Recent News

Contractors & Water Damage

Zurich has presented a series of innovative tools to help contractors prevent water damage on a construction site.

Water-sensing flow meters – costly water damage often occur on weekends.  Installing a flow meter onsite alerts an unusual flow of water.

Spill Carts – Assemble a spill cart with first-responder essentials for a leak or spill.

Wet work permits and training – Download a wet work permit checklist and training programfor your construction works. 

The common thread in the successful deployment of these tools and steps is communication and teamwork.

To read the entire article, go to https://www.zurichna.com/en/knowledge/articles/2019/04/how-contractors-can-wage-war-on-water-damage-and-win?.com

By implementing these tools on your job site, you will have an educated workforce poised to handle water damage when occurs.

Source: Zurich

Happy Easter!

On behalf of all of us at Appleby-Wyman Insurance, we wish you all a Happy Easter.

Spring Lawn & Garden Checklist

Gardner’s Edge has been assisting homeowners and avid gardeners since 2005. Follow their spring checklist to ensure a healthy, lush lawn and garden this season!

Whip Your Yard & Garden Beds into Shape

Your yard has probably collected some fallen limbs, leaves, and other debris over the winter months. Now is a good time to rake up any debris in your garden beds and landscaping. Cut back or remove dead plants and tackle any early pesky weeks before they get out of hand. Also aerate and till your garden soil to maximize its potential.

Start a Compost Pile

After cleaning up the yard and garden beds, you should have plenty of debris to add to your existing compost pile, or start a new one! Compost helps improve soil, delivers important nutrients to your garden and helps reduce fertilizer expenses.

Tackle Those Unfinished Projects, or Start Some New Ones!

Maybe last fall you started building a new garden shed, updating your patio area, or installing raised beds but didn't have time to get it finished. Tackle those projects now before you get too busy with your spring vegetable garden and lawn care

Sharpen Your Tools So They'll Be Ready for Spring

Keep your favorite tools sharp, clean, functional and easy to use for optimal performance. Pruners, mower blades, soil knives, shovels, loppers, garden scissors and more will benefit from regular sharpening.

Prune Plants Before They Bloom to Encourage Healthy New Growth

Besides pruning for safety and to enhance the health of your trees and shrubs, pruning can also improve flower and fruit production. Check out our pruning guide to help select the right pruner for the job, to learn how to sharpen and maintain your pruner, and for general pruning techniques.

Divide Perennials While the Weather is Still Cool and New Growth is Minimal

Rejuvenate perennials and keep them under control by dividing them before new growth begins or while new growth is minimal. Expand your garden with the divisions or share with friends. A soil knife works great for this task, or you may prefer a shovel or spade for larger plants. It's recommended to divide fall blooming perennials in the spring, and spring and summer bloomers in the fall.

Apply Mulch to Help Reduce Weeds and Save Water

Mulch keeps weeds at bay by smothering weed seeds, and it helps plants retain moisture so you don’t have to water as often. Plus it keeps roots cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter. Go for a depth of around 2-4 inches, but remember to leave a little space around plant stems and tree trunks to prevent rot. Landscape fabric below your mulch also helps reduce weeds. Add landscape edging to define borders and achieve that perfectly manicured, professional look.

Test Your Soil to See What Nutrients It Needs

Now is a good time to add a couple of inches of compost or your favorite fertilizers and amendments to your flower beds, vegetable garden and lawn. A soil tester will help you measure pH, moisture, fertilizer and light to determine exactly what your plants and soil need.

Fertilize or Reseed Your Lawn

If your lawn is looking a little rough, lightly fertilize with a balanced, slow release fertilizer in the spring. Fall is the better time for heavy fertilizing though. You can also add a pre-emergent to help control weeds before they get out of hand. Now is also a great time to reseed your lawn if needed, however, be aware that pre-emergents prevent grass seed from sprouting so you should only do one or the other.

Start Planting!

Once the weather turns nice, get out there and start planting! Get an early start with cool weather crops, as they can be planted a couple months before the last frost date. These crops can tolerate a light frost, but have frost protection on hand for those really cold nights.

Source:  Gardner’s Edge

Flooding This Spring

Flooding is a coast-to-coast threat to parts of the United States nearly every day of the year.  The National Weather Service has created a site to help keep you safe in a flood event.

If you know what to do before, during, and after a flood can increase your chances of survival and better protect your property.

The site also provides an interactive flood map, that describes the different types of flooding and educational material.

The Service also keeps you aware of potentially flooding situations through alerts and warnings.

Go to www.weather.gov/safety.flood to explore all the flooding resources they provide.

If you have flood insurance rest easy, if you haven’t we recommend you call the agency to obtain a quote. Remember, it takes 30 days before a flood policy becomes effective so prepare today for tomorrow’s storms.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Make these 15 preventative maintenance tips part of your spring cleaning to-do list this year

Change your air filters

For most people, you should change the filters in your heater and air conditioner unit once every three months. If you have bad allergies, then make it once a month instead. This is a simple step you can do yourself that helps extend the life of your air conditioner vents and heating system and will save you money in potential repairs.

Follow this HVAC preventive maintenance checklist

Spending a little bit of money twice a year to have an HVAC specialist come out and perform routine maintenance on your A/C and heater can go a long way towards helping you avoid expensive HVAC repairs.

Clear out your gutters

Clearing out your gutters and downspouts is a nuisance, but when gutters get (and stay) clogged, it can lead to leaks in your roof, wood rot, cracked foundations and bug problems – all of which are expensive (and often pretty gross) to deal with.

Check the whole house for leaks

Leaks can quickly become destructive if you don’t catch them in time. About once a week, inspect the whole house (the inside and the exterior) and check all the sinks and cabinets under them to look for leaks. If you find a leak in your roof while it’s small, you can get it fixed before it causes water damage (which can be crazy-expensive)!

Give the attic a run-through

When was the last time you went in your attic? For many of us, attics are forgotten storage spaces or homes to old keepsakes we convince ourselves we want to hold on to. No judgment – if you have the space to store, go for it!

But remember that your attic is a part of your home, too, and if you neglect it simply because you rarely find yourself up there, the part of your house you do use could pay the price. Give your attic a run-through every few months to monitor for leaks, pest infestations, and insulation damage, and catch them before they get out of control. This way, they’ll be easier and cheaper to fix.  

Trim your trees

The trees that add beauty and character to your yard can end up costing you big-time if branches or the tree itself falls on top of your house during a storm. Trimming your trees (or hiring someone to do so) once a year reduces your risk.

You are liable if a tree in your yard falls and damages a neighbor’s home or automobile. It’s a good idea to inspect trees for damage after a large storm or high winds. This will help to keep your insurance premiums low and avoid the hassle of filing a claim.

Test your smoke and CO2 alarms

In addition to saving you the costs of fire damages, health care, and potential carbon monoxide poisoning, making sure you have working smoke and CO2 detectors can literally save your life. Most smoke and CO2 detectors have a “test” button. Give it a try once a month and make sure you replace the batteries as often as directed.

Test your water heater pressure shut-off valve

The pressure relief valve on your hot water heater is a safety feature that keeps the unit working properly and reduces the risk of leaks or at worst, an explosion. Once a year, check that it’s doing its job.

Drain your water heater

Once a year, you should also flush your water heater (or hire someone to do so) to let out all the sediment that builds up over time. This will both make your water heater work more effectively and lengthen the unit’s life.

Have your chimney cleaned

If you don’t have a fireplace, this is one you get to skip.

If you do and you use it with any frequency, then get someone out to clean your chimney flue once a year to avoid chimney fires.

Test your sump pump

If your home doesn’t have a basement, this is one you get to skip.

If it does, your sump pump has an important role to play to help you avoid damage from potential flooding. You don’t want to figure out your sump pump doesn’t work at the moment you need it, so test it out once a year to make sure you can depend on it in any circumstance.

Check the soil around your foundation

Foundation issues are among the most expensive a home can have, and they can cause you major pain if or when you wish to sell your home. One step you can take to prevent foundation damage is to make sure the soil around your house gradually slopes away from your house six inches down for about 10 feet. That way when it rains a lot, the water will move away from the foundation toward the rest of your yard.

It’s also important to check for any cracking in the foundation or sagging of your home. If you notice either of these things you should contact a foundation repair company quickly to keep the problem from getting worse. Your homeowners policy may not cover expansion or contraction of soil leading to foundation damage so catching the problem early can help you avoid a huge repair bill.

Caulk where needed

This is a general tip on a general to-do list, but an important one. Caulk is cheap and can help you keep moisture out of crevices you don’t want it in to avoid water damage and mold. It can help you weatherize your house to keep cold air out in the winter and keep it in during the summer. Go through your house, around your garage door, and look for any spots where the caulk could use an update, or a crevice could use some new caulking.

Check your washer and dryer

The washer and dryer often sit out of sight in a laundry room, making it easy to overlook issues. Make a point to check around the washer for possible leaks. And check your dryer for lint buildup, which can cause fires.

While your homeowners insurance policy will likely cover water damage from a malfunctioning washer, the damage must be sudden and accidental. But if your home suffers water damage due to a continuous leak, you may be on the hook for the repair bill without the help of your insurance company.

Clean refrigerator coils

Family Handyman predicts that 70% of refrigerator service calls can be avoided with this simple step. Cleaning your fridge coils twice a year will save you money on both repairs and energy costs.

This complete list of home repairs can cost you stress, inconvenience, and of course, money. A little bit of time and money in proactive home maintenance tasks can save you a lot of that trouble and keep your house in tip-top shape.

Source:  The Zebra

Fireplace Holiday Preparation

With the holidays, we want to feature our fireplaces with holiday decorations.  Here are a few tips to keep your safe this holiday season.

It is essential that you have your fireplace professionally cleaned by a chimney sweep at least once a year If it is wood-burning.

Once you’ve assured that you can operate your fireplace safely, there are other things you need to do to eliminate hazards:

  • Be sure your home has working smoke alarms on every level.
  • Get an alarm that alerts you if carbon dioxide poisoning becomes a threat.
  • Dispose of ashes with great care and assurance that an unexpected fire will not start due to hot ashes.
  • Only burn seasoned firewood, meaning wood that is low in moisture.

Some tips specifically for the holidays include:

  • Don’t place wrapped packages or gift boxes near the fireplace because they are highly combustible. Keep all combustible materials at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles, and portable heaters.
  • There are additives in wrapping paper which makes it burn at extremely high temperatures; don’t burn wrapping paper in your fireplace.
  • Do not discard garbage in your fireplace, including wrapping paper and boxes.
  • Keep an operable fire extinguisher nearby not only for possible fireplace mishaps but also in case your Christmas tree combusts.
  • Never dispose of a Christmas tree by burning it in your fireplace. The wood of the Christmas tree has not been properly dried or seasoned and is not safe to burn.

Cyber Monday is Here

Cyber Monday is expected to set new online records with a 17.5% increase from last year or $7.7 billion in sales.   If you are one of the millions shopping online, here are some safety tips to follow:

  • Shop from a secure computer since phones and computers can be compromised – use antivirus software and keep your operating system and internet-facing apps up to the latest version
  • Shop using a secure connection – make sure the urls you are using are HTTPS which assists in keeping you safe.
  • Search for deals on retailers sites, not on search engines – rather than use a browser to find your favorite stores, go directly to them.
  • Use trusted vendors – you can be redirected to fakes and open to scammers
  • Don’t fall for “too-good-to-be-true deals – you might get these offers from emails, text messages, pop browsers and social media (especially social media)
  • Plan ahead and don’t be rushed – one tip to follow is to look for an extra “.cc” at the end of a url attached to a trusted website.  Again, go directly to the vendor.
  • Review credit-card and bank statements regularly during the shopping session – we can’t guarantee that a transaction doesn’t match your purchase.  If you see a discrepancy, contact your bank or card issuer
  • Don’t use debit cards online – use a credit card.  If using a debit card, use the prepaid kind with a set spending limit.
  • Use unique passwords and logon information for every site you visit – use different passwords on different sites – why if a hacker gets your password, it can be used on other websites.
  • If you’re shopping from a tablet or smartphone on Cyber Monday, use a trusted vendor’s app, not a web browser – since browsers don’t show the url of a vendor, make sure you go directly to the vendor.
  • Never install software on your mobile device from a website link or code – always use “official” store such as Apple’s iTunes App Store or Google Play store.

Follow these tips and have a safe Cyber Monday.

Source: Tom’s Guide

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Here are some cooking safety tips to follow as you get ready for Thanksgiving:

  • Keep your cooking area clean and clutter free.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings
  • Immediately turn off unused burners/appliances
  • Never leave unattended cooking – this is the major cause of fires in the kitchen
  • Keep children and pets away from  the cooking area by declaring a 3 foot “kid-free zone” around the cooking area
  • Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic away from the cooking area
  • Always use turkey fryers outside and a safe distance from the house and on a flat surface
  • Make sure turkey is completely thawed
  • Thaw a turkey approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight

 Follow these tips and have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thanking Our Veterans on Veteran's Day

Twenty-five million veterans are living among us today.  These men and women selflessly set aside their civilian lives to put on the uniform and serve us.  On behalf of all the members of our agency, we want to say “thank you” to all our Veterans. 

Daylight Savings Time Ends

Sunday, November 4th, is the end of Daylight Savings Time.  What does that mean, you gain an hour of sleep?  So don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour before going to be on Saturday, November 3rd.