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Brrr... It's Cold Outside!

winterize houseDon’t Let Sub-Zero Temperatures Get You Down

Once again, we are being visited by the Polar Vortex bringing bitterly cold air from coast to coast with air temperatures in some places below zero. The wind chill along with snow and ice all magnify the situation, challenging those of us who must venture outside to face possibly life-threatening situations.

When the mercury dips below zero, you and even your pets are vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite unless you take precautions. Conditions like this can put a much greater burden in your home’s heating system and could cause frozen pipes which could even burst if you don’t take preventative measures in time.

Take a moment to review these tips for protecting you, your pets and your property from sub-zero temperatures.

Protect against hypothermia and frostbite

  • If the wind chill is severe enough, it can cause frostbite in minutes. Check out this short video to see how, why and how quickly this can happen.
  • The Mayo Clinic warns us that, if you must venture outdoors, be sure to dress in layers of warm clothing that are light-weight and non-constricting. Cover as much of your head and face as possible with a hat and scarf. Protect your hands with warm gloves or mittens (actually warmer than gloves). Wear boots that won’t allow moisture to reach your feet. Consider using hand warmers and foot warmers for extra comfort.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include red or pale skin, prickling and numbness. See this infographic from the CDC for more on how to spot and treat frostbite and hypothermia.

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 need to set limits for their exposure and perhaps even "dress" them for the weather in their own sweater, coat or even boots before going outside. The ASPCA offers the following advice to help keep your pets safe in sub-zero temperatures.
  • 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

  • In sub-zero temperatures, 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 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 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 an insurance claim. Speak with your insurance agent for advice and to discuss your coverage options.

Linduist Insurance is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC, West Virginia (WV) and Pennsylvania (PA) since 1992. Our experienced insurance agents  at both our New Market and Annapolis offices welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time. The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it.  This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage.  You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.


 

Monday, 12 December 2016 14:43
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