Recent General Posts
Lake County Residents, Do you Have Renters Insruance
Why do so few renters have insurance? One explanation is that many people incorrectly assume they are covered by their landlord's policy. Another reason is that people underestimate the value of their belongings. If you add up the value of just your clothing and electronics, it probably wouldn't take long to get into the thousands of dollars. One more often overlooked reason is liability: If someone is injured in your house – a friend, neighbor, or the pizza delivery person – they could sue you. Even if you thought you didn't need insurance, here are six good reasons why you should get a renter's insurance policy.
- It's affordable.
The average renter's insurance policy costs $187 a year, according to 2011 figures reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2013. Your actual cost will depend on factors, including how much coverage you need, the type of coverage you choose, the amount of your deductible and where you live. If you're in Mississippi, for example, you'll pay the most (average $252 a year); if you live in North or South Dakota, you'll pay the least (average $117 a year).
- It covers losses to personal property.
A renter’s insurance policy protects against losses to your personal property, including clothes, jewelry, luggage, computers, furniture, and electronics. Even if you don't own much, it can quickly add up to a lot more than you realize – and a lot more than you'd want to pay to replace everything. According to esurance.com, the average renter owns about $20,000 worth of personal property. [L2]
Renter's policies protect against a surprisingly long list of perils. A standard HO-4 policy designed for renters, for example, covers losses to personal property from perils including:
Damage caused by aircraft
Damage caused by vehicles
Fire or lightning
Riot or civil commotion
Vandalism or malicious mischief
Weight of ice, snow or sleet
Windstorm or hail
Damage from water or steam from sources including household appliances, plumbing, heating, air conditioning or fire-protective sprinkler systems
Note: Losses resulting from floods and earthquakes are not covered in standard policies. A separate policy or rider is required for these perils. In addition, a separate rider might be needed to cover wind damage in areas prone to hurricanes. And renter’s insurance policies don't cover losses caused by your own negligence or intentional acts. For example, if you fall asleep with a lit cigarette and cause a fire, the policy most likely will not cover the damage. To learn more, read Eight Financial Safeguards If Disaster Strikes and the Hurricane Insurance Deductible Fact Sheet.
- Your landlord might require it.
Your landlord's insurance covers the structure itself and the grounds, but not your belongings. A growing number of landlords require tenants to purchase their own renter's insurance policies, and they'll expect to see proof. This could be the landlord's idea, or it could be an "order" from the landlord's insurance company – the idea being that if the tenants are covered themselves, some responsibility can be shifted away from the landlord. If you need assistance finding or obtaining coverage, your landlord may be able to help.
- It provides liability coverage.
Liability coverage is also included in standard renter’s insurance policies. This provides protection if someone is injured while in your home or if you (or another covered person) accidently injure someone. It pays any court judgments as well as legal expenses, up to the policy limit.
Most policies provide at least $100,000 of liability coverage, and between $1,000 and $5,000 for medical-payments coverage. You can request (and pay for) higher coverage limits. If you need more than $300,000 of liability coverage, ask your insurance company about an umbrella policy, which can provide an additional $1 million worth of coverage for about $150 to $300 a year.
- It covers your belongings when you travel.
Renter's insurance covers your personal belongings, whether they are in your home, car, or with you while you travel. Your possessions are covered from loss due to theft and other covered losses anywhere you travel in the world. Check your policy or ask your insurance agent for details on what constitutes "other covered losses."
- It may cover additional living expenses.
If your home becomes uninhabitable due to one of the covered perils, your renter's insurance policy may cover “additional living expenses,” including the cost associated with living somewhere else temporarily, food and more. Check with your policy to find out how long it will cover additional living expenses, and if it caps the amount the company will pay.
The Bottom Line
Renter's insurance provides coverage for your personal belongings, whether they are in your home, car or with you while you're on vacation. In addition, renter's insurance provides liability coverage in case someone is injured in your home or if you accidently cause injury to someone.
Be sure you understand what your policy covers, and ask your agent about available discounts, deductibles and coverage limits. For example, be sure you know whether your insurance provides replacement cost coverage (RCC) for your personal property or actual cash value (ACV). The first will pay to replace your 15-year-old carpet, say, with a new one, at current market rates, while the second will only reimburse you for the value of a carpet that's 15 years old. RCC costs more.
How to save on heating costs
How to Save on Heating Costs
Any season is a good season to save energy costs. With winter approaching, however, it’s even more critical as prices for home heating fuel are as volatile as ever.
The strategies below will help you save energy, save money, and stay comfortable during the cool fall and cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter.
If you haven't already, conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.
Also check out no-cost and low-cost tips to save energy during the spring and summer.
Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
- Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
- Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
- Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.
- When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
- When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
- If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
- Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Find out how to detect air leaks.
- Learn more about air sealing new and existing homes.
- Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
- Find out how to select and apply the appropriate caulk and weatherstripping.Maintain Your Heating Systems
- Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.
- Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
- Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
- When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly--approximately 1 inch--and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
- If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
- Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
- Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
- Lower Your Water Heating Costs
- Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands. Find other strategies for energy-efficient water heating.
- Lower Your Holiday Lighting Costs
- Use light-emitting diode -- or "LED" -- holiday light strings to reduce the cost of decorating your home for the winter holidays. Learn about the advantages and potential cost savings of LED holiday light strings. Find manufacturers and brands of ENERGY STAR® certified decorative light strings.
- Source: https://energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips
Ladder Safety Tips
Every year, according to one estimate, some 164,000 people land in the ER because they scrambled up a ladder without heeding the accident-avoidance rules. Keep yourself safe with these ladder safety tips.
Avoid the shakes.
Station your ladder on dry, level ground. If you are working at the roofline, extend it several feet above the point of contact. Secure the locks.
Measure one fourth of the ladder’s length. That’s how far the ladder’s base should be from the wall.
Wear good shoes.
They should have nonslip soles that are fairly rigid.
No matter how tempting, don’t step on the top three rungs.
Keep your hips centered between the side rails. Leaning sideways is very dangerous.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.
Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also might be exposed to lead.
There is treatment for lead poisoning, but taking some simple precautions can help protect you and your family from lead exposure before harm is done.
Lead-based paints for homes, children's toys and household furniture have been banned in the United States since 1978. But lead-based paint is still on walls and woodwork in many older homes and apartments. Most lead poisoning in children results from eating chips of deteriorating lead-based paint.
Water pipes and imported canned goods:
Lead pipes, brass plumbing fixtures and copper pipes soldered with lead can release lead particles into tap water. Lead solder in food cans, banned in the United States, is still used in some countries.
Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults might include:
- High blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Difficulties with memory or concentration
- Abdominal pain
- Mood disorders
- Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
- Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women
For more information regarding lead poisoning please go to
Facts about De-Icers
When freezing weather hits, sidewalks and driveways can become dangerously slick. And if you’ve ever gotten out there with a shovel, you know how tenaciously that ice can cling to your driveway! Deicers and anti-icers are chemicals that help to break or prevent a bond between the ice and concrete, making it easier to shovel.
It’s important to remember that these products are not intended to melt large quantities of snow or ice. For thick layers, you’ll still need that snow shovel! Deicers and anti-icers contain chemicals that can be toxic to the environment and corrosive to your driveway concrete, so it’s important to apply them sparingly and according to package instructions.
The most common products available to homeowners fall into the category of deicers. Deicers are made of mineral salts and work on the chemistry principle that salt water has a lower freezing point than fresh water. As the salts dissolve, they seep down to form a liquid layer underneath the ice that allows the ice to be easily removed.
While many products contain a mixture of ingredients, the most common deicing chemicals are:
- Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt): This is the cheapest deicing material, but it has a couple of disadvantages, since it only works down to 15° F, is damaging to concrete and plants, and unhealthy for pets.
- Potassium Chloride: Works similar to rock salt, is better for areas with warmer winters, and is one of the less toxic options.
- Calcium Chloride: Works at much lower temperatures (down to -20° F) and is less toxic. One advantage of calcium chloride is that it attracts water and creates heat, which means it will actively dissolve ice rather than sitting on top of the ice.
- Magnesium Chloride: Has similar qualities as calcium chloride, but works down to about 5° F.
- Urea: Deicers containing urea or chemical fertilizers may seem good for your lawn, but they’re the most corrosive to concrete and the least recommended of all the deicers.
- Other Options: There are also a few options for non-chloride based deicers. Safe Paw is an amide-glycol blend that is marketed as salt-free and safe for pets. Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), is a more environmentally-friendly deicer made from limestone and acetic acid.
- Sand and Kitty Litter: Both provide better traction on ice, but won’t actually melt ice.
Anti-icers are applied before snow and ice fall to prevent ice from building on pavement. For homeowners, the most common anti-icers are simply liquid salt solutions (the same as deicers, only in liquid form) that are sprayed onto driveways and sidewalks before a snowfall.
Other types of anti-icing chemicals are used by maintenance crews to prevent ice on parking lots and roads. These viscous, sticky sprays aren’t widely available for home use
Ice Removal Tips
Go Easy: Use the minimum amount of deicer or anti-icer needed. Remember that it’s only supposed to break the bond to make shoveling easier; it’s not supposed to melt it all.
- Sprinkle Early: The sooner you can apply an ice removal product, the better. Head out right as the snow or ice starts, and sprinkle a thin layer on sidewalks and steps to prevent a sticky buildup.
- Check Effectiveness: You should see the ice begin to melt within 15-30 minutes. If it isn’t melting, the temperature may be too low for your product.
- Pellets vs. liquid: Pellets or crystals are best for applying on top of ice, so they can melt their way straight down. Liquids are best applied as preventative measures. Deicing flakes are less effective.
- Be Aware of Risks: Deicers and anti-icers can be harmful to humans, pets, and your lawn, particularly if over applied. They can also interfere with the freeze-thaw cycles in concrete and damage your driveway, and the liquid layer can increase rusting of iron and steel. To protect your home and loved ones, use these products very sparingly. If deicers and anti-icers are applied properly, it doesn’t take much to get great results
Time to tune up your furnace
General Tune Up Your Furnace Before the Cold Comes
Stay warm this winter with a well-running, efficient heating system.
When the temperature dips, you call on your furnace to keep your home cozy and warm. The last thing you want is to wake to shivers in the middle of the night.
Before the heating season begins, get your furnace checked out to make sure it’s ready to give you uninterrupted winter comfort. An added benefit is that a well-running furnace uses less fuel, saving you money on heating costs.
A thorough furnace check-up is best left to a qualified technician. For most homes, a furnace check-up consists of the following steps:
- Inspect the thermostat for proper operation and calibration.
- Change or clean the air filter.
- Check all electrical components and controls.
- Oil motors as needed.
- Inspect the heat exchanger for possible cracks, which could allow carbon monoxide into your home.
- Check the air flow.
- Check the air/fuel mixture.
- Make certain that the flues and chimneys are properly connected, in good condition and not blocked.
There are also steps you can take to get the most out of your furnace.
- Change the air filters regularly.
- Be sure the thermostat is set in heating mode.
- Make sure your registers and vents are open and free of obstructions.
3 Common Home Emergencies
What are the most common household emergencies that can happen?
1. Burst washing machine hose-as rubber washing machine ages they eventually wear down and burst, causing costly flooding. Consider switching to a stainless-steel reinforced hose.
2. Leaky Roof-Mother Nature is pretty tough on your roof. Regularly check your roof for missing or damaged shingles.
3. Refrigerator Leaks- like your washing machine, the refrigerator is a common culprit in home floods. Ensure your water line is unkinked and in good condition.
If you are faced with a common household emergency, let the professionals handle it!
Call SERVPRO of Mundelein/North Wauconda
Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets
Photo Credit: apnojaipur.com
Start getting ready now
ID your pet
Make sure that cats and dogs are wearing collars and identification tags that are up to date. You'll increase your chances of being reunited with pets who get lost by having them microchipped; make sure the microchip registration is in your name. But remember: The average citizen who finds your pet won't be able to scan for a chip, but they will probably be able to read a basic tag!
Put your cell phone number on your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—in case you have had to evacuate.
Put together your disaster kit
Use our checklist to assemble an emergency kit for yourself and your pet.
Find a safe place to stay ahead of time
Never assume that you will be allowed to bring your pet to an emergency shelter. Before a disaster hits, call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and verify that there will be shelters in your area that take people and their pets.
Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to find out if they accept pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if a "no pet" policy would be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of animal-friendly places handy, and call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.
For help identifying pet-friendly lodgings, check out these websites:
Make arrangements with friends or relatives. Ask people outside your immediate area if they would be able to shelter you and your pets—or just your pets—if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to arrange to house them at separate locations.
Consider a kennel or veterinarian's office. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies (make sure to include their 24-hour telephone numbers).
Check with your local animal shelter. Some shelters may be able to provide foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. But keep in mind that shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched during a local emergency
Plan for your pet in case you're not home
In case you're away during a disaster or evacuation order, make arrangements well in advance for someone you trust to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with them. Give your emergency caretaker a key to your home and show them where your pets are likely to be (especially if they hide when they're nervous) and where your disaster supplies are kept.
If you have a pet-sitter, they may be able to help. Discuss the possibility well in advance.
If you evacuate, take your pet
Rule number one: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets. You have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able—or allowed—to go back for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.
Pledge to take your pet with you when disaster strikes.
Rule number two: Evacuate early. Don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. Some people who have waited to be evacuated by emergency officials have been told to leave their pets behind. The smell of smoke or the sound of high winds or thunder may make your pet more fearful and difficult to load into a crate or carrier. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.
If you stay home, do it safely
If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together.
Close off or eliminate unsafe nooks and crannies where frightened cats may try to hide.
Move dangerous items such as tools or toxic products that have been stored in the area.
Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say trouble is on the way. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
If you have a room you can designate as a "safe room," put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet's crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
Listen to the radio periodically, and don't come out until you know it's safe.
After the disaster
Your home may be a very different place after the emergency is over, and it may be hard for your pets to adjust.
Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, your pets could escape.
Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible. Be ready for behavioral problems caused by the stress of the situation. If these problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
If your community has been flooded, check your home and yard for wild animals who may have sought refuge there. Wildlife can pose a threat to you and your pet. Check out our tips for humanely evicting wildlife.
Be ready for everyday emergencies
You can't get home to your pet
There may be times that you can't get home to take care of your pets. Icy roads may trap you at the office overnight, an accident may send you to the hospital—things happen. But you can make sure your pets get the care they need by making arrangements now:
Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give him or her a key. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pets (and vice versa).
Make sure your backup caretaker knows your pets' feeding and medication schedule, whereabouts and habits.
If you use a pet-sitting service, find out in advance if they will be able to help in case of an emergency.
case of an emergency.
High temperatures can be dangerous. Learn more about hot weather safety for pets.
The electricity goes out
If you're forced to leave your home because you've lost electricity, take your pets with you to a pet-friendly hotel. If it's summer, even just an hour or two in the sweltering heat can be dangerous. If you stay at home during a summer power outage, ask your local emergency management office if there are pet-friendly cooling centers in the area.
If it's winter, don't be fooled by your pets' fur coats; it isn't safe to leave them in an unheated house.
Plans aren't just for pets
Disaster plans aren't only essential for the safety of pets. If you're responsible for other kinds of animals during natural disasters, disaster plans for feral or outdoor cats, horses and animals on farms can be lifesavers.
Social Wellness Month
photo credit: www.alaskanschangingtogether.org-
July is Social Wellness Month!
Celebrate Social Wellness Month by nurturing your social relationships. Volunteer with a group. Call an out-of-state friend. Join a hiking club.
Social wellness means nurturing yourself and your relationships.
It means giving and receiving social support - ensuring that you have friends and other people, including family, to turn to in times of need or crisis to give you a broader focus and positive self-image.
Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events. Social support can take different forms:
• Emotional (sometimes called non-tangible) support refers to the actions people take to make someone else feel cared for.
• Instrumental support refers to the physical, such as money and housekeeping.
• Informational support means providing information to help someone.
Why is Social Wellness Important?
Healthy relationships are a vital component of health. The health risks from being alone or isolated in one's life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.
Research shows that:
• People who have a strong social network tend to live longer.
• The heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress.
• Strong social networks are associated with a healthier endocrine system and healthier cardiovascular functioning.
• Healthy social networks enhance the immune system's ability to fight off infectious diseases.
SERVPRO OF MUNDELEIN/NORTH WAUCONDA is always here to help?