CR's Guide to Getting Better Internet Without Busting Your Budget | Shield Insurance Agency Blog

CR’s Guide to Getting Better Internet Without Busting Your Budget

How to solve WiFi problems and trim your monthly bill. Plus, what CR is doing to get everyone faster, cheaper broadband.

By Consumer ReportsJuly 13, 2021

Over the past 18 months, our home internet connections have helped us reach family, friends, and colleagues. They’ve been both practical tools and a needed source of entertainment during a difficult time.

That may be why 76 percent of Americans agree that internet service is as important as electricity or water, according to a February nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 2,514 U.S. adults (PDF).

But using the internet at home can be frustrating, too, as many people confront dropped video-calls and sputtering movies—along with confusing bills and poor customer service. The good news is that some broadband problems are easy to fix. The following information can help you do that and maybe even help you save a bit of money.

To learn more about the issues that affect internet customers, Consumer Reports is launching a project called Broadband Together along with several other nonprofit organizations to collect and analyze tens of thousands of internet bills. You can read more about the project, and then consider joining the effort by taking an internet speed test, sharing a bill, and providing us with some basic information. 

The information we gather will help us learn how much people are paying in neighborhoods across the country, whether they’re getting what they were promised, and whether prices are fair.

If the internet is glitchy in your home, the first step toward a solution is to pinpoint the problem. And it helps to understand how online material—be it a Netflix show, Zoom call, or social media post—gets to you.

As you can see in the illustration below, movies, email, and other data are funneled by internet service providers (ISPs) through a series of cables and wires to homes with wired service. 

If something’s not working, the problem could lie outside your home and may require a call to the company to fix. Or the trouble could be with your home WiFi network, which distributes information wirelessly to your computers, TVs, and other devices.

Which is it? To figure that out, an easy first step is to test your internet speed.

How to Test Your Speed For Better Internet

It’s useful to know how fast data moves into and out of your home. To find out, you can check your speed at Measurement Lab or Speedtest. With a click or two, you’ll learn your download speed (how fast data such as a movie streams into your home), and your upload speed (how fast data like your end of a Zoom call streams out). The numbers, measured in megabits per second (Mbps), will vary a bit each time. If possible, first run a test with a computer that’s physically plugged into your router using an Ethernet cord. The results may vary a bit each time you run the test. But if the speeds are consistently much slower than the maximum speeds promoted by the ISP for your plan, call the company. Then do the same test wirelessly (over WiFi) throughout the house. If it’s only the WiFi speeds that are slow, focus on your router to find a solution. 

Is Your Service Level Fast Enough?
ISPs generally offer several plans, each promising a different range of speeds—the faster the connection, the more you pay. So which plan is right for you?

It depends on how many people you have at home and what they do online. You need only around 1 Mbps to listen to a Spotify song and 4 Mbps for a Zoom call—but 25 Mbps to watch a 4K movie on Netflix.

The numbers are cumulative. If two TVs are streaming 4K movies at the same time, that’s 50 Mbps.

Every ISP has its own tiers, but you can use the speed ranges below to see where you fit in. Many people may pay for more speed than they really need.

Up to 100 Mbps
This is plenty for two or three people with routine needs. That includes Zoom calls, high-definition movie viewing, and some online game play.

100 to 300 Mbps
These speeds should accommodate even a data-hogging family that plays several 4K movies and taxing online games all at the same time.

300-Plus Mbps
Few households need more than 300 Mbps. If you have internet problems, the solution is probably not to slap down the plastic for your ISP’s priciest superfast service.

Make Your WiFi Better

Let’s say you’ve signed up for the right internet service tier, and your speed testing confirms that your ISP truly is delivering the speeds it has promised. If your internet service is still acting finicky, the problem very likely lies with your WiFi network. You can probably fix things by fiddling with the equipment in your home. Below, CR has four expert tips to help, starting with the simplest and cheapest. And we have more detailed WiFi advice, as well. 

1. Try Moving Your Router
Tempting though it may be to banish your router from public view, exiling it to a cabinet or the outskirts of your home can hinder performance. That forces the WiFi signal to pass through more walls and other barriers, and to cover longer distances, to reach every corner of the house.

Place the router out in the open, away from corners, and high in the room. (The signal tends to be stronger below the router than above it.) Also, locate the router as close as possible to the middle of your home. You may be able to move it yourself, or you might need some help from your ISP or a handy friend.

2. Use an Ethernet Cord
If you’ve ever had a movie night derailed by sputtering WiFi, you know the feeling (major letdown). Need a more stable signal? A $10 or $20 Ethernet cable can save the day, linking a TV, streaming video box, or video game console directly to your router.

3. Use an Inexpensive WiFi Extender
Need to push a WiFi signal a little deeper into your home? A $30 palm-sized WiFi range extender could be the answer. Plug it into an outlet midway between your router and, say, the comfy reading chair in your bedroom, and it stretches the signal. There’s a catch, however: That extended signal can be only half as fast as the rest of your WiFi network, making this a great fix for emails, but maybe not movies.

4. If Needed, Invest in a Mesh Router
If you’re looking to improve WiFi coverage throughout your home, a mesh router system may be the way to go. Unlike a traditional router, which toils away on its own, a mesh router uses multiple units—a hub and one or two satellites—that work together to spread the WiFi network from one end of your abode to the other. If there’s a dead zone in the den, you can move the satellites around to eliminate it. You can also add satellites to broaden the network’s reach. Mesh routers used to cost up to $500, but prices have fallen in the past 15 months. You can now find highly rated mesh routers for less than $200.

Avoid Overpaying

Click here for the rest of the story…

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How to transform your backyard | Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Transform Your Backyard Into a Restaurant-Worthy Oasis with Outdoor Lighting

How to Transform Your Backyard Into a Restaurant-Worthy Oasis with Outdoor Lighting

We asked the pros how to install magical, twinkling outdoor lights — on a budget.

This year’s hottest venue? Your own backyard. Maybe you’ve got the plants and furniture down, but you want to take the space truly over the top, so it looks just as incredible as your favorite restaurant’s outdoor dining setup. Short of splurging on a fancy firepit area building outdoor awnings, there’s a functional, budget-friendly move you can make that’ll totally set the mood. And that’s installing outdoor lighting like a pro.

Many restaurants hire lighting companies to put up their twinkly string lights, but that can set you back thousands. With the right tips and tricks, you can totally DIY. That’s why we turned to event and experience production company Cloth and Flame. Their team is so adept at installing lighting, they can rig it up in the even the most remote places (think: the top of the Grand Canyon or the middle of a dessert). Here is their creative, resourceful advice.

Choose the Right Type of String Lights

Google “string lights” or “café lights” and hundreds of different varieties will pop up. Nathan Lesueur, the lead designer at Cloth and Flame gives us guidance.

Avoid interior lights. Stay away from Christmas lights or anything that’s labeled as an interior light, because these won’t be weather-proof.

Read buyer reviews. Amazon and Costco are great sources for inexpensive string lights, but terms on sellers’ pages like “industrial” or “commercial” don’t mean much. “My only reliable source, no matter what I’m buying is doing the research and reading verified reviews of what other people have experienced that item,” Lesueur says.

Make sure the bulbs are generic and replaceable. Bulbs might break when you install the lights, and they’ll burn out over time. You want to make sure that you can buy generic replacements that screw in. Proprietary bulbs will be more expensive and harder to source down the line.

Buy long strands instead of connecting strands end to end. 25-feet-long lights are the most common, but for safety reasons there’s usually a limit to the number you can plug together. To achieve lots of light yardage, look for 50-foot or even 100-foot light strands.

Use warm light, not cool light. “Warm bulbs are more natural and better on skin tones that bright white daytime lights or LED bulbs. Warm light is like the glow of the sun as opposed to a bright refrigerator light,” explains Lesueur. Plus, warm light photographs better than cool light. “It’s fun to create a sanctuary at home that’s also photographable so people want to share it,” says Lesueur.

Install Your String Lights with Upcycled Materials

There’s no need to buy a crazy expensive lighting kit. Instead, there are some simple, inexpensive ways to repurpose items around your home as lighting poles. “The best things you can use are practical, everyday things and are also reusable for other functions,” Lesueur says.

Some smart ideas? Home Depot sells flagpole yard inserts, which lots of people use. You can also buy inexpensive electric polls that are usually used as conduits. Home Depot will cut these lightweight polls to whatever height you’d like — they’re easy to mount to a wall, stick in the ground in your yard or even secure upright in an umbrella stand. If you prefer a wooden look, head to Ikea, and snag some wooden poles.

If you don’t want to hang your lights between poles, use natural suspension points like the side of your house or the support beams underneath a deck ceiling.

One thing to keep in mind? You should hang your lights so they fall in arches. “I’ve noticed with a lot of installations of this type of light, people trying to pull the lights too tight and that causes tension issues on the poles,” Lesueur explains. Plus, allowing the lights to drape down adds dimension from multiple angles — above you and to the side of you.

Make Your Setup Pop with Other Lighting Too

Click here for the rest of the story… and some great photos too!

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Shield Insurance Nominated for Business Excellence Award

Shield Insurance Nominated for Business Excellence Award

Shield Insurance Nominated for Business Excellence Award by Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce

Big News from the Hudsonville Chamber of Commerce!

It’s Awards Season!

The Chamber is SO excited to be hosting the Chamber Awards once again this year!

Here are our nominees for the 2021 Awards!

::::: drumroll :::::

Business Excellence Award

  • Hudsonville Physical Therapy
  • Advent Physical Therapy
  • Shield Insurance Agency

Leadership Award

  • Dr. Therese House-Vereeke
  • Patrick Waterman
  • Mary Jane Schreur

Spark Award

  • Hand 2 Hand Ministries
  • Meijer
  • Joy 99

The winners of the Awards will be announced at our official Awards Ceremony MEAL. June 17th at noon at the Pinnacle Center.

Make sure to get registered, we hope to see you there!

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Shield Insurance Agency organizing a home

8 Easy Steps to a More Organized Home

An Organized Home: Even small efforts to declutter can lead to tidier spaces

En español | We love to think about decluttering and having an organized home. But we don’t always love to do it.

Last year, people binge-watched The Home Edit on Netflix to see pantries and bookshelves organized in a rainbow of colors and messy garages and bedrooms transformed. In the past, people have Marie Kondo–ed their closets and drawers by tossing items that don’t spark joy.

It can be hard to get around to decluttering in real life, even when people are spending more time at home because of COVID-19. But a few small steps can help jump-start the effort and may even improve your mental health just as much as your home.

“The more clutter you have, the less happy you tend to be,” says Joseph Ferrari, a professor at DePaul University, who along with his research partner has studied the negative impact of all that stuff. “The more you have, the less life satisfaction people report.”

Decluttering for an organized home made simple

After Beverly LaZar went through a divorce and began contemplating a move, she assessed what she wanted to take with her. LaZar, 52, from Cedar Crest, New Mexico, realized her family had “accumulated a great deal of stuff” after living in one place for 24 years. Much of it was squirreled away in boxes in her garage, barely looked at.

She’s decided to tackle organizing what’s accumulated in those boxes. “I do not wish to move all of these things across the country,” she says.

Simple Ways to Declutter Your Spaces

  1. Start by removing trash.
  2. Begin by choosing one small area to organize — like a drawer.
  3. Sort items into three piles: Keep, donate and toss.
  4. Find a specific home for everything you intend to keep — for example, a hook for your keys.
  5. Group similar items together, instead of storing them in multiple places, so you always know where to find them.
  6. If you buy something new, pledge to get rid of something else to limit items in your home.
  7. If you’re holding on to items to pass to the next generation, ask your heirs if they want the items. Be prepared for them to say no, and be gracious.
  8. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Schedule limited amounts of time to work on decluttering and organizing on a regular basis.

The older you get, the more mugs, memorabilia, furniture, books, papers, and accessories seem to pile up. So where to begin when it comes to organizing and decluttering?

“I always suggest starting with removing the trash first,” says Nikki Bell, a professional organizer in Houston. “Grab a trash bag and just walk through the space throwing away anything broken, damaged, or actual trash.”

Cardboard boxes can take up a lot of space, so removing them changes the way you view a room, Bell says. After that, pick one small area to tackle, like a drawer, to ease yourself into the work.

To start her decluttering project, Sabrina Hamilton, 52, of Colorado, picks one room, assesses the clutter, and starts sorting, using a system many professional organizers follow.

“I create three piles: what I’ll keep, what I’ll donate, and what I’ll throw away,” she says. “With each item, I’m considering, I decide if it’s meaningful, useful, or useless.” Meaningful items get to stay, useful items that she no longer wants are passed along, and useless stuff goes in the trash.

From there, Andrew Mellen, a professional organizer in New York City, encourages people to start organizing. He suggests following what he calls his “organizational triangle” — “one home for everything; like with like; and something in, something out.”

That means:

  • Everything has a spot where it lives. For example, “your keys have a home and they’re either in their home or they’re in your hand unlocking something,” Mellen says.
  • Like with like involves organizing your belongings so that “all like objects live together — not most of them,” Mellen says. That means storing all tools in a toolbox and not leaving a stray screwdriver in a junk drawer.
  • Something in, something out helps manage the number of items in a home. If you buy something new, something has to be donated, given away, or trashed.

Letting go of items can be hard

Click here for the rest of the story.

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Get Gardening Muscles in Shape and Prevent Injuries

Get Gardening Muscles in Shape and Prevent Injuries. Before digging, pruning, and planting, make sure you’re ready for the work

by Susan Moeller, AARP, March 15, 2021

Christine Zellers tries to run five miles every day and, at 53, considers herself to be in shape. But even she admits that gardening can leave her sore and achy.

“I feel it, especially in the beginning of the season,” she says. 

Zellers, an assistant professor of family and community health sciences with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County, New Jersey, teaches gardening, leads group exercise classes, and grows vegetables and herbs in her own garden in Ocean City, New Jersey. To protect her body, she tries to remember to stretch and limber up before heading out to dig, plant, or lug big pots around.

“You want to be thinking about the kind of movement you’re going to do and make sure you’re strengthening those body parts, like your core and your back and your legs and your quadriceps,” she says. “So you want to warm up a little bit just like you would if you were going for a run or doing an exercise class.”

Gardeners and health experts warn against jumping into gardening activities without some pre-game preparation to build strength, stamina and aerobic power and prevent injury. 

For example, if your core body strength is off, your balance is also off, making falls a risk, says Maura Daly Iversen, a physical therapist and dean of the College of Health Professions at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. And you need aerobic capacity to do the work, she says.

“My friends that don’t garden think it’s light work,” says Iversen, who admits to being an “over-50” gardener. “But it can be pretty hefty work when you’re removing bushes and whatever. So I think cardiovascular fitness is also important.”

No gym membership needed

Click here for the rest of the story…

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National Bath Safety Month | Shield Insurance Agency

National Bath Safety Month

4 Tips for National Bath Safety Month

Keep the fun in the tub throughout the month of January.

Stay with her. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 4 and under always have a parent or caregiver present when they are near water, including the tub. Accidents can happen in an instant.

Prevent slips. 

Young children do not have the coordination or strength to hold steady if they lose their balance. Affix a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub and make sure the throw rug outside the tub does not slide when stepped on. Consider installing a grab bar for kids to hold onto when stepping in and out of the bath.

Test the temperature. 

Always wait until the tub is finished filling up before placing your child in the water, as the temperature can change. Set your home’s water heater to deliver water no hotter than 120 degrees to lower the risk of scalding. If you don’t have control over the heater, buy an anti-scald device that attaches to the faucet.

Beware of Sharp Edges

Use a rubber cover for the faucet head and drape a towel over metal rails for shower doors when your child is in the bath. Make sure any glass shower doors are made of shatterproof glass. Avoid bath toys with hard edges or points that could be hazardous if your child falls onto them.

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Independent Agents

Independent Agents vs. Captive Agents

When you’re in the market for insurance, whether it’s home, auto or commercial insurance, you typically work with an agent who can help you find a policy that meets your needs. But most people don’t know that there are two different kinds of insurance agents—captive and independent agents.

So what is an independent insurance agent vs. a captive insurance agent? In short, captive insurance agents are contracted to work for one insurance company and can only sell that company’s policies. On the other hand, independent agents are contracted to work with a variety of insurance companies and can sell policies from multiple providers.

As a consumer, it’s important to understand the distinctions between captive and independent agents. Although they sound the same, some people may benefit from working with a captive agent and others with an independent agent. In this article, we’ll explain the key differences and help you decide which agent is best for you.

Captive Agents

Most of the major insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate and Farmers, use captive agents to sell their insurance products. Their agents are only selling policies from that one insurer, so the agents are experts at knowing the different policies available, discounts and coverage add-ons for their one carrier.

Because of that, they can be helpful for people who are buying insurance for the first time or for people who aren’t sure how much coverage to purchase.

Client satisfaction is crucial for captive agents because they get a commission for every earned sale. However, their commission rate tends to be lower than for independent agents because they are also paid a salary from the insurance company and get financial assistance with costs like advertising and hiring.

Independent Agents

Independent agents partner with several insurance companies of their choosing to sell certain policies from each provider. For example, an independent agent might contract with Pioneer Insurance, Frankenmuth Insurance,and Citizens Insurance and sell any of their auto and home insurance policies.

Many consumers like working an independent insurance agent because an independent agent gives the customer more options. They aren’t locked into purchasing from a small number of plans that might be too expensive or not a great fit for their coverage needs. Those options help people shop around for plans before settling on one.

Which is better?

Generally speaking, there isn’t one better type of insurance agent. Whether you choose to work with a captive agent or an independent agent depends on you.

The main benefit of working with a captive agent is that they have extensive knowledge of their insurers products and policies, because they have one carrier. However, working with a captive agent tends to be more expensive, due to extra fees that the insurance company charges.

If you work with an independent agent, you’ll get more options, which also means a wider price range. But independent agents have in-depth knowledge about numerous carriers, where captives only need to learn one. Also, independent agents usually charge less because there isn’t one parent company to support.

If you’re concerned with keeping costs low, working with an independent agent will save you money. Keep in mind that you should already have a general idea of what you’re looking for before meeting with an agent.

Frequently asked questions

What type of insurance do independent agents and captive agents sell?

Both independent and captive agents can sell any kind of insurance they want. Some choose to sell every product that an insurer offers, while others specialize in a few areas, like home and life insurance.

Should I choose an independent agent or a captive agent?

There are a few main reasons why you would choose an independent vs. a captive agent. The first is cost—working with an independent agent will be cheaper than working with a captive agent. Secondly, independent agents can offer a wider variety of plans, so you have more choices and a wider price range to work from.

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shield agency home insurance

How to handle 10 common home emergencies

You love your home. Make sure you know how to keep it — and you and your loved ones — safe and sound. Here are 10 common home emergencies and how to handle them.

1. Kitchen fire.

The most common culprit of a kitchen fire is an inattentive cook. It’s never a good idea to leave your stovetop or oven unattended when food is cooking. Prevent kitchen fires by cooking during times when you won’t need to step away from the kitchen.

If a kitchen fire happens, take these steps:

  • For a small grease fire, try smothering it with baking soda or sliding a metal lid over the pan to suffocate the fire. Turn off the stove. Never use water to put out a grease fire; it can be dangerous and make the situation worse.
  • For an oven fire, keep the oven door closed and turn off the oven.
  • If the fire continues, help everyone to evacuate the house, close the door behind you and call 911 from a safe distance from your home.

Also, remember to regularly check your smoke detectors. Put a reminder on your calendar to test all the smoke detectors in your home monthly, and promptly replace batteries when needed. Consider replacing all your smoke detectors every 10 years.

2. Water leak.

Whether it’s a slow drip or a steady stream, the best thing you can do is know where your home’s main water valve is located — typically it’s in the basement or near the front of the house — which controls the flow of water into your home and learn how to turn off your water in an emergency to prevent water damage to your home. Then you will need to call a plumber for assistance.

If your ceiling is leaking, gather buckets or plastic sheets under the leak to help prevent water damage. Then try to track down the source of the leak. If it’s likely a roofing issue, it’s best to call a professional right away to assess the situation and help with repairs.

Finally, take steps to insulate your pipes before the weather turns cold to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

3. Water overflow.

Anything that holds a lot of water in your house can potentially overflow into the surrounding area. Here’s how to handle a water overflow

  • When a toilet overflows, find the valve behind the toilet near the wall and turn it off to stop the flow of water. Then, quickly mop up any standing water. Finally, try to determine the cause. Look for issues with the fill tube and float as well as for clogs or other issues that could be keeping the toilet from draining. If you’re still stumped, call your plumber for assistance.
  • When your bathtub or sink overflows, first stop the flow of water — whether it’s as simple as turning off the faucet or by shutting off the main water valve to your home if the faucet is broken. Then, quickly mop up standing water to prevent further damage. If the faucet is broken, make necessary repairs before using that sink or bathtub again.

4. Flooded basement.

Whatever the cause, if your basement is flooded with water, the most important thing is that you NEVER enter a flooded basement. For your own health and safety call your utility companies first, and stay away until they have turned off the electricity and gas. Then, it’s best to hire a professional to help you clean up, mitigate the damage to your home and help prevent you and your family from becoming sick. You will need to throw out anything the flood water reached unless it can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

5. Power outage.

When the power goes out, check to see if nearby homes and streetlights still have power. If their lights are still on, check your breakers. If the neighborhood is dark too, then call your power company, or visit their website, to report the power outage and ask for an estimated repair time

Stay safe by following these steps:

  • Use flashlights. Don’t light candles. Keep your flashlights in an easy-to-find location, test them monthly, and keep spare batteries in a known and accessible location. If you don’t have a flashlight, your cell phone can help provide some light to help guide you safely through your home.
  • Keep your refrigerator door closed. Food can spoil in a refrigerator after the power has been out for more than 4 hours.
  • Turn off or unplug electronics. If the lights were on or you were using any electrical equipment, like a computer, when the power went out, switch your lights off and unplug your electronics.

If you anticipate having a power outage that lasts for days, such as after a hurricane, consider investing in a generator that can help provide electricity to essential things in your home, like a refrigerator or freezer. Be sure to follow all safety instructions while using it.

6. Carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas that can cause severe illness or even death. The symptoms are often like the flu without a fever. If you think you have carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911.

The best way to prevent a carbon monoxide emergency is to:

  • Use carbon monoxide detectors and test them once a month to make sure they’re in good working order. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how often to replace your carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have gas appliances inspected at least once a year.
  • Properly vent all gas furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces.
  • Follow all safety instructions for gas-powered appliances, such as space heaters and generators.

7. Gas leak.

When a natural gas line leaks, you may smell gas (it smells a lot like rotten eggs). While natural gas lines don’t leak often, you should always take it seriously if it does. A gas leak inside your home can make you sick or even lead to an explosion.

If you notice the smell of natural gas inside your home:

  • Go outside IMMEDIATELY and call the utility company and 911.
  • Don’t try to find the leak.
  • Don’t turn on or off any electrical appliances.
  • Don’t smoke or have any open flames nearby.

8. Broken glass.

Whether it’s a cracked window or a smashed dinner plate, broken glass can be a difficult mess to clean up. Whenever possible, take actions to prevent it, such as closing shutters, blinds and curtains ahead of severe weather or handling glass objects with care. But when it happens, here’s how to clean up broken glass safely:

  • Don’t handle glass with your bare hands. Put on thick or rubber gloves if you have them or use a tool like a piece of cardboard or stiff paper to help you scoop up the large pieces of glass.
  • Next, use large tape, like duct tape, to help you pick up smaller pieces of glass. Because broken glass can travel farther than you might expect, be sure to use your large tape on the surrounding area, too.
  • Finally, mop or wipe up the entire area with wet wipes or doubled-up paper towels. If the glass is in your carpet, thoroughly vacuum the area using a hose attachment and move it in different angles and directions to get as much glass out of the carpet fibers as possible.
  • If the window is broken, you can seal it temporarily by taking a trash bag and cutting it with scissors to fit the window. Tape several layers of this plastic bag to the window’s frame with duct tape. Then immediately schedule a window repair or replacement.

9. HVAC goes out.

When your air conditioning or heating decides to quit, your first call should be to a technician who can inspect it, and if needed, repair or replace it as soon as possible.

If your A/C goes out during warm weather, take steps to keep your body temperature stable to prevent heat stroke and stay comfortable. Here are some things you can do:

  • Drink ice water often and avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise your body temperature.
  • Eat foods that are easy to digest, like fruits and vegetables.
  • Take a washcloth and rinse it under cold water, then put it on your neck, wrists or behind your knees to help keep your body cool.
  • Consider living in the lower level of your home since heat rises. For example, it may be more comfortable to sleep downstairs instead of an upstairs bedroom.

If your furnace stops working during cold weather, stay warm and safe with these tips:

  • Add layers to your clothing.
  • Don’t use your oven for heating.
  • Find a small area inside your home that you can heat with a fireplace or electric space heater. However, someone should stay awake while either of these are used to make sure there aren’t any issues. Be sure that your fireplace has proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Hang curtains, quilts or bedspreads over doors and windows.

10. Ant or rodent infestation.

If you have unwelcome house guests that have more than two legs, it’s time to assess the situation so you can send them packing.

  • After you’ve spotted a mouse, walk the perimeter of your home — both on the inside and outside — and look for any signs of mouse activity (for example, mouse droppings, chewing or nests) and look for any small hole or crevice where the mouse could be entering your home. Cover any entry points with sealant or wire mesh. Then, set a series of mouse traps. If you continue to have issues, call a professional right away.
  • When you’ve found a trail of ants, remove them and thoroughly clean anywhere you think they’ve been with a vinegar spray to help remove their ant trail scents. Look for tiny gaps or cracks near windows, doors and floorboards, where the ants may be entering your home. Set up ant traps and consider calling a professional who can determine if there’s an ant nest near your home. If you have large black carpenter ants, call a professional immediately since these ants can cause more damage to your home.

– WebMD

Contact your Shield Insurance Agency for complete details on your home insurance coverage and discounts.

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