Frozen Pipes: Preventing and Treatment

shutterstock_212307349Why It’s a Problem:

Many homeowners know that frozen pipes are a problem, but many don’t understand why or how they occur, or what to do if such an event occurs.

When water freezes, it expands, which puts an immense amount of pressure on whatever is containing it. Therefore, if enough pressure is created, pipes can break and cause severe damage to your home. That is why we suggest carefully noting the location of your pipes, and insulate as needed to avoid water damage.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes:

 Before the colder weather hits hardest this winter, follow these helpful tips to avoid potential damage:

  •  Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Keep outside valves open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing it to break.
  • When the weather is uncomfortably cold outside, let cold-water drip from the faucet that comes in by exposed pipes.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower temperatures in the evening, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, leave the heat on and set it to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Found a Frozen pipe? Thaw It Out:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a few drips come out, suspect a frozen pipe. Typically, frozen pipes are found along exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or other open flame device.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

If you see that damage has been caused by a frozen pipe, call a professional immediately. Fortunately, most damage caused by burst pipes within the home is covered under your standard homeowners policy. However, we suggest contacting your OceanPoint Insurance agent today at 401-847-5200 to discuss the terms and be certain you are fully protected.

Preventing House Fires This Winter

shutterstock_77565136During the cold winter months in New England, there’s nothing better than cuddling up by the fire with your loved ones. Oftentimes, homeowners have to rely on additional heating sources to keep houses warm. Did you know that heating equipment is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. Below we have prepared a few simple fire safety tips and precautions that can help keep you and your family safe.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, wood stove, fireplace, or portable space heater.
  • Thousands of fires each year can be attributed to faulty electrical cords. Check your cords for frays and cracks, replacing any that aren’t fit for use.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never use your oven as a source of heat.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • When plugging cords into wall outlets, be sure not to overload the circuit. As a general rule of thumb, stick with one plug per outlet.
  • Have a fire extinguisher in every room that has lit candles, space heaters or other potential fire hazards.
  • Have your chimney inspected for buildup, which could cause a dangerous chimney fire.
  • Make sure your portable heaters are in safe working condition before operating them.

At OceanPoint, we want to make certain your family is safe no matter the season. If you have any questions or would like additional information on how to protect your home and your family this winter, call OceanPoint Insurance at 847-5200.

New Rhode Island Insurance Verification System

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has implemented the Rhode Island Insurance Verification System (RIIVS) in order to verify automobile liability insurance for vehicles registered in Rhode Island. If a registered vehicle does not have an associated insurance policy for three consecutive months, you will receive an RIIVS notice from the DMV indicating that you are required to obtain insurance.

You will receive a notice if RIIVS is unable to verify the insurance information for your vehicle. Oftentimes data entry errors can occur. You may receive a notice, even if you have insurance, due to incorrect Vehicle Identification Numbers, name misspelling etc. on you’re your policy. We will be able to correct this information for you.

If you receive a RIIVS notice, and you currently have liability insurance, if you obtained liability insurance, or if the vehicle is not currently being operated, you must notify your insurance company or agent and we will report the required information electronically.

If the vehicle has been sold or registered out of state, you must turn in the plates to a DMV branch or submit an Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration for Lost Plates.

If you do not wish to obtain liability insurance, Rhode Island law requires that you cancel your registration and surrender the vehicle plates to a DMV branch office.

The first three month evaluation began on November 17, 2015 and will end February 7, 2015, at which time the initial notices will be sent out. If you do not take appropriate action upon receipt of the first notice, a second notice will be sent to you. If, after the second notice, you fail to comply, the DMV will revoke the registration of the vehicle and block your ability to obtain or renew a license or registration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact OceanPoint Insurance at 847-5200.