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By crossroadsp2443513, Nov 9 2017 08:35PM

Strong winds and rotted roots can potentially lead to a tree falling over on your house. Perhaps you’ve seen it happen to your neighbor’s house or maybe have had a tree that barely missed the roof of your house. It’s not one of those things you want to really think about but it’s always good to know the steps you can take should your home fall prey to this type of damage. While older and diseased trees are more vulnerable to extreme weather and heavy winds, even strong, healthy trees can give out under these conditions. Fallen trees are actually one of the main causes of roof damage, according to the National Storm Damage Center, costing over $1 billion in property damage each year. From tree removal to roof repair, here’s what you’ll need to know.

1. Immediately evacuate your house.

If you don’t already have one, be sure to have an evacuation plan so that everyone in your house knows how to exit quickly and safely. Having a bag of emergency supplies, including copies of important documents, cash, car keys, and other important items, can ensure that you have everything you need to leave your home.

2. Call 911.

Even if the fallen tree or branch may seem small enough for you and your family members to attempt to remove, it’s best to wait for professional tree removers. It may be tempting for some to climb onto your roof, but it is dangerous work. If rain was involved, it can make roofs slippery, and climbing on your roof puts you at risk of falling. Also, because a tree or branch landing on your roof can threaten its structural integrity, it can increase the danger that it may collapse. You don’t want to be on that roof when that happens.

Once you and your family have evacuated to a safe location, call emergency services and report what happened. They will advise you further on what to do; it is likely they may send out a fire crew or public utility representative to ensure your home is safe, including checking that there is no danger of fire or electrical problems and checking power lines and connections.

3. Contact your insurance company.

Most home insurance policies will cover at least some damage caused by debris, including the cost of removing the tree that has fallen. However, your recovery could be affected if the damage is partly a result of negligence on the part of the homeowner. If a healthy tree on your property is knocked down, your insurance company will likely cover some or the entire cost. However, if an old, rotten tree falls or loses limbs, your recovery may be reduced if it finds that you had prior knowledge of it and could have prevented the damage.

After you report the damage to your insurance company, they will inform you on how to proceed. They may recommend or send out a roofer to quickly cover exposed areas or board up broken windows to prevent potential water damage. As soon as it’s safe to, take photos of the damage. Be careful while capturing different angles of your home, including close ups and long shots. Have the photos ready to show your insurance company.

4. Call your reputable, local roofing contractor.

Make sure you research a reputable company to repair your roof. Tree removal companies or those that offer this service may be available for 24-hour service, so the cleanup process can begin immediately. This may initially mean temporary repairs such as placing tarps over exposed areas, reinforcing parts of the roof that incurred structural damage and cleaning up water that may have made its way inside your home.

5. Make sure to leave your home safe and secure.

If the tree has caused significant damage to your home and will take time to repair, you may have to make other temporary living arrangements. So make sure your doors and windows are locked, and secure anything valuable in case your home is broken into while repairs are underway.

Your family’s safety is the main priority and although you’ll need to patient while repairs are being made, we recommend you let the professionals handle the situation for you so they can get your home ready for you to be able to move back in.

Call Crossroads Property Services at 706-352-5678.

Resources:

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/what-to-do-when-a-tree-falls-on-your-house/

https://www.resolvebylowes.com/guidance/storm/a-tree-fell-on-my-house-what-happens-now/115001588587

By crossroadsp2443513, Oct 4 2017 08:26PM

There’s no better time than early fall to start preparing your home for the coldest months of the year. Taking these steps will require some of your time but it’ll be worth all that you’ll be saving on your utility bills. So, let’s get right to it.

1. Winterize your A/C

Winter what? It’s just a fancy way of getting something ready for winter. All you must do is drain all hoses and air conditioner pipes completely – making sure you don't have excess water in your equipment. If your A/C unit has a water shutoff valve, turn that off.

Also, be sure hoses are drained and stored away neatly. Seal any water leaks you see and remove window A/C units to avoid cold drafts from entering your home during winter.

2. Change out Furnace Filters

It's especially important to replace or clean your furnace filters once a month because filters get dirty easily. As a result, they restrict airflow and hike up a demand of energy. So, make sure to set a reminder every month. You may also consider switching to a permanent filter such as a genuine HEPA filter, which can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, HEPA filters meet their standards for efficiency.

Now if your entire furnace needs to be replaced, it will cost much more up front but will save you more in the long run, especially during the heating season.

3. Lower your Water Heater

Although typically set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, lowering the temperature to 120 degrees or lower would reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10 percent.

4. Block out Drafts

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste anywhere between 5 to 30 percent of your energy use. That’s quite a range! You don’t have to be a big DIYer as you can simply place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door or you can use any scraps of fabric and fill with sand for heft.

5. Watch that thermostat

Coffee? Check. Keys? Check. Turn down heat? Check. It's easy to forget to check the thermostat before you rush out for work, but it’s harder to forget how much money this extra effort will ultimately save you.

How much will it actually save you? Well, for every degree you lower the thermostat during the winter season, you can save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill. Perhaps you may want to think about a programmable thermostat, which are affordable and save the average family $180 a year.

6. Use a Window Insulation Kit

Believe it or not, you can spend less than $10 for a window insulation kit at your local hardware store. They are so easy to install, barely visible, and are effective at buffering against drafts.

7. Use Caulking and Weather-Stripping

Can you believe that small leaks can kill your home energy’s efficiency by 5 to 30 percent a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy? It’s definitely worth sealing up gaps with caulking and weather stripping.

Carefully examine the areas where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit, and along the foundation.

8. Increase Insulation

Insulation is by far one of the best ways to save energy and money in your home. Adding extra insulation between walls, your attic floor and basement ceiling will make a huge difference in your level of comfort too. Bonus: The federal government will reimburse you for 10 percent of the cost, up to $500 for highly efficient insulation.

9. Seal those ducts

Studies have shown that 10 to 30 percent of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from air ducts. That being said, it could be a good investment to have a professional technician test your duct system and fix any problems.

Properly sealing ducts can save the average home up to $140 annually, according to the American Solar Energy Society. You'll also have better protection against mold and dust.

10. Upgrade your furnace

You don’t have to do this every year or even every 10 years, but if your furnace is old you could save a lot of money and improve your home's value by upgrading to a new unit. If you do decide to purchase a new one, make it an Energy Star-certified furnace to save 15 to 20 percent versus standard new models. You could save over 50 percent compared with many old furnaces.

If you need or would prefer to leave it to the experts, be sure to call Crossroads Property Maintenance at 706-352-5678.

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