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Home Owners Insurance Insurance Liability Insurance Personal Thanksgiving

5 Part Fall Prep Guide (Building Wear & Tear Inspection):

1. BUILDING OUTSIDE:

- Plants: Trim away any trees or bushes which are in contact with the structure.

- Windows & Doors: physically look at the caulking does not have holes or cracks. The caulking is squishy stuff that connects the door or window to the wall on the outside of a building.

- Garage & Warehouse doors: take a look at the hinges, and confirm that they are securely attached to the door. Test the auto-stop mechanisms. Many garage door openers use an electronic eye to automatically reverse the garage door if an obstruction is in the way. Many also  have a pressure reverse when contact is made with an obstruction. Both of these are good to confirm proper function.

- Roof & Gutters (only when possible): look at any points where metal and pipes are going through or connected to the roof. Confirm there are no blockages for weather or water, and in good condition.

2. WATER FLOW:

- pull debris from the gutters and whatever devices are used to move water from your building, and direct the water to at least 3 — 5 feet away from the foundation.

- A building with a sump pump is a building which could partially fill up with water. It’s one thing to keep water off the outside of your house, but filling a building up with water can be destructive. Test it, to be sure your sump pump is fully operational.

- Winterize your sprinkler system before the first freeze.

- Disconnect water hoses: Any external faucets with a hose connected to them typically require disconnection, and being readied for winter temperatures. Remember to turn off the water flow before disconnecting the faucet/hose. Otherwise you may need a change of clothes, and a towel.

- Erosion check: physically look at the foundation. and check to confirm that the ground slopes away from your building. Pooling water in contact with a building’s foundation is usually the start to a long term serious problem. Another way to recognize water around a foundation is to look in the crawlspace or basement and see if there are any points of moisture in the soil or moisture coming through the wall.

3. FIRE AND AIR:

- Not all houses have working chimneys, but it is good practice to clean a chimney each fall. You are starting a fire in a building, and all the soot building up over time.

- Wood burning fireplace or stove: There is a good reason why we aren’t allowed to build buildings with these types of burning units anymore. If a building has a device which burns wood, have it cleaned and inspected.

- Detectors: Smoke detectors have a test button, as do the Carbon Monoxide detectors. Press the button to make sure they are working properly. Be aware, these are designed to interrupt whatever you are currently doing — so they are quite loud. If you’ve never heard a Carbon Monoxide or Smoke detector before, they can be loud!

4. FILTERS:

- Furnace Forced Air Filter: There is an air filter in your furnace. Chance it once a month. If you’re thinking you haven’t changed it since last year… please move this to the top of your list. 

- AC Filters: Most of these have filters. The job of an AC unit is to move air around a building, and dirty filters are like making a marathon runner carry weights. It’s good to keep your filters clean.

- Range Hood filters: If your place has a hood, there is probably a filter for that hood’s directing the air. Replace filters, and check for cleanliness.

- Boiler: Confirm that the pump is oiled. It is true that oiling a boiler is not changing a filter, but this machinery oil like a forced air furnace needs to breath. 

5. ELECTRONICS:

- Test reset buttons (Power outlets with the Test & Reset button): The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs, or GFIs) are commonly where water and electricity may be in contact, but that is not the only place these types of power outlets are used. Wherever there is a power outlet with a reset/test buttons in the middle — push the test buttons to make sure power is no longer going to the outlet when you push test. You can press reset button to make it work again.

- Refrigeration: the process of keeping items cold typically require coils and other dust collecting parts. Cleaning them (at least annually) is a good way to not pay more to make that refrigerator run.

- Drain Swamp Cooler: If you have a swamp cooler, you should know it. These typically have a water line in which needs to be shut off, as well as drained. Swamp coolers also have electricity run to them which needs to be “winterized”, and turned off.


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    Categories
    Insurance Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving Games (and cool history)

    Thanksgiving Games that will make this wild and crazy holiday a little wackier!

    Did you know that the author of the first song recorded by phonograph fought (lobbied) for 36 years before Lincoln declared the November national holiday named “Thanksgiving”?

    Move over gravy, it’s time to spice up this Thanksgiving holiday with some fun games and facts sure to make this year the best holiday in memory (or at least different than the last few in memory). In case you’re in a hurry, we’re including a link to this blog in Word and image format, because not every Thanksgiving dinner table has WiFi or cell service. Even though the 1600s witnessed the Pilgrims celebrating Thanksgiving after a drought, their thanksgivings were days of religious fasting (rather than feasting). The 1700s watched George Washington issue the USA’s first Thanksgiving proclamation. John Adams, and James Madison (Washington’s successors) also dedicated thanks days.

    How Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday:

    • In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale started her quest for an official Thanksgiving holiday. It wasn’t until three years later that she would write the nursery rhyme (based on a true story), “Mary had a little Lamb”. Being a woman with no right to vote did not stop this powerhouse of tenacity from making her voice heard. Lacking email, social media, and telephones – it was paper and pen. Letters written to politicians of all types from the governor’s mansion to senator offices, and all the way up the street to the President of the United States.
    • In 1863, Lincoln scheduled the last Thursday of November a national holiday. Yes, you’re right. It’s currently the fourth Thursday, but that is because in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week. The Great Depression was at the end, and an extra week of Christmas shopping could only help to build the economy. As with most political changes, it was given a nickname – “Franksgiving”. By 1941, the president signed a bill compromising for the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving. Now you know how we got here – let’s get to the games.

    Thanksgiving games to start before eating:

    1. Gratitude Jar” upon arrival, set out a jar or bowl (or container of some type) with a pen and paper next to it. Through the day, anyone can write their note and leave it for later. At the end of the dinner, have each one read. Enjoy being thankful together.
    2. Schedule to Volunteer together. The timing of this one is rather important. If you wait until during or after the feasting, all that nervous energy (which will inspire people to sign up to volunteer together before the dinner) will probably be gone once our tummies are full. If you all agree on a scheduled volunteer together event – promise each other you won’t cancel it when you’re all sleepy after dinner. Look for opportunities to give.

    Thanksgiving Games to play at the table:

    1. I’m thankful for this small thing” Certain days are easier than others to recognize the small stuff and tell yourself that you’re thankful for it. As the food’s being passed, take turns completing the statement, “I’m thankful for this small thing….”
    2. Count-up your blessings. The first person to start points out one (1) thing that they are thankful for. The person next to them points out two (2) points of gratitude, and 3 and 4 and so on. The fewer rules on how to come up with the next number – the better. What am I grateful for right now? People and things and events and experiences are good to remember together.
    3. Diamond Award – We are often most grateful for those things which came through a struggle. Look back at past struggles and trials which have turned into diamonds through pressure. Mention challenges which have helped you.

    Thanksgiving Games to play just before turkey coma:

    1. Silent appreciation” We all know the time between turkey and sleeping to football. When you’re still awake, find someone on social media or email or text, and tell them that you are thankful for them. It’s not hokey, because it’s Thanksgiving – that’s what we’re supposed to do.

    Thanksgiving Games to play while you’re eating cold turkey that night:

    1. Thank your network” There are people we all work with each day and there is often not a reason to thank them, because they’re just doing their job. Even business is based on relationships, and an unsolicited kind word on one day can stop a confrontation in the future. Tell them that you appreciate them.

    Whether you play any of our games, or not – we want to thank our clients for allowing us the chance to serve you. Of course, we would not be in business without our clients, but it is knowing we are helping care for you for which we are grateful.

    Yes, “Mary had a little Lamb” was the first words recorded by phonograph. Although that “phonograph” was a tinfoil sheet wrapped on a cylinder that Thomas Edison figured out while working on improvements to the telephone and telegraph – when you can’t think of anything to say, it’s usually a nursery rhyme that comes to mind. Since nursery rhyme’s intent are often missed by the first few verses we all remember, here’s the entire “Mary had a little Lamb” verse to kickstart thinking of the people we can say thanks to.

    Mary had a little Lamb

    (it’s more fun if you sing it)

    Mary had a little lamb,
    whose fleece was white as snow.
    And everywhere that Mary went,
    the lamb was sure to go.
    It followed her to school one day
    which was against the rules.
    It made the children laugh and play,
    to see a lamb at school.
    And so the teacher turned it out,
    but still it lingered near,
    And waited patiently about,
    till Mary did appear.
    “Why does the lamb love Mary so?”
    the eager children cry.
    “Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.”
    the teacher did reply

    Happy Thanksgiving from Insurance Town & Country.

    Thank you!