Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
6 tips for staying ahead of the storm
Following these tips can help your clients prevent costly losses in dangerous winter weather. With winter on the way, the promise of snow and freezing temperatures looms for many businesses — along with risks of slips and falls, burst pipes, service interruptions, and more. Companies that have a good understanding of winter-related exposures and take proactive measures to mitigate them are better positioned to protect the public and their employees and properties and manage their total cost of risk.
Following these six tips can help your clients prevent costly losses.
When treating outdoor areas, not all de-icers are created equal.
During cold weather, using de-icers on outside areas like parking lots and sidewalks can reduce slips, trips, and falls. De-icers can vary by price, corrosiveness, and effectiveness. A business should consider weather conditions and the application area when choosing one. For example, sodium chloride (rock salt) is inexpensive, but corrosive to concrete and less effective at lower temperatures. Ice melt blends (magnesium chloride or calcium chloride) are more effective at lower temperatures, but also more expensive. Proper application is also important. Melting snow can re-freeze overnight, so treat areas first thing in the morning, prior to the arrival of employees and visitors.
Don’t forget about the entryways (all of them)
The risk of slips and falls does not end once someone enters a building. Snow, ice, sand, and salt tracked in from outside can create hazards in entryways. Businesses should keep these areas clean and dry and use matting to absorb moisture to help mitigate these risks. An entryway’s size, flooring type, and traffic volume can affect the housekeeping schedule, floor mat length, and how often a mat should be replaced. Review plans to ensure they address each entryway.
Even dry pipe sprinkler systems can “freeze-up”
As the name implies, dry pipe sprinklers contain pressurized air that is replaced with water only once the system is activated by heat. Even these systems are susceptible to freeze-ups and are the cause of many winter-related losses. Transient water or condensation from the air within the system can build up and freeze during cold weather, causing damage to steel pipes and fittings. To minimize this risk, business owners should make sure systems are properly installed, with pipes sloped so water collects at low points, and that pipes are drained on a quarterly basis.
Burst pipes can lead to significant damage and safety issues
Freeze-ups in piping typically occur in areas that are not adequately heated or insulated, such as in vacant buildings, near drafty windows, or in attics. Adding insulation can help, but if pipes do freeze up and burst, they are not only costly to fix, they could lead to extensive damage if water is not quickly turned off at the main source. It’s important that responsible personnel know the location of water shut-off valves (and how to use them) to minimize damage. If sprinkler systems are impaired as a result, a business should contact its insurance partners and local fire department to alert them of the potential hazard.
Winter preparedness is everyone’s responsibility
When preparing for winter weather, everyone — from housekeeping staff and front-line employees to managers and interns — bears some responsibility. Each party should clearly communicate its role, responsibilities, and expectations when it comes to maintenance and safety. For example, who is responsible for keeping hallways dry and clean? Are workers careful to put excess snow in areas that do not block fire exits, vents, or drains? Employees should know whom to contact when confronting a hazard.
Your insurance partners can boost your efforts
A knowledgeable insurer can help you offer expertise and support to clients putting their winter plans in place. An insurer may provide pre-season preparation guides and more timely communications right before a storm that review maintenance procedures. If your clients are building new locations or renovating their current spaces, your carrier may be able to offer guidance on entryway designs, flooring material, and more that can help reduce the risk of injuries.
As with most hazards, an ounce of winter weather risk prevention is worth a pound of cure. Knowledge, communication, and support from the right partners can save businesses time — and money — when winter arrives.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Monday, November 21, 2016
7 Ways to Stop Drafts in Your Home
Drafts, or air leaks, can come into your home through windows, fireplaces and even electrical outlets, making your house feel several degrees colder and driving up your heating bills. The potential energy savings from reducing drafts can range from 5% to 30% per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Here are seven ways to find and fix drafts in your home before winter’s frigid temperatures hit.
Windows and doors
Most people automatically think to check for gaps around their windows and doors, and many will opt to use self-sticking weather stripping or a decorative draft stopper to stop air leakage. Others will caulk around their doors and windows. Caulking, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“Caulking seems easy until it’s coming out of the end of the tube and you can’t control it, it goes all over the place and it doesn’t go where you want it to go,” says Mark Clement, co-host of a home improvement radio show. The problem, he says, is there are so many different types of caulking to choose from. The best choice is to use a high-quality latex caulk that cleans up with water.
You should also check for cracked caulking around your doors and windows. If you find any cracks, you will need to re-caulk those areas to prevent cold air from seeping in. If you want to add an extra barrier between the outside air and your home, you could also install an insulating plastic film over your windows to provide an airtight seal.
An easy way to stop air leakage, says Clement, is to lock your windows. Sometimes a window will look closed but, until it is locked, it’s hard to tell if the window is shut tight, he says. If you can’t lock your window, try opening it all the way and closing it again to make sure the window is still on its track. If that doesn’t work, you might need to call a professional to check your window.
If you have an unfinished basement, there is a good chance your floors feel cold when you walk around in bare feet and even when you wear socks, Clement says. The best way to stop cold air from penetrating the floor is to add insulation under the flooring.
Cable lines and wires
Anywhere a cable, wire or pipe goes from inside to out, there is typically an air leak. If the hole around the wire or pipe is a quarter of an inch or less, you can use caulk to seal it, Clement says. If it is larger, use foam insulation to close the hole.
Contractors often under-insulate light switches and plugs, says Clement. As a result, they can become wind tunnels. If you remove the electrical wall plate around your light switch or plug, you may see a gap between the device and the wall. You can fill up the cavity with low-expanding foam insulation. This video explains how to do it (but when in doubt, consult a professional).
Make sure your attic is properly insulated. It’s important to seal areas where exhaust fans, attic stairs and small holes allow cool air to seep into your home. Foam insulation and weather stripping can be added to the plywood or drywall in your attic to help seal up those areas.
The damper inside your chimney is meant to keep the cold air out but since dampers are typically made of cast iron, they don’t entirely keep the cold away. One way to stop drafts from fireplaces is to insert a piece of thick foam insulation covered with decorative fabric at the fireplace opening when you aren’t using the fireplace.
Buffer your home with landscaping
Shrubs and trees planted around your home can help protect it from the wind in the winter and provide shade in the summer. For instance, says Clement, if you plant an evergreen tree in front of your house it will protect your home from the wind, keeping the cold air from hitting your house and windows directly.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
5 Tips for Windshield Crack Prevention and Repair
1. Decide if it needs immediate attention
2. Determine whether it needs repaired or replaced
3. Avoid dirt and debris
4. Park indoors to avoid the sun
5. Avoid temperature extremes
6. Drive carefully
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
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Friday, October 28, 2016
6 Common Car Smells and How to Remove Them
Everyone wants to keep the new car smell in their car as long as possible. What do you do when the air turns funky? Here’s a look at 6 common causes of car odors and how you can remove them.
1. How to check for hidden odor sources
2. How to clean car carpet and upholstery
3. How to remove cigarette smell from car
4. How to eliminate car sickness smells
5. How to remove mildew from cars
6. How to eliminate car air conditioner smells
For more information click here
Trick or Treating Tips Infographic
Halloween is just around the corner, and there are a few things to consider before October 31st. From picking out the right costume to keeping your house protected, Halloween requires some preparation. Check out these Halloween facts and trick or treating safety tips to help you and your family have a great Halloween.
For more information click here