
Animal Strike Prevention
Preparing your home for winter
Protecting people, businesses and futures for more than 90 years. Our agency has valued our partnership with Nationwide since our inception in 1992. Nationwide offers coverages for vehicles, property, pets and events. We protect businesses and employees, as well as company property and vehicles. Nationwide offers investments, retirement options and financial planning.
Let's Talk about Animal Strike Prevention!
Motorists are reminded to drive with extra caution and watch for deer at this time of the year. Deer are more likely to suddenly run onto roadways during their mating season, known as the rut, which runs from late October through mid-December in the Northeast. Increased deer activity is more likely to occur in the early morning and around sunset when visibility may be difficult. Awareness will become even more important when daylight saving time ends on Sunday, November 6, causing many commutes to align with the periods when deer are most active.
These tips can help motorists stay safe during the fall rut:
• Slow down if you see a deer and watch for possible sudden movement. If the deer is in the road and doesn’t move, wait for the deer to cross and the road is clear. Do not try to drive around the deer.
• Watch for “Deer Crossing” signs. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you have enough time to stop, if necessary.
• Use high beams after dark if there is no oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead. High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads. If you see one deer, assume that others may be in the area.
• Don’t tailgate. The driver ahead might have to stop suddenly to avoid colliding with a deer.
• Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and sensible speed, factoring for weather, available lighting, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
• Do not swerve to avoid impact if a collision appears inevitable. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake appropriately and stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer.
• Obey the state’s hands-free device law or refrain from using cellular devices while driving.
Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately. Call us to confirm your vehicle has Comprehensive (also know as 'other-than-collison' coverage) on your policy.
Prepare your home for winter
Winterizing your home is no fun when it's already freezing cold out, so fall is the time to get winterized in preparation for the season. Proper winterization involves a systematic review of your home's HVAC equipment as well as the critical structural and mechanical systems. Take care of these elements before winter, so you can enjoy the snow in cozy comfort.
Here are key areas of your home that you should focus on when winterizing.
Winterize the Heating System
The heating system is perhaps the most critical element for a home in the winter. The following tasks will help you prepare it.
Test run: No later than early November, give your heating system a test run. Turn the thermostat to heat mode, and set it to 80°F. You should hear the furnace turn on, and warm air should begin to blow within a few minutes. If the furnace is running fine, turn the thermostat back to its normal setting. If the furnace is not running properly, reach out to a qualified service technician.
Replace the air filter: Put in a new, clean air filter. It's easy, and doing so will ensure a free flow of air and a cleaner environment. Each furnace has its own requirements for air filters, so follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
Check the fuel supply: If you have a propane or fuel oil furnace, make sure your fuel storage tank is topped off and ready to go. Add any appropriate anti-freeze agents.
Inspect and clean heating vents: Clear obstacles to heating vents, so air can freely flow. Many experts recommend having a service technician come in and clean the vents every year or two.
Check for carbon monoxide leaks: This silent killer can easily be detected with a battery-operated alarm. If you discover problems, call in a professional to identify and correct the cause of the leak. Usually, this involves leakage in the exhaust system of a furnace or other fuel-burning appliance, such as a water heater. Don't put this work off; a carbon monoxide leak is a very dangerous situation.
Check exhaust vents: Some furnaces and boilers, as well as gas water heaters, vent through a chimney, while newer high-efficiency models might vent through plastic pipes running through a side wall. Make sure these vents are open and free of obstructions, which can block the vent pipes and interfere with the furnace's ability to burn efficiently and properly vent exhaust gases.
Winterize the Air Conditioning System
Often neglected is one of the most important components of a cooling system: the condensing unit outside that churns away in the heat of summer. This component needs a little attention as winter approaches.
Clean the condensing unit of debris: Using a hose with the spray head set to the highest pressure, clean the fan blades and condensing coils of debris and dirt. Let the unit dry completely before covering it for the season.
Cover the condensing unit: Left unprotected, the condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris that contribute to rusting and freezing of internal components. Although these units are designed for outdoor use, covering them with a breathable waterproof cover made for that purpose goes a long way to extending the life and efficient performance of the unit.
Winterize window air conditioners: As for window air conditioners, remove them if possible and store them for winter. Left in windows, these appliances are very hard to seal effectively against cold drafts. If they can't be removed, then close the vents and make sure to get an air conditioning cover similar to a condensing unit cover.
Inspect the Fireplace, Chimney, and Flue
Although largely ignored in warm weather, a wood-burning fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks and other issues in winter. The chimney and fireplace need some inspection and service before winter sets in.
Clear obstructions: Check to make sure the chimney is clear of any nests from birds, squirrels, or other small animals.
Check the damper: Make sure it opens and closes fully and that it can be locked in the open or closed position.
Have the chimney inspected & cleaned: Your fireplace chimney should be inspected by a professional chimney service at least every 5 years. Your fireplace chimney should be cleaned each fall.
Inspect the firebrick in the fireplace: If you see any open mortar joints, have them repaired immediately. A fire can spread into the stud wall behind the masonry firebrick through open mortar joints.
Fire Prevention: Make sure you have at least one "Chimney Fire Stop" sticks on hand incase of a chimney fire. Make sure you home's smoke detectors are functional and your home's fire extinguishers are in good working condition.
Major insulation upgrades aren't something to do hurriedly right before winter. A home that is in serious need of more insulation should be carefully evaluated to ensure a quality job. But there are some areas you can easily insulate to help prepare for winter.
Insulate the hot water heater: Use an insulating blanket you can buy at the hardware store.
Insulate exterior outlets and switch plates: Use inexpensive foam sealing gaskets.
Seal unused fireplaces: If you don't use your fireplace and it leaks air, you can cut a piece of fiberglass insulation and stuff it into the fireplace behind your fireplace screen to block the cold air coming down the chimney. Of course, you'll need to remove this whenever you use the fireplace.
Seal Doors and Windows
Infiltration of cold air from air leaks around doors and windows is a significant contributor to your heating bill. An easy way to reduce your bill is to minimize these drafts with simple weatherstripping.
Inspect the outside moldings: Look around windows for damaged or missing caulking. Use a good quality exterior caulk to seal any gaps you find.
Check old windows: Windows with traditional glazing putty holding the glass panes in the frames might have seen the putty crack and fall out. Reglaze any windows that have missing glazing putty. Install storm windows for your old windows.
Inspect window tracks: Clean the tracks of any debris that might be interfering with seals.
Inspect the locking mechanisms: Make sure they work adequately. You will want to lock them securely once winter sets in.
Check for air leaks: On a day when it's windy outside, close your windows and feel for air leaks. Typically, leaks will be found at the edges where the window is hinged, slides, or meets another unit. You can tape plastic over windows to seal them, but this can be expensive and rather unattractive. A better and easier solution is to use inexpensive rope caulk to seal leaks. Press the rope to caulk into all the joints where the air is leaking.
Inspect caulking: Look around the outside moldings of door frames, and add new exterior-grade caulking if necessary.
Inspect and replace any failed weatherstripping: Check the weatherstripping around doors, including the door sweep attached to the bottom of the door.
Check for air leaks: Feel around doors for air coming in, and use rope caulk where applicable to seal gaps.
Inspect the Roof
Do a quick check of the roof to prepare for winter. Either hire someone to inspect it if you are not comfortable doing this yourself, or inspect it yourself wearing well-fastened shoes with nonskid soles. A drone with a camera or a camera on a long pole are safe ways to use technology to check your roof.
Inspect the shingles: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles, and have them replaced.
Inspect the flashing: Check flashing around chimneys and other roof projections, which are often the source of leaks. Have repairs made if necessary.
Inspect the gutters: Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean with no leaves or debris clogging them. Wet leaves remaining in the gutters over winter add significant weight and volume when frozen, increasing the risk of damage. Also, make sure downspouts are solidly attached.
Winterize the Sprinkler System
The sprinkler system should not be overlooked when preparing your home for winter. If you have a lawn service that handles this, have it come to drain and winterize the system no later than early November. Winterizing a sprinkler system is also fairly easy to do yourself. It involves shutting off the water, draining the pipes, blowing them free of water, and then opening test cocks on the vacuum breaker to allow air into the system. This prevents trapped water from freezing and cracking the plastic water lines.
Winterize the Pool and Spa
How you winterize a pool and spa will depend on which type you have; an above-ground pool can require much different procedures than an in-ground pool. Have a pool maintenance person perform all necessary winterization procedures. If you do this work yourself, make sure to carefully follow the pool or spa manufacturer's recommendations for winterizing it.
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