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keep cold air out of houseIn what is turning out to be a particularly brutal winter season with frigid temps and harsh weather lingering in the mid-Atlantic region, home heating systems are forced to work harder.  As a homeowner, this means you are faced with higher energy consumption which translates to higher electric bills. This is likely the case even if your primary heating source is gas or oil since your heating system likely uses an electric starter and fans to keep your home warm.

Add to this the spike in energy usage with shorter days necessitating more lighting and more time indoors increasing the use of appliances and electronics during winter months. The consequence is greater household expense at this time of the year.

What can you do now to lower your bills?

There are simple things you can do to reduce your energy consumption for the remainder of the winter.  The following are some easy steps you can take right now to see a change in your utility bills.

  • Close the drapes at night. During the day, only open those that receive direct sunlight.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use to close out the cold air.
  • Seal window and door leaks with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Turn your thermostat down. Lowering your setting by just one degree could noticeably reduce your bill.
  • Dress with extra layers to stay warm or wrap up in a blanket while you’re relaxing to be more comfortable without turning up the thermostat.
  • Turn off lights when you aren’t using them and schedule outdoor lighting with a timer.
  • Change furnace filters regularly so that your heating system performs efficiently.
  • Wrap exposed pipes and water heaters that are in unheated spaces.
  • Be sure that curtains and furniture do not block heat registers and return air ducts.

 A few home improvement projects to lower your heating bills

  • If you have less than six inches of insulation, consider adding more to prevent heat loss.
  • If you have an older heating system, have it inspected and explore the possibility of upgrading to a more efficient system.
  • If your thermostat is not located on an inside wall and away from windows and doors, have it moved to avoid cold drafts that can cause the thermostat to keep the system running when it should not.

Here at our Laurel, MD agency, our highly experienced Community Insurance Services of Maryland agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. Before you upgrade your home’s heating system or make any other significant changes, why not contact us to be sure you will continue to have optimum homeowners insurance coverage?

Friday, 02 February 2018 13:12

happy new year computerDo you seem to make the same New Year’s resolutions every year?  Do they usually relate to changing personal habits like getting organized, losing those extra pounds or improving your fitness?  Perhaps this year it is time to focus instead on your relationship with technology and developing habits to keep yourself safer from cyber crime.   

You might think that becoming cyber-safe is only important for business, but it is critical as well for anyone who uses a phone, computer or any other device connected to the Internet. That includes the many “smart devices” incorporated into your vehicle, your television and even your kitchen appliances. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and each of us must do what we can to stay one step ahead.

Click READ MORE below for five New Year’s resolutions to keep you from falling victim to cyber-attacks in 2018:

Sunday, 07 January 2018 18:48

halloween witch house 400wAs a homeowner, you could be at risk for several liability issues as your community celebrates Halloween.  On this spooky night, mischief can prevail and vandalism can result.  Likewise,  as trick-or-treaters and other guests visit your property, there is greater than usual danger of accidents such as slipping and falling that could cause injury to those that do not live in your home.  Moreover, restraining your pets will be a challenge as the doorbell rings repeatedly and strange voices carry through the house – not to mention all the scary and unfamiliar costumed visitors. 

Click on READ MORE below for Survival Tips...

Friday, 27 October 2017 22:11

Safe summer road trip requires a good planLooking forward to a summer road trip this year? If you’ve done this before, then you know you’ll need to prepare before you drive off to enjoy the open road.  For example, be sure your vehicle is road-ready, take the time to pack well, and don’t forget to review your auto insurance policy ahead of time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published some great advice for planning a safe and stress-free summer road trip [https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/consumer-advisory-simple-tips-hitting-road-summer]. It’s a great read…

Click on READ MORE below to get the high points..

Sunday, 02 July 2017 18:06

grillingsafetypicFood cooked outdoors, especially on a propane or charcoal grill in the backyard has a special appeal.  But grilling outdoors can be dangerous, even deadly, unless you take precautions.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2003 and 2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 7900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues – each year.  Of these fires,  about 2900 per year resulted in structure fires.  On average per year, these fires claimed ten deaths and 120 injuries, and they resulted in annual property damage of $80 million. 

Nevertheless, Americans enjoy more than three billion barbecues each year; and, if you are like most Americans, you too enjoy summer grilling.  So, the following are some of the most important safety tips to assure that your barbecue is risk-free, whether you do a gas or charcoal grilling.

 

Friday, 16 June 2017 00:00
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