Schaefer & Delauder Insurance Blog

Winter Safety Tips for Pets and Home - Schaefer & Delauder Insurance, We all know to dress to stay warm before venturing out on a winter day, but there are a few topics worthy of a reminder since they are not often top of mind as we go through each day.  Our pets depend on us to keep them safe in the cold. Likewise, two winter-related home risks that need our attention are pipe-freezing and home fires caused by space heaters.  We have gathered advice and tips from the experts to help you have a safe and comfortable winter for yourself and your pets.

Bring your pets in from the cold

Some pets are more tolerant of extremely cold temperatures than others, but that does not mean that they are not just as vulnerable to the harmful effects.  It’s up to you as the pet owner to protect them.  Many pets — especially dogs — aren’t aware of just how cold the weather can be. You’ll have to be sensitive to their limits, and you may have to wrap your pet in a coat or boots to go outside. The ASPCA offers the following advice to help keep your pets safe as temperatures plummet.

  • Just as leaving your pet in your car when it’s hot can be deadly, so can leaving them in your car when it’s cold.  The car traps the cold air and acts like a refrigerator, causing the animal to freeze.
  • Keep your pets safely indoors during extremely cold weather that can cause them to be disoriented or actually freeze.  How to know when it’s too cold for your pet to be outside:  If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
  • Protect your pet from drafts and give them a warm place to sleep that is off the floor such as a dog or cat bed.  Adding a warm blanket or pillow will help as well. 
  • Because your pets burn extra energy to stay warm when it’s cold, they’ll require extra food for the calories they’ll need. Likewise, extra water for extra hydration will help prevent dry skin

Keep pipes from freezing

When temperatures reach freezing, it is especially important to protect the water pipes in your home so that they do not freeze and potentially burst.  If your pipes are on an outside wall or above an unheated space, such as a garage, the best precaution, especially if you lose heat or power, is to run water at a trickle in sinks and bathtubs. This keeps the water moving through your pipes and makes it more difficult to freeze. 

See this article from the American Red Cross for much more about preventing and thawing frozen pipes.

Take great care when using space heaters

According to a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) study, space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for 2 of every 5 home heating fires and 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths.  Placing flammable items too close to the heater was most frequently the cause of the fire.

The folks at Energy.gov offer the following advice for buying and installing small space heaters.

  • Purchase only a newer model heater equipped with current safety features and carrying the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • To avoid wasting energy by overheating a room, select a heater that is appropriately sized for the space to be heated; and be sure that it is thermostatically-controlled.
  • Be sure that your space heater is placed away from foot traffic, out of the reach of pets and children.  Be sure that the heater sits level so that it will not tip over. 

Homeowners Insurance Tip

The winter months are the worst for home fires. You’ll want to be sure that your homeowners insurance policy offers you the best coverage for your circumstances.  Spend some time inspecting your home to be sure that your heating system, fireplace and space heaters are installed and maintained properly well before you have the need to ever file a homeowners insurance claim.  Speak with your insurance agent for advice and to discuss your coverage options.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown or Frederick, MD to discuss any  home insurance-related questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Friday, 04 January 2019 11:16

smart & green new years resolutions - home maintenance - Schaefer & Delauder Insurane, Germantown & Frederick MDIf you’re a homeowner, you already know that keeping your home safe and in top condition is an ongoing effort. You likely already have a list of maintenance chores for each season of the year, and maybe you’ve been exploring new ways to make your home more comfortable for your family.  If you’re an out-of-the-box thinker, then consider committing to a few productive New Year’s resolutions that will help to improve the health of your largest investment – your home. 

Make Your Home Smarter

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about improving your home’s energy efficiency or making it more secure by using technology.  In fact, is it possible that many of the devices in your home besides computers and smartphones could connect to the Internet? We’re talking about “IoT” – the Internet of Things. It’s basic to home automation and smart homes, and it could significantly change your life. 

Check out this article: How Smart is Your Home? (PC Magazine) for some very exciting details and options. You’ll be surprised at how reasonable the cost to make life at home much more convenient.

Be More Energy Efficient

Small changes over the course of the year – done if/when they are needed – can save money on your energy bill and make your home more environmentally friendly as well.  For example, consider replacing alkaline batteries with rechargeable batteries as the old batteries fail.  Instead of replacing failed incandescent light bulbs with new ones of the same kind, give some thought to replacing with LED bulbs – much longer lasting and still relatively inexpensive. If you continue to seek out alternatives in this way, you will begin to see the difference in your utility bills over time.

If you’re considering some remodeling projects this year, remember to do your homework.  If you are planning a kitchen upgrade and will be replacing appliances, be sure to compare the energy saving features before making your purchase. If it’s your bathroom that will be redone, look into replacing your fixtures with water-saving low-flow options.

Plan your Home Maintenance for the Year

Keeping up with home maintenance is not only critical to the life and health of your home, it can also be daunting if you don’t approach it systematically.  Even if you are not a “list person” by nature, you will find that creating and following a year-long schedule of your home maintenance work will save you stress. 

Check out this article: 7 Apps to Get Stuff Done Around the House for help and project organization to download on your phone or tablet.

Homeowner Insurance Tip

As you make improvements to your home and increase its value, be sure to sit down with your insurance agent to review your Homeowners Insurance policy to see that your coverage is keeping up with the changes.  If you’ll be making any large changes to your home such as building an addition or adding features such as a swimming pool, deck, garage, then you’ll want to check with your insurance agent ahead of time to learn about any insurance limitations.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at Schaefer & Delauder Insurance either in Germantown or Frederick, MD to discuss your home insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Monday, 17 December 2018 10:17

Prepare well to avoid home flooding damage and homeowners insurance claims.It’s every homeowner’s nightmare:  arriving home from a long-awaited vacation to find that your house has suffered water damage in major proportions! 

Could this have been avoided?

When planning your vacation, be sure to devote some attention to securing your home against possible damage from water pipe bursts, severe weather flooding, or something else.  We've provided a checklist here to help you cover everything.  This way, you can leave home with the peace of mind that will let you enjoy every minute of your vacation knowing you'll return to an intact home.

Tuesday, 09 August 2016 05:18

 

Burglar-Proof Your HomeWe all look forward to a vacation break during the summer months; but, in fact, so do burglars who know that homeowners many times leave their homes unprotected. However, most burglaries could be prevented if we take basic precautions.  According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), light, time and noise are the homeowner’s greatest weapons against home invasion by burglars. If you will be leaving your home empty while you vacation, consider the following to help make your house burglar-proof.

Monday, 15 May 2017 05:18