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October 2016 (630) 655-2410
10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

We hate to break the news, but winter is fast approaching. For smart property owners — the ones who want to keep insurance claims to a minimum — the time to start winterizing their homes is now. Here are 10 important tips for preparing your home to weather the winter!
  1. Insulate water pipes that run along exterior walls. This helps prevent pipes from freezing when we get one of those super-subzero Chicago cold snaps.
  2. Caulk around drafty windows to keep frigid air from streaming into your house in high winds (a frequent occurrence in these parts!). Cracked or broken windows should be repaired or replaced.
  3. Install storm doors — they are very effective in preventing cold air from entering your home.
  4. Disconnect your outdoor hoses and store them in a protected area, like the garage. Leaving hoses attached can cause the connecting valve to crack or burst.
  5. Shut down home irrigation systems, being sure to flush all water out of the pipes — a pipe freeze and rupture below ground can require an expensive fix.
  6. Have your furnace inspected now. Just as air conditioners always seem to break down on the hottest day of summer, your furnace shouldn’t fail you on the coldest day of winter.
  7. Have your air ducts inspected and cleaned — clogged ducts and vents circulate unclean air and lack efficiency, preventing heat from getting where it’s needed, when it’s needed.
  8. Have your chimney cleaned. A wood-burning fire takes a lot of the chill out of winter, but a clogged chimney can pose a serious danger to health and property. Chimneys should be cleaned annually.
  9. Reverse the rotation direction of ceiling fans to push air down, to keep warm air in your home instead of drifting upward and out.
  10. Unused or underused rooms in your house? Keep the doors closed and the heating vents off to conserve energy while keeping the rest of the home nice and toasty.
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10 Tips for Driving in Snow

Contending with snow, ice, high winds and other winter hazards is a fact of life in Chicago. Here are 10 things you should do to keep your passengers, your vehicles, other drivers and yourself safe on the road.
  1. Tires: Make sure they are properly inflated and have plenty of tread. If you live or drive in an area with steep or marginally maintained roads, consider winter tires.
  2. Always leave at least half a tank of gas in the car, to prevent freezing. By the way, if you’ve been using a gas line anti-freeze product, you probably don’t need it, since alcohol is present in most gasoline already.
  3. Check weather reports before hitting the road, especially before long trips. High winds and blizzards can pop up quickly, and you’ll want to be ready.
  4. Keep a high quality ice scraper and brush in your vehicle at all times, along with other road safety items such as flares, blankets, gloves, a first-aid kit and flashlight.
  5. Never drive when you are fatigued! It’s always risky, but never more so than on winter roads. Along the same lines, put that cell phone away — distracted driving is becoming as serious a safety problem as drunken driving.
  6. Train the new drivers in your family for winter roads. They should practice with supervision the art of driving and braking through snow and on ice, driving in poor visibility and handling skids.
  7. Slow and steady wins the winter race: accelerating and decelerating slowly prevent skids, especially important at one of our many traffic-packed, busy intersections.
  8. Have your brakes checked before the snow falls.
  9. Brake as little as possible on icy roads — braking can cause skids. Better options are driving more slowly and/or downshifting when necessary.
  10. Because it takes longer to brake on icy or snowy roads, keep more space between your vehicle and other vehicles — double or more than in warm conditions. This is a real challenge during rush hour on the toll roads, but always remember: Safety First.

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Mavco is an independent insurance agency located in Hinsdale, Illinois. We provide personal and business insurance solutions, and specialize in supporting the complex needs of high net worth individuals and their families.

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