Winterization and Preventing Ice Dams with MAPFRE Insurance

Posted by Alex Boyer on Sun, Dec 13, 2015

Winter's on its way, so make sure you're prepared to winterize your home with some help from our friends at MAPFRE Insurance. Be sure to take their Winter Challenge at mapfreusa.com! #prep4winter

See the full PDF version here.

Also see how to prevent frozen pipes this winter.

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Tags: Homeowner Insurance, E&K Insurance, House, Insurance, home, winter, Homeowners insurance, ice dams, winterization

E & K Applauds this Win for all Insurance Consumers

Posted by Alex Boyer on Fri, Apr 17, 2015

The Asbury Park Press reports that "buyers of homeowners insurance policies will receive an easy-to-read, one-page summary of their coverage starting in June, according to an announcement Tuesday from the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance."

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The coverage synopsis is the result of a law passed in May 2013 as a reaction to some of the confusion surrounding homeowners insurance and superstorm Sandy.

E & K applauds this win for all insurance consumers.

 

"As we worked with New Jersey consumers following that devastating storm, we saw that some homeowners didn't fully understand their homeowners insurance policy," said Banking and Insurance Commissioner Ken Kobylowski in a statement. "For example, some consumers believed that that homeowners policy covers flood damage. It does not. Flood insurance must be purchased separately. This one-page summary is one way the state is working to raise awareness of insurance issues so consumers understand clearly what their policies do and do not cover."

Read the full article in the Asbury Park Press.

Tags: Hurricane Sandy, Homeowner Insurance, E&K Insurance, NJ, Homeowner, House, Insurance, New Jersey natural disaster, home, FEMA, Superstorm, New Jersey, Homeowners insurance, coverage, Emergency Storm Claim Center, homeowner policy, storm damage

It's Flood Awareness Week

Posted by Alex Boyer on Tue, Apr 07, 2015

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This week is Flood Awareness Week, and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management had some tips and information regarding flooding:

Flooding is a coast-to-coast threat to the United States nearly every day of the year. New Jersey is no exception. This week we will talk about how to stay safe in a flood event. If you know what to do before, during, and after a flood you can increase your chances of survival.

Flood Basics

WHAT: Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.

WHEN: Flooding can occur during every season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.

WHERE: Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as near a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.

For more information, Northeast NJ residents and commuters to/from NYC, please visit: http://www.weather.gov/okx/.

For the rest of New Jersey, please visit: http://www.weather.gov/phi/.

To keep up with the latest in New Jersey emergency management, follow the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram @ReadyNJ.

And, of course, be sure to visit E&K for information on flood insurance and flood risks in New Jersey.

Tags: Flood, Homeowner Insurance, E&K Insurance, NJ, Insurance, New Jersey natural disaster, home, Flood Insurance, Flood insurance policy, New Jersey, Homeowners insurance, homeowner policy

Preventing Frozen Pipes This Winter

Posted by Alex Boyer on Fri, Jan 09, 2015

With the East Coast currently in a deep freeze, sub-zero temperatures can spell catastrophe for your pipes. It's important to know how to prevent your water pipes from freezing over during the harsh winter months. Luckily, WikiHow has a great set of instructions to prevent your pipes from freezing and to thaw out already frozen ones.

 

1: Insulate all water pipes from cold moving air and keep them dry. Locate the main water shut off in case you need it. Leaks often happen if the pipe is thawed out.

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2: Use either heater tapes wrapped around the pipes or a heated reflector lamp in a dry enclosed space. On cold nights, check the light to see that it is working. The heater tapes work by a built-in thermostat. In order to work, the tape must be wrapped between the pipe and the insulation. Some tapes do not allow insulation over heat tape. Follow manufacturer instruction.

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3: If electric power is unavailable or is lost, let the water run no faster than a slow constant drip; this is cheaper than repairing it. First start a slow drip on the hot side faucet, then a faster drip on the cold side faucet. There is no need to run a lot of water. Bathrooms can be cold, as long as they aren't freezing.

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4: Remember to insulate and heat the drain lines in crawl spaces and cold basements. Again, a heat lamp focused on the drain p-trap will keep it from freezing if it is also protected from moving cold air with a boxed enclosure that you can build yourself.

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5: To thaw a frozen pipe, first check the pipe in the area of the freeze. Some plastic or copper pipes will split and will flood the area when thawed. If the pipe looks busted or has a slit in it, call a plumber. If the pipe is all metal, it can be thawed by connecting a welder onto the pipe on each side of the frozen part. After a while it will be running again. This is just like connecting starter cables to the car battery, but with much longer cables.

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6: It is far better to heat the area around the frozen part with an electric space heater, a hand-held hair dryer, or a heat lamp in a reflector to prevent a fire. Use care when placing heat generating devices. Space heaters, heat lamps and reflective lamps can generate high temperatures which may cause combustion of certain materials, Never leave these devices unattended for any amount of time when in use. If this is a problem, call the plumber. Some of them don't mind if you watch them as long as you are quiet and not in the way.

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7: Always disconnect your water hose from your outdoor spigot in the winter, or before the temperature in your area drops below freezing. The water inside the hose can freeze, and the freezing continues back into the spigot until it reaches your pipes. If you have PVC plastic piping leading to this spigot, it will burst.

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8: Use a temperature-controlled thermal convection powered hot water recirculation valve (which does not require electricity to operate) to continuously circulate warm water throughout your hot and cold waterlines anytime the temperature is below the user chosen set point 77F-140F. Unlike heat tape which only heats the pipes, this process circulates water non-stop to prevent crystallization and freezing no matter where the pipes are hidden. Note: This method requires that the valve be installed at a higher level (2nd - 3rd floor) than the water heater. Circulating water throughout your system "non-stop" will also increase your water heating bill. Anytime circulation,is not desired uninstall the valve.

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9: Use a product called ICE LOC which prevents pipes from rupturing by taking up the expansion of the frozen water. It's an elastomer that fits inside pipes that are in trouble areas.

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10: Use a RedyTemp, a device which utilizes an internal water contacting temperature probe to monitor the temperature of the water inside the pipes. Depending on the temperature set point you choose on the unit's temperature dial, it will intermittently circulate water throughout both hot and cold water lines "as needed" to maintain the selected temperature. Intermittent circulation typically results in 5 minutes of actual circulation per hour causing far less water heater demand compared to continuous demand from thermostatic valves. The RedyTemp optimizer installation is a DIY project and takes twenty minutes to install under a sink. Disconnect one end of the existing faucet supply lines and connect to the RedyTemp. Connect the two faucet supply lines which come with the RedyTemp. Plug the unit into a standard wall socket and set the desired temperature set point. Users can gauge the effectiveness of their chosen set point by opening cold water faucets upstream and feeling how cool/ambient/warm the water is coming out the tap, and adjust the set point accordingly until optimized. An optimized set point is achieved when cool or ambient temperature water is maintained in the cold water pipes or the portion of pipe requiring protection. RedyTemp's low 40 watt / 0.52 amp intermittent power consumption allows using a uninterruptible power supply for continuous protection during power outages. Owners of tankless on-demand water heaters require RedyTemp TL4000 series model rather than the ATC3000 depicted in the illustration. During off seasons when circulation is not desired users simply lower the temperature set point to prevent circulation.

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All images and instructions are courtesy of WikiHow. To read the complete article on their site, click here.

Tags: Homeowner, House, home, winter, prepare, storm damage

Home Safety Tips: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted by Rachel Auerbach on Wed, Feb 26, 2014

Temperatures are down, but the heat at home is up. Winter is a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Make sure you and your loved ones are safe by following these simple guidelines.

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1. Make sure nothing is covering or blocking your vents. Remember to check the outside stack or vent for your dryer, fireplace, stove and furnance.

2. Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Also have a qualified technician check your heating system and water heater. Do not patch a vent pipe with tape because it can cause a carbon monoxide build-up. 

3. Do not start your car, grill or generator in a closed area such as your garage or basement. 

And of course, don't forget to install AND maintain (check the batteries) of your carbon monoxide detectors!

Tags: safety, carbon monoxide, home, winter