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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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Is Your Home Prepared for a Wild Winter?

October 10, 2014 1:32 am

The 2015 Farmers’ Almanac predicts “copious amounts of snow and rain” over the eastern third of the country. In fact, along the Atlantic Seaboard, active wintry weather is expected for the first 10 days of January and the first week of February with bouts of heavy snow and strong winds. With a relatively mild autumn in many parts of the country, now is a good time to take steps to winter-proof your home and make sure that you have the right type and amount of insurance.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing account for almost 22 percent of all homeowners insurance claims, averaging $4,024 per claim. In fact, winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, causing $1.9 billion in insured losses in 2013, according to Munich Re.

Standard homeowners and renters policies cover winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow, as well as fire-related losses. Coverage for flooding is available from the National Flood Insurance Program and from some private insurance companies.

Flooding related to snow melting can overburden sewer systems, causing raw sewage to back up into the drains in your home. Backed up sewers can wreak havoc, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer back-up is not covered under a typical homeowners or renters insurance policy, nor is it covered by flood insurance. This type of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Keep Winter Energy Bills in Check

October 9, 2014 1:32 am

(Family Features) As winter temperatures drop, the potential for higher utility bills goes up. Taking steps ahead of the cold season can help you trim costs and make your home more energy efficient, keeping those utility bills in check even as the winter weather rages.

"Many homeowners just assume the winter season means their bills will go up as systems work harder to keep their home regulated," said Francois Lebrasseur, marketing manager of water products for GE Appliances. "In reality, there are many steps one can take to improve energy efficiency and minimize the added expense that comes with extreme winter temperatures."

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity costs are on the rise. Before winter weather sets in for your part of the country, take some time to assess your home for potential problem areas and improvements that can help lower your energy costs.

Lighting. Though turning off unneeded lights is a smart strategy any time of year, it's especially helpful during the winter months when utility expenses can add up. New technology lets you manage your lights away from home – handy if you're gone for the day and realize lights were left on, or if you’re away from home for an extended period. If you replace a 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a 12-watt GE Link LED bulb, you would save $132 over the life of the bulb at an electricity rate of $0.11 per kWh.

Water heaters. Heat isn't the only system that gets an extra workout come winter. Cooler house temperatures may require water heaters to work harder, so ensuring you have a model well-suited to your family's year-round needs is key. In fact, heating water is the second source of energy use in the residential home after space heating and cooling, with standard electric water heaters costing the average homeowner $585 every year to operate. One energy-efficient option is a hybrid electric water heater, which can save the average household $365 every year (using 1514 kWh per year and national average electricity rate of 12 cents per kWh).

Thermostat. A programmable thermostat is easy to install and saves energy (and money) by automatically adjusting to pre-determined temperature settings. This allows you to drop the temperature during the day when no one is home, but have a comfortable environment ready when you arrive home from work each day. Depending on the model you choose, you can select numerous settings to adjust your indoor climate for various days to fit your lifestyle patterns. According to ENERGY STAR®, when used properly, a programmable thermostat can save as much as $150 a year in energy costs.

Air leaks. An airtight house is critical to managing your heat-related expenses. You take time to close windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping, but that's only half the battle. Sealing cracks around those windows and doors, and other leak-prone areas such as the basement and attic, will help keep heat inside and costs down.

Source: GE Lighting

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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