Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Silent Killer: 5 Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In small doses, carbon monoxide is a normal part of the Earth’s regular ecosystem. In large quantities, however, it is a deadly, nearly undetectable killer.

Carbon MonoxideThe gas, which consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom per molecule, is tasteless, odorless, and totally colorless. Without the proper technology, it’s almost entirely invisible to the human senses. When introduced into a person’s bloodstream, it blocks red blood cells from delivering oxygen to the body. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to nausea, dizziness, fainting, and death.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from potential carbon monoxide poisoning, consider these tips.

1. Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It’s not enough to just own carbon monoxide detectors (something required by many state laws), it’s important to have enough of them and to keep them working properly. Install them on every floor with a preference towards bedrooms and other rooms where you and others may congregate.

Check the manufacturer’s advice to see how often you should replace the detector’s battery.

2. Understand Carbon Monoxide Risks

Carbon monoxide primarily comes from fuel-burning sources like fireplaces, furnaces, vehicles, and gas appliances. If installed and maintained properly, they should have the ventilation to divert the carbon monoxide output. Monitor these devices as you would your carbon monoxide detectors.

Keep aware of the previously mentioned carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms: dizziness, headache, nausea, etc. Reacting quickly to them may protect you from further illness.

3. Keep Vents Clear

Carbon monoxide-related deaths happen most often during winter months; debris caused by storms—particularly snow—may sometimes block the ventilation of fuel-burning sources and cause carbon monoxide to route back into your home. Whenever you weather a storm, check your home’s perimeter to make sure no snow, trees, or other items are blocking your vents.

4. Don’t Run Engines in Closed Area

Not all fuel-burning sources are stationary and plugged into proper ventilation at all times. Some carbon monoxide producers, like grills, vehicles, and generators, are mobile and may not always have the right ventilation.

Avoid using these items over a long period of time in spaces like garages or basements. Even those with open doors may find carbon monoxide build up in the center of the structure.

5. Seek Professional Help

If safety’s a top priority (which it should always be), seek the advice of professionals. Have your carbon monoxide detectors professionally installed and invite a home inspector to also check out your fuel-burning sources to make sure they are properly ventilated. Having a second opinion can bring peace of mind and long-term health benefits.

Northeast Insurance Agency not only wants your homeowners’ insurance to be affordable but also for your home to be as safe as possible for you and your loved ones! Check out our Facebook Page for additional safety tips, updated insurance information, and much more!

Alternative Energy: Will My Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

Solar PanelsIn your neighborhood, there’s a strong likelihood you’ve seen more and more of your neighbors installing solar panels onto their homes. Benefits of solar panels include a greener home with reduced monthly utility bills. Although the price of solar panel installation has steadily decreased each year, homeowners should still be cautious about whether or not their investment will be protected under their insurance policies.

Inclusion in Homeowner’s Policy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the general guideline is that if the solar panels are attached directly to the structure or structures covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy, then the panels will be included in your plan. If the solar panels are freestanding or connected to a structure that is not included in your policy, coverage may be limited or non-existent.

Important Considerations When Insuring Solar Panels

Your current homeowners’ insurance policy may automatically protect your installed panels, but there could also be coverage limitations. For instance, if your solar panels are destroyed due to a weather-related event and the cost to replace them is above your coverage limits, you may have to pay the repair costs out of pocket.

Furthermore, after the installation takes place, there could be issues that arise that affect your coverage under your current homeowners’ insurance policy. For instance, the U.S. Department of Energy warns that roof penetrations that occurred during the install could affect your insurance coverage for your roof.

Since Massachusetts can have unpredictable weather, you must choose a reputable solar panel manufacturer who meets the minimum snow and wind loads in their product designs. Even so, because of the higher likelihood of damage sustained to the panels during storms, many homeowners’ insurance policies are now including windstorm deductibles. There may also be an increase in your monthly premiums to guarantee your investment is well protected.

Massachusetts’s residents are encouraged to consult with an insurance agent to discuss any changes required to their homeowners’ policy before scheduling the installation of solar panels. If you have any questions on whether or not your policy covers solar panels, contact us at (800) 443-7007 or email us at