Customers who protect their homes and themselves lower their risk of having to file a claim.
As freezing weather blasts its way across three quarters of the country, insurance companies have issued polar vortex safety tips to keep their policyholders safe. The goal is to educate customers to make the right safety choices to prevent injuries to themselves or damage to their property.
Several insurers have taken part in this effort to make it easier for policyholders to avoid claims.
The following are some of the ways customers can use these polar vortex safety tips to keep themselves free from harm.
• Be careful with space heaters – Keep any space heater a minimum of 3 feet from anything flammable, such as upholstered furniture, throw blankets and pillows, drapery, books and papers, or a shaggy area rug. Never leave a space heater on overnight or unattended. Select a model that will turn off automatically if it tips over.
• Never use an electric heater near water – Keep the electric heater out of the bathroom while water is in use. If you want it to be warm while you use it, warm the room first, then take the heater out and use the bath or shower.
• Use the right fuels in heaters – Use only kerosene, not gasoline, in kerosene heaters. These appliances must be used only in rooms that are well ventilated as they emit carbon monoxide, which is completely odorless but highly toxic.
Insurance companies also issued polar vortex safety tips to prevent damage to homes.
• Turn up the heat – You may be trying to save money by turning down the heat at night, but when the temperatures plummet well below freezing, it’s important to keep it set at a higher temperature than normal. If the house cools down overnight, the furnace won’t be powerful enough to bring it back up to the right temperature during the day.
• Don’t worry if the house is colder than the furnace setting – Most furnaces cannot keep up with the deep freeze of a polar vortex. Expect to hear the furnace running constantly. That means it is functioning properly. If it starts and stops frequently, it could be a sign of a problem, so call a repair technician to have it checked before it fails.
• Remove the air filter on a failing furnace – This step won’t help it to put out more heat, but it will help to extend the unit’s life while you wait for the repair technician. In this weather, the wait will be long, so every little bit counts.
• Keep air intake and exhaust pipes clear – Check on these inputs and outputs frequently to be sure they haven’t become blocked by ice or snow.
• Keep faucets dripping warm overnight – Faucets from pipes running in exterior walls of your home should be left dripping warm (not cold, not hot) water overnight to help avoid freezing. This most frequently includes kitchen sinks. If the toilet is also on an exterior wall, give it a flush now and again even if it has not been used.
• Know where your whole home water shut off valve is located, just in case. That way, you can have peace of mind for your polar vortex safety.