Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wood Burning Stoves

'Tis the Season

Wood burning stoves have become an increasingly popular, especially after the extreme weather we saw last year in Michigan. If you are considering installing a wood or pellet stove, or already have one, here are a few safety tips:

  • Always, always, always have a professional install your stove!
  • Keep sufficient clearance between the stove and any combustible materials.
  • Make sure your wood stove has a UL label.
  • Do not vent your stove through the same duct work as any other heating appliance.
  • Clean your chimney and stove pipe at least once per year.
  • Only burn dry, seasoned wood.
  • Do not start your fire with gas, oil, or any other flammable fluids.
  • Clean your stove regularly and dispose of ash outside, away from the house.
  • And of course, contact your local independent insurance agent to inform him/her of your new stove!

information gathered from insurance information institute

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sump Pump Failure

Tips to keep your basement from flooding

With Michigan's sporadic weather, it may seem like an uphill battle to protect and maintain your home from mother nature. If you live in Michigan, you have probably walked downstairs after a stormy night to find that your basement flooded.... again!

A typical homeowners insurance policy has a limit of $5,000 for backup or sewers and drains (less your deductible, of course). This includes sump pump failure/backup so it is important to have your water backup system in tip-top shape, especially if you have a finished basement.

If your sump pump isn't doing the job, you might want to install one of the following:

  • backflow preventer or backwater valve
  • water powered sump pump
  • backup system with a generator
  • battery powered backup sump pump

Top reasons why sump pumps fail:

  1. Float switch is broken
  2. Too much water, sump pump can't keep up
  3. Clogged intake screen
  4. Pump is air locked
  5. Jammed by mud/stone
  6. Power outage
  7. Tripped circuit/blown fuse
  8. Broken pump impeller or drive shaft
  9. Clogged/frozen discharge