February, 2021 | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Winter has the potential to cause significant damage to your home if you do not take certain necessary preventative steps. Everything from leaks to fallen trees to damaged siding, it can become expensive to cover the costs of repairs to your home. What about frozen pipes? Frozen pipes are one concern. What really causes heads to roll is if they burst! Here’s what you can and should do to prevent your pipes from freezing.

Insulation is probably one of your most effective ways to protecting your pipes from the possibility of freezing. When it comes to insulation, you have several options. First, you can wrap your pipes with a foam covering; Polyethylene is an effective material to use. Insulating your pipes is a good idea, even if your area is not often the host of hard freeze conditions. It is better to be safe than sorry. Apart from using foam coverings, you can also wrap your pipes in heat tape or heat cables using a thermostat control. Do not install any insulation without first reading the directions from the manufacturer.

Cold air has a tendency to sneak its way through cracks and crevices. It is important that you seal off these areas with a good caulk. This is especially important to do in areas where pipes run from inside to outside your home like dryer vents or water pipes.

If colder temperatures begin to settle in, an effective way of preventing your pipes from freezing is by maintaining a slight drip from your faucets in your kitchen, bath, and laundry room.

If you are going to be away from your home for any significant amount of time, it is best to inform a trusted neighbor so they have the chance to check-in on your home, reassuring you that no pipes have burst in your absence.

If you suspect frozen pipes in your home, turn on our faucets. If you only see a very gentle drip, you may have a frozen pipe. Inspect your water supply lines, paying attention to any really cold areas. Do this carefully, so you do not miss any areas that may have breakage. If, during your inspection, you see broken or burst pipes, call a professional plumber immediately.

If you want to thaw your frozen pipes, open the faucet of the particular pipe. The flow of water will help the water melt more quickly.

If you have pipes that are exposed, wrap them in a heated pad and turn the temperature up. Take a hair dryer, turn it to the high setting, and move the hot air back and forth around the pipe. Another way to combat frozen pipes is to wrap them in heated, wet towels. These would need to changed frequently because they tend to lose heat rapidly. Finally, place a space heater close to the area of the frozen pipe. Once the pipes are thawed and the water pressure returns to normal, you can remove it.


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What Do I Do If My Car Engine Is Overheating?

We live in a day and age where the cars we drive have state-of-the-art cooling systems that allow for engines to maintain a safe temperature, so the car can perform at its highest level in any situation. However, there are instances when your vehicle may overheat. If you would like to learn how to prevent overheating or how to fix an overheating problem, please read on…

There are several reasons why an engine would overheat. Usually, this happens when there is a problem with the vehicle’s cooling system that does not allow heat to leave the engine compartment. More often than not, this is due to a leak or blockage somewhere within the cooling system or other components of the car.

Over time, parts of your car are going to suffer wear and tear. Rubber hoses, gaskets, and water pumps can leak. When this happens, your car’s cooling system may be affected. Also, if you have a consistent long commute for work every morning, eventually, the stop=and-go traffic has the potential put very serious strain on your car’s cooling system. This is why it is so important to have regular maintenance check-ups conducted by an experienced professional who knows what to look for.

When you are driving, it is extremely important to pay attention to any alerts your car may be giving you. If you see lights flashing or any indicators being illuminated, get to a repair shop as soon as possible. Putting this off could spell disaster for your wallet.

So, what should you look for to know if your car is overheating? Again, if any of these problems are occurring, seek professional maintenance assistance immediately:

If you any steam coming from underneath the hood of your car.

The temperature gauge for your engine is reaching “H” or is moving into the red area of the gauge.

If you smell any strong odors coming from the front of the car, get to a maintenance shop as soon as you can.

To combat the effects of overheating, it is a good idea to have some essential items on hand:

  • Tool kit
  • A few quarts of oil
  • At least 1 gallon of coolant
  • Towel
  • Gloves

If your car is overheating, take these next steps:

Turning off the heater will potentially lower the temperature of your engine. If you see the warning light turning off or if the temperature gauge goes back to neutral, you should be okay.

Pull over. If you are driving along and your car starts to overheat, it is best to pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine to give it time to cool. If you have the towing option on your Erie Insurance auto policy, you can contact their roadside assistance to come help you. Their number is 1-800-367-3743. You will want to select OPTION 2.

Be patient. If you do not have roadside assistance, it is best to stay calm and wait at least 15 minutes for the engine to cool. It is possible that the engine coolant has reached a scorching temperature, so please do not attempt to open the hood at this time.

Add coolant. Before you add coolant, please make sure you are wearing some heavy-duty gloves. You will want to unscrew the reservoir cap and, using a funnel, gently pour the coolant into the hole of the funnel. Using a funnel allows you to control how much coolant you are adding and prevents a mess.

Drive your car to a service station. Coolant does not directly address the problem you may be having with your car if it is overheating, but it may buy you enough time to get to a service station to have it looked at. A professional will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with your car and what needs to be done to fix the problem.






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Spring Home Maintenance Tips

There is nothing we can do to stop the ebbs and flows of life. Nor should we focus our energy on trying to do so. It is simply a losing cause. If we take a different approach and take the time to appreciate how each day is different, chances are that we will be much happier. Ebb and flow is defined as a recurrent or rhymical pattern of coming and going or decline and growth. As the seasons change, it is our responsibility as home owners to protect and preserve our homes. After all, our homes are a great investment. Since there is nothing we can do to stop the seasons from changing, we need to take a proactive approach to that preservation. Winter, oftentimes, brings the most destruction to homes. Everything from frozen pipes bursting, to flooded basements, to leaking ceilings, if we do not take the necessary preventative steps, we can find ourselves in a serious financial dilemma. Thankfully, spring is far more forgiving. The weather is actually beautiful with lots of radiant sunshine and clear skies. Yes, we do run into those rainy days, but we are not at risk of having our plants freeze to death. Here are a number of steps we can take to protect our home during spring.

Clean Your Gutters: When your drains are clogged, you leave your home at risk of being damaged by excess water, leaks, and flooding. Make sure your downspouts are positioned in such a way to drain away from your home’s foundation. All debris like leaves, grass, dirt, mulch, etc. should be cleared out of the gutters and downspouts.

Inspect Your Roof: Having a healthy roof is essential to preserve your own personal sanctuary that is your home. It is what protects your home from nature’s elements. When you are inspecting your roof, you want to look for any loose shingles or tiles and any cracking. An old, worn roof could spell disaster if not attended to swiftly and properly. If you do not feel comfortable inspecting the higher areas of your roof (generally, these are areas you are not able to inspect properly from the ground), it is a good idea to hire a licensed roofer who possesses the knowledge and skill to return your roof to its pristine condition.

Check Seals Around Windows and Doors: Cold weather can cause the areas around your windows to loosen and/or crack. To prevent further damage, use caulk to seal off your windows. Not all caulk is created equal, so make sure you are using what is going to most effective given the elements. For example, for your exterior windows, you should use a caulk strong enough to withstand harsh sun rays, water, and changing temperatures. The tube of caulk should tell you if it is meant for exterior surfaces. For your interior windows, use a caulk that does not contain harmful fumes. This kind of caulk should hold paint well. For your rooms that may get humid (bathrooms), you will want to use a caulk that is both waterproof and mold-resistant. It is important to note that you should never caulk over old caulk. If caulk has hardened, scrape it off with a steel putty knife and then apply the new caulk.

Service Your Home’s Cooling System: : Life without air conditioning can be rough. Consider having your home’s cooling system checked at least one month prior to the start of summer.

Check Smoke Detector Batteries: Actually, this is a step that should be taken not only during spring. It should be a year-round routine. Check the batteries of all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are functioning properly. This could mean the difference between life and death. Do not take that chance.

Spring Cleaning for the Disposal: When was the last time you thought about cleaning your garbage disposal? To do this, feed a tray of ice cubes through it while running cold water.


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We all take risks every single day. Some of those risks, like driving, may be unavoidable. What can we do to ensure our own safety as well as the safety of others around us while we are behind the wheel? We can practice something called defensive driving.

What is defensive driving?

Defensive Driving is a set of skills one has to defend themselves from possible collisions with other vehicles on the road. Whether caused by bad drivers, drunk drivers, or hazardous weather conditions, there are several steps one can take to make sure they remain safe while on the road.

Give yourself extra time to reach your destination: It does not matter where you are going. While we cannot control the weather, we can take it upon ourselves to anticipate poor weather conditions by paying attention to weather forecasts, so we can make an informed, educated decision about how to proceed with our days. For example, if you know you are going to have an important appointment with your doctor, you can be proactive in finding out what the weather is going to be like that day and plan accordingly. If weather conditions are going to be rainy or icy, it would be a good idea to leave earlier for your appointment, so you do not feel rushed. Stress can lead you to make poor choices while behind the wheel. Road rage is not your friend. Aggressive driving is what we are trying to avoid.

Be able to control your speed on the road: As mentioned earlier, road rage is not your friend. Stay calm and focused while you are operating a motor vehicle. Not only will you be keeping yourself safer, but you will also be protecting other drivers around you. If you have a long commute with long stretches of road in front of you, consider using your cruise-control option in your car. This will allow you to conserve your energy and maintain your focus on what is in front of you.

Be prepared to react to other drivers: This is important. While we cannot control other drivers on the road, we can help protect ourselves by anticipating actions of other drivers. In order to protect yourself, maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you. Stay in your lane. If you are able to maintain a safe speed and a safe distance, you should be able to give yourself ample time to react should another driver do something. Because you have taken steps to anticipate bad driving techniques, you will avoid a collision and a potential insurance claim.

Do not expect other drivers to do what you think he or she should do: As stated before, ways to keep yourself safe are to maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you. Giving yourself that safe distance will buy you more time to react to a bad driver. If another driver is texting while driving, because you have maintained a safe speed and distance, it will not matter that they are not paying attention to the road. You will avoid a collision.

Use proper etiquette and driving techniques while on the road: We all learn how to properly operate a motor vehicle when we take our driver’s test. We all have to pass it before we get our learner’s permit. That is not to say that once you get your learner’s permit, you are suddenly an expert driver. We should all use our turn signals before switching lanes, maintain a safe distance between ourselves and the cars in front of us and around us, and stay calm behind the wheel.

Stay alert and avoid distractions: In most states, it is now against the law to hold your cell phone while driving. Texting while driving is against the law. Some police officers will pull you over just for having your cell phone in your hand. Eating behind the wheel can be another distraction because it, oftentimes, forces you to take at least one hand off of the wheel and your eyes off of the road. Finally, if you are listening to music or the radio, consider leaving the volume level at a place that allows you to hear other cars around you. For example, if a car is honking at you, you will be able to hear it. If a police cruiser or an ambulance needs to pass you, you will be able to hear it and move out of the way.

Defensive Driving is the best way to keep yourself safe while driving. You will be able to protect yourself as well as other drivers around you. And finally, you will be taking preventative measures to keep your insurance rates from increasing. No one wants to have their insurance rates go up or to have their insurance policy canceled altogether.



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