January 2017

17
Jan

Tips for Fireplace Safety

A fireplace provides warmth while avoiding the costs that come with turning on the heater, but how do you stay safe with a live fire in your home? 

As winter chills the temperature and natural gas prices on the rise, you may be tempted to light your fireplace and warm yourself up the old fashioned way. It can be comfortable and provide a sense of nostalgia watching the fire dance and hearing it crackle under the heat. But the fact remains that it is a live flame and the smallest spark could cause a fire in your home. Here are some fireplace safety tips to keep you and your home safe.

Clean the Chimney

The chimney is directly affected by the burning of wood. As wood burns it releases smoke, soot, and creosote, all of which are toxic to us. Hire a chimney sweep to make sure your chimney is free of any buildup; a clogged chimney can force smoke back down into your home which can cause suffocation.

Cap the Chimney

Make sure that your chimney is well capped in order to allow smoke out but disallow foreign objects in. A well-capped chimney keeps out rain and snow, along with leaves, and small animals like squirrels and birds from coming in and wrecking your home.

Use Dry Hardwood 

Only use dry hardwoods, like oak, to fuel your fires. A byproduct of burning wood is a creosote, a carcinogenic chemical that builds up in your chimney. Hardwoods produce less of this chemical which is why you should only burn the hardwoods. Softer and resinous woods, like pine, are known for producing more of this harmful carbon-based chemical.

Make sure that your home is protected with the right home insurance policy. Contact Abatelli Group, Inc. for a proper policy on your insurance needs.

9
Jan

Winter Home Maintenance Tips

The cold is settling in and if our homes are not well-maintained, we can be throwing money away as we try to keep ourselves warm. 

Cold temperatures are great for some unique outdoor activities: snowball fights, sledding, ice skating, making snowmen, and other fun activities. But outside of play, living in the cold can be rough. Luckily for us, we do not have to live in the cold; humanity can do what no other animal can do: change our environment to suit our comforts. If our homes are not properly ready for winter, we can essentially rack up our heating bill and waste a lot of energy. Here are a few winter home maintenance tips for your home.

Insulation 

  • Add weather stripping around your doors and caulk the window seals in order to stop drafts and prevent heat loss. The more heat you keep in your home, the more energy you save and the more money you save.
  • Heat rises so make sure to insulate your attic to keep the heat from escaping into the atmosphere. If you allow heat to escape from the attic, it warms the roof melting snow and creating ice dams.
  • If allowed, remove screens from windows and install storm windows.

Utilities

  • Learn how to shut your water supply off and know where your pipes are located to prevent water damage. And turn them off if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time.
  • Check and fix any water leaks. Use only thermostatically-controlled heat tape if your water pipe is plastic and is exposed to unheated areas like garages, crawl spaces, and such other areas.

Protect your home from the dangers of winter. Make sure that your home is protected with the right home insurance policy. Contact Abatelli Group, Inc. for a proper policy on your insurance needs.