Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather

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Oct 142014
 

shutterstock_155302280The start of Fall means one thing – Winter is just around the corner. Whether you love the snow and cold, or would rather hibernate until Spring, it’s inevitable that freezing temperatures and heavy storms are coming our way. Though Fall has yet to reach its halfway mark, we at Soucy Insurance believe it’s never a bad idea to be prepared.

Winter is guaranteed to bring freezing temperatures and slippery roads. Therefore, we are providing you with preventative and effective actions you can take to both avoid and repair two common incidents caused by winter weather: frozen pipes and icy walkways.

Frozen Pipes

In the winter, frozen pipes can lead to expensive repairs and property damage. In order to prevent these from happening, the best measure to take is insulating the pipes in your home. This will help keep the pipes warmer by preventing radiant heat loss along your hot water pipes. Be aware that pipes in or near outside walls are the most susceptible for freezing, so pay the most attention to these over the course of the winter.

If you plan to leave your home for any length of time, do not set your thermostat lower than 62°F. The warmer your living space is, the warmer the unheated areas of your home will stay and the less likely you are to experience a frozen or burst pipe.

Be very careful of pipes that enter the home from outside. Every fall, close the shutoff valve that protects your outdoor taps and drain any standing water out of these taps.

If a pipe in your home freezes but has not yet burst, you can thaw it out. Do not use any type of open flame to melt the ice. Open the tap and locate the frozen area. This area may be frosted over on the outside or may also be deformed in the critical spot. Heat the pipe from the tap back toward the frozen spot.

You can heat exposed pipes using a hair dryer, an incandescent or infrared light, or a space heater. If your frozen piping is below a sink, open the doors to the base cabinet and circulate warmer air around the pipes. However, be aware that a pipe may burst while you’re trying to thaw it. In this case, turn off the water at the main shutoff immediately and call a restoration professional.

De-icing Your Walkway:

Cold temperatures and wet weather present another winter obstacle: icy walkways. Before you find yourself slipping or potentially injuring someone else, follow these guidelines to minimize the danger these conditions can cause:

  1. Prepare yourself for deicing by bundling up in water-repellant clothing and water-resistant boots with plenty of traction.
  2. Scrape snow or icy buildup from any cars parked in the driveway and move them if possible.shutterstock_66863734
  3. Shovel any snow from your driveway to reach the icy layer below. Shovel as soon as possible after a snowfall and move the discarded snow to a nearby area. To maintain balance, hold the shovel high and close to your upper body and avoid twisting as you discard the snow. Break-up any ice you can and dispose of it.
  4. Choose your deicer. No-salt melters are particularly safe for pets, while magnesium chloride-based products go easy on plants and animals but can harm masonry. Calcium chloride doesn’t affect plants, but it may leave residue on shoes. To treat ice that has already formed, choose pellet or crystal deicers.
  5. Apply the deicer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings, working as soon as you can after snowfall. In general, sprinkle the minimum amount of deicer atop the ice; deicer is meant to break down ice for shoveling, not to dissolve it completely. More deicer will not break down ice more quickly.
  6. Allow the ice to break down, and scoop away the remaining slosh with your snow shovel, adding it to your existing snow pile. Scatter sand or birdseed to help improve traction — these don’t melt ice, but they do make your driveway safer to traverse once the ice is cleared.

Your safety and security are our biggest priority. At Soucy Insurance, our staff is dedicated to providing you the coverage and protection you need at a price you can afford. Therefore, we feature outstanding home insurance programs that include added discounts if you also purchase auto insurance through us. Consider combining your policies and call us today at 762-2218 to save you money, and troubles, this winter season.

 

Information for this article provided by: Keeping Roofs Clear of Snow, Roof Snow Removal, Deice Driveway, Avoiding Frozen Pipes in the Winter

Soucy Supports Finding a Cure for Breast Cancer

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Oct 032014
 

As many are aware, October is dedicated to raising awareness for breast cancer. At Soucy Insurance, we strive to improve the community that we provide for and would like to take this opportunity to inform our valued policyholders of the facts and ways that, together, we can fight breast cancer.

General Statistics:

  • Professionals have estimated that there will be 232,670 new cases in females and 2,360 in males in 2014
  • It is projected that this disease will cause 40,000 deaths in women and 430 in men
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
  • The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 36 (about 3%).
  • Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50.
  • These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.
  • At this time there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States

What are the risk factors for breast cancer? Risk factors can range anywhere from gender to the amount of alcohol regularly consumed. Some risk factors cannot be changed, while others are linked to cancer-causing factors in the environment. It is possible that some factors influence risk more than others and that you can help prevent with a change in lifestyle choices.

Some risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Gender – Women have a higher risk factor for developing breast cancer. Men can develop breast cancer, but this disease is about 100 times more common among women.
  • Age – Risk increases with age. About 1 out of 8 invasive breast cancers are found in women younger than 45, while about 2 of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 or older.
  • Family history – Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. Having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk.
  • Race and ethnicity – Generally, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African-American women, but African-American women have a higher risk of dying from it.
  • Previous chest radiation – Women who have had radiation therapy to the chest area as treatment for another cancer (such as lymphoma) have a significantly increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Having children – Women who have had no children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall. Having multiple pregnancies or becoming pregnant at a young age reduce breast cancer risk overall.
  • Birth control – Studies have found that women using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. However, this risk tends to return to normal over time once the pills are stopped.
  • Drinking alcohol – The use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer as your risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • Weight – Being overweight or obese after menopause increases breast cancer risk. Having more fat tissue after menopause can increase your chance of getting breast cancer by raising estrogen levels.
  • Physical activity – Evidence is growing that physical activity in the form of exercise reduces breast cancer risk. In one study from the Women’s Health Initiative, as little as 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman’s risk by 18%.

What can I do to prevent getting breast cancer? In addition to lifestyle changes (reducing calorie intake, increasing weekly physical activity), the most important preventative action a woman can take is to get examined by their doctor on a regular basis. Early detection won’t prevent breast cancer, but it can help find when the likelihood of successful treatment is greatest.

What are the treatment options for breast cancer? Treatment options range based on stage, how they work and when they are used. The main types of treatment for breast cancer are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Bone-directed therapy

How can I get involved? In addition to the multiple organizations designed to raise money for breast cancer, you can also visit these three sites for further information or to make a donation.

National Cancer Institute

    Toll-free number: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)

    Website: www.cancer.gov

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

   Toll-free number: 1-877-465-6636

   Website: www.komen.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

   Toll-free number: 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC INFO)

   Website: www.cdc.gov

Over 90% of people know someone directly affected by cancer. At Soucy Insurance, we want to do all we can to fight this disease and raise awareness to its cause. If you would like to donate or get involved, please visit any of the sites provided because together, we can make a difference.