Where’s Your Water Shutoff?

Faucet wheel and pressure gauge

Do you know where your water shutoffs are? For your sinks? For toilets? For your washer? What about the main valve that controls your whole house or business? If you don’t know the locations of your water shutoffs, you need to!

Knowing where your shutoffs are is important for variety of reasons. If you’re replacing your kitchen sink, you’ll need to know how to shut off the water. If your toilet is running, you can shut off the water between uses until it can be repaired. Most importantly, if you are experiencing a burst pipe, you can shut off the water to the whole building to lessen the possibility of flooding!

Our Claims Department has seen many instances where shutting off the water could have saved home or business owners’ time, money and hassle, but they didn’t know where the water shutoff was. Our advice- find your shutoffs! Show your family where to find them, show your employees where these are located, tell anyone who is housesitting for you where to find them, and put a tag on the main valve so it’s easily visible in an emergency. We have a printable tag on our site for just this purpose.

Patrons Oxford Insurance is dedicated to helping you maintain your lifestyle, and that includes easy tips that allow you to act quickly if an emergency arises. Prevent flooding; prevent hassle; prevent a claim! If you’re not a Patrons Oxford client yet, find your closest agent here.

How to Clean a Dryer Vent


Under 2 hours

Dirty or clogged dryer vents and ductwork don’t just reduce your dryer’s performance. The combination of heat and accumulated dryer lint and dust can lead to a fire hazard. In fact, clogged clothes dryer vents cause thousands of fires per year in the United States. Learn how to clean a dryer vent at least once a year to keep your home safe and ensure that laundry day runs at peak efficiency.

Tip: Check for warning signs of clothes dryer lint buildup such as laundry taking longer to dry, the clothes dryer becoming hotter to the touch or a burning smell becoming noticeable in the laundry room.

1 Disconnect the Dryer

  • Before dryer vent cleaning, locate the vent, which should be easily found at the back of the dryer. Also locate the dryer exhaust vent at your home’s exterior.
  • The first step on how to clean a dryer vent is to unplug the dryer. If you have a gas dryer, turn the supply valve off while cleaning.
  • Pull the dryer away from the wall about a foot to begin cleaning your dryer vent.
  • Disconnect the dryer ductfrom the back of the dryer. You may need to use a screwdriver to disconnect the vent clamp.

Tip: Some types of flexible dryer hose made of plastic, vinyl or foil are more likely to become clogged and cause fires, so replace them with ductwork that meets your local building codes.

Vacuum Out the Vent

  • While wearing safety gloves, remove lint from the hole at the back of the dryer.
  • Cleaning lint from a dryer duct requires a vacuum. Use the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner or shop vacto clean in and around the hole at the back of the dryer.
  • If you can detach the length of duct where it meets the wall, do so. It will make cleaning it easier.
  • Cleaning a dryer duct isn’t difficult. Remove lint from the duct by hand and then vacuum the inside of the duct. Use hose extensions, if available, to vacuum out as much of the duct as you can.
  • Go outside the house and remove the exterior vent cover.
  • Clean out the dryer vent from the outside using a vacuum.

Tip: Some homeowners use a leaf blower to expel dust through the vent from inside, but this tends to be a less efficient system for most homes.

3 Brush Out the Vent

  • If your dryer vent is too long to efficiently use a vacuum to remove the lint, buy a dryer vent kitfor an alternate method. These kits contain flexible brushes with extensions that can be used comparably to drain snakes and more thoroughly clean the vent’s interior walls.
  • The first step to cleaning a dryer duct is to feed the brush into the duct and move it back and forth while slightly rotating it.
  • Extend the brush as needed and continue until the vents are free of dust and lint.

Tip: Determine whether the interior or exterior opening of your house is higher and begin brushing on the higher side, so gravity will help loosen the lint.

4 Reconnect the Dryer

  • When finished cleaning, inspect the ducts to make sure that they are undamaged and up to safety codes. Replace ducts if needed.
  • Reattach ductwork and vent cover. If necessary, seal sections of ductwork with UL-listed metal foil duct tape.
  • Push the dryer back into place and plug it in or turn the gas valve back on.
  • To test the dryer, run it for 15 to 20 minutes on the fluff or air dry setting to make sure all the connections are strong and to dislodge any remaining debris.

Tip: If the above vent cleaning steps are insufficient, consider hiring a dryer vent cleaning service.

5 Take Steps to Avoid Lint Buildup

Reducing the amount of dust and lint in and around your dryer may reduce how often you need to clean the dryer vent.

  • Regularly sweep and dust the area around the dryer.
  • Remove the lint trap filter and clean it out before every cycle. It’s quick, easy and makes a big difference in your dryer’s performance.
  • On a regular basis, remove the lint screen and vacuum in and around the lint filter housing with the hose attachment of the vacuum cleaner.
  • Dryer sheets can leave residue on a lint screen that can build up over time. If the lint screen is clogged, use a scrub brushto wash it in warm, soapy water, rinse it with clean water and dry it off with a towel.

It’s important to remove lint regularly to avoid lint buildup. Cleaning lint from a dryer ultimately protects your home from house fires as well. Not only can the lint catch fire due to buildup, but if a fire were to start due to other circumstances, the lint would provide fuel, causing the fire to grow. Cleaning a dryer vent not only keeps your home safe, but keeps your dryer working properly and efficiently.

A clogged clothes dryer may not just be a fire hazard, but can cause your energy bills to increase by requiring longer drying times for your laundry. Knowing how to clean a dryer vent can protect your house, save some money and make your clothes look better.

Get all the things you need to clean your dryer vent today. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.

Source: https://www.homedepot.com/c/ah/how-to-clean-a-dryer-vent/9ba683603be9fa5395fab90104093975

Umbrella Insurance – Consider This

Umbrella Blog

You’ve heard the term Umbrella policy before, but figured you already had insurance for your belongings. So why do you need this coverage? Consider this- you’re in an auto accident and the other driver sues you. The other driver wins the lawsuit against you and you’re now required to pay them $1 million, but your auto insurance only covers a portion of that. Now you’re on the hook for the remaining amount. Without an umbrella policy in place, this sum is an out of pocket expense not covered by your primary homeowner or automobile policies.

With an umbrella policy, this scenario plays out differently. You have an additional coverage that goes above and beyond what your auto insurance pays out. Instead of dipping into your personal finances to pay the other driver, you pull from your umbrella policy and avert the potential for financial struggles!

In a nutshell, an umbrella insurance policy offers you and your family additional liability protection over the basic coverage provided by your automobile, homeowners or boat policy. $1 million, $2 million, $3 million or $5 million ($3 and $5 million option not available in all states) limits are available.

If you would like more information on our products, or to add this coverage, please contact your existing Patrons Oxford agent or use our agent locator.

Ice Fishing 101


From Sebago Lake to Moosehead Lake, to East Grand Lake and Rangeley Lake, ice fishing is a favorite pastime for Mainers! Whether this is your first time tackling an icy lake, or you’re taking your grandkids out for their first try, here’s a quick rundown of the “what, where and how” of ice fishing!



As you may have guessed, ice fishing takes place on the ice! Winter clothes are mandatory for this hobby, as are heavy-tread boots to prevent slipping. Other essential items you’ll need include (but aren’t limited to):

  • A chisel/auger to create a hole in the ice
  • An ice scoop to clear floating ice from the newly created hole
  • Live bait
  • Traps/tackle/jig rods to catch your fish


How do you know where the fish are? Ask around! There are plenty of Facebook and other online groups dedicated to this activity with information on the where the fish are biting. Join the conversation, meet like-minded people, and have a blast watching your flags go up!

You can also monitor fishing reports like this one.

*Note- ice MUST be thick enough to support your weight and the weight of your gear. While checking fishing reports, find out this vital piece of information.


  1. 2When you arrive, double check ice thickness
  2. Find your spot
  3. Drill your hole
  4. Skim floating ice from your ice hole
  5. Check water depth
  6. Set your trap or jig rod
  7. Relax! Check your bait every so often
  8. When you see your flag go up, reel in your catch
  9. Before you leave, clean up your area

Patrons Oxford Insurance wishes you a successful ice fishing season; we hope there are a lot of flags in your future! For a full list of equipment and instructions, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s website.

Winter Safety Guide


We’re officially in one of the most dreaded winter weather months — February. Historically, this month is infamous for heavy storms, frozen roadways, and the risk of dangerous conditions. In the coming days we know it is likely that temperatures will drop drastically. As you prepare for the cold, brush up on these safety tips.

Staying Warm and Avoiding Frostbite

  • Dress warmly in several layers of clothing—wear boots, gloves, or mittens and a hat when going outside.
  • Limit time outside for infants as they lose heat quickly.
  • Make sure to protect your pets and ensure they are not exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Use the “buddy system” to monitor your physical reaction to the cold if you are going to be outdoors for an extended period of time.

Preparing your home

  • During extreme cold weather to prevent spot freezes in your house, thermostats should be turned up to at least 65 degrees.   The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves.  A temperature lower than 65 degrees might not keep the pipes inside the walls from freezing. Feel your baseboards to see if they are warm, if they are, they are working properly.
  • The use of woodstoves or pellet stoves which heat in one area of the home could cause spot freezes in other sections of your house during extreme cold weather.  It is best that you use your central heating system during this extreme cold weather.
  • Make sure you CO2 detectors have fresh batteries.
  • Sealing any drafts is the first step to keeping the inside of your home warm and the cold weather out. Doors and windows can leak heat 24/7, but weather-stripping will give you an added layer of protection.
  • Ensure all windows, storm windows and doors are closed; add insulation to prevent drafts.
  • Open cabinets and doors under sinks or where plumbing exists.
  • Turn off water to outside faucets and spickets, and open valves to let them drain. Allow hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath to drip or single control faucet in the middle. Know the location of your water shut off valve for your home. If a pipe freeze does occur, call a plumber, and keep the faucet open when thawing to allow water to flow. If a plumber is not available, gradually warm the pipe to restore flow.
  • Make sure your fireplace, chimney, and furnace are all working properly in order to keep your home safe while heating it.
  • Close your fireplace flue when you are not using it.
  • Check current oil level, order fuel if necessary.
  • Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold), especially under house, with foam insulation.
  • Clean your gutters to avoid ice forming in them. Keep a roof rake on hand and clear excessive snow from the roof to prevent ice dams and avoid collapse if excessive amounts of snow fall.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans to help distribute heat through the house.
  • If a generator is used as backup, confirm it is operational and fuel is secured and stored properly.
  • Check on your elderly neighbors.
  • Check on any secondary or rental exposures to utilize the same loss prevention techniques as noted above.
  • Have some important essentials in your home as a Winter Preparedness Kit in the case that you may need them:
    • Flashlights and batteries
    • Battery operated radio
    • Bottled water
    • Medications and first aid kit
    • Blankets, warm clothes, and heating alternatives
    • Non-perishable foods.

Preparing your vehicle

  • If you can, fill up your gas tank.
  • Make sure you have the proper tires for icy conditions.
  • Having some important essentials in your car as well is also key:
    • Jumper Cables
    • Flashlight
    • First Aid Kit
    • Shovel
    • Ice Scraper
    • Warm Clothes
    • Hand Warmers
    • Blankets

Preparing your business

  • Freezing temperatures could force businesses to close down for several days. Investing in generators can help to ensure businesses will have constant power.
  • The ability to make arrangements to allow employees to work from home can help keep businesses operating if commuting becomes unsafe. If your employees still have to drive, remind them to take additional caution due to the winter weather. Drive slowly, give extra time to stop and change direction, bridges can be icy when other road surfaces are not, do not use cruise control during slippery conditions.
  • It is always helpful to ensure that there is adequate business coverage, including loss of business income, to help in the case of these events.
  • Here are some additional important things to note on winter preparation for your business:
    • Ensure the thermostat is set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit in all areas to keep pipes from freezing.
    • Turn off water to outside faucets and spickets, and open valves to let them drain. Allow hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath to drip or single control faucet in the middle. Know the location of your water shut off valve for your home. If a pipe freeze does occur, call a plumber, and keep the faucet open when thawing to allow water to flow. If a plumber is not available, gradually warm the pipe to restore flow.
    • Open cabinets and doors under sinks or where plumbing exists.
    • Review winter storm contingencies and have alternative power options like generators.
    • Set expectation with employees and keep them informed.
    • If you are a landlord, you may want to send the information regarding preparing your home to tenants to keep them and the property safe as well.
    • Follow weather updates.
    • Add ice melt to sidewalks and periodically clear them to keep up with snow accumulation.
    • Add non-slip mats and fans for water removal by building entrances.
    • Hire a snow/ice removal service.
    • Repair any defects in sidewalks and walkways.
    • Inspect building insulation.
    • Add new tires to the business auto fleet.
    • Stay up to date on vehicle maintenance.
    • Maintain the roof of your building.

For all the things you value – if you have a claim, our Patrons Oxford claims specialists will be here for you.

International Snowmobile Safety Week is Here

Person on a snow scooter

Are you one of the estimated 53,000 US residents who purchased a snowmobile this year? You’re in good company! With over 1.3 million registered snowmobiles in the country, this pastime is growing in popularity every year!

With popularity comes a greater responsibility for safety on your rides. That’s what International Snowmobile Safety Week is all about! This year, January 21st– 28th, we at Patrons Oxford Insurance would like to remind our agents and policyholders of the obligation snowmobile riders have in keeping our trails safe for all.

Some tips to keep in mind when hitting the trails:

  • Don’t drink alcohol and ride
  • Keep your machine in working order
  • Never ride alone
  • Come to a complete stop before crossing roads/trails
  • Remember the basic hand signals for making stops and turns
  • Dress appropriately
  • Stay on marked trails only
  • Be aware of darkness, water/ice, and your surroundings in general.
  • Follow all state rules/regulations

To see these and other snowmobile tips, visit the International Snowmobile Manufactures Association website.

Patrons Oxford Insurance values the safety of our agents and policyholders alike. Take care this riding season!

Halloween Safety Tips

The leaves are changing and temperatures are dropping, which can only mean one thing — fall is officially here! And while your children may be filled with excitement as they count down the days to Halloween, we understand that as parents, this holiday can be a bit more stressful than fun. According to a national survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, 77% of parents have Halloween-related fears, from pedestrian injuries to eating unsafe Halloween treats. ,We want to help you make this holiday safe and fun for everyone, which is why we’ve put together this guide full of tips to get you through costume planning and decorating to a night of trick-or-treating.


Costumes are a big part of Halloween, but before you and your child decide on the superhero or lion outfit, here are some things to consider:

  • How visible is your child when they are in their costume? Will motorists be able to see them and will you be able to quickly identify them in a crowd?
  • Is the costume obstructing your child’s vision in any way?
  • Is the material flame-retardant?
  • Does it fit well or does it create a risk for trips and falls?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions when helping your child pick out their costume. Costumes that are bright and visible to motorists, flame-retardant, and are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement can all help your little one have a safe Halloween.

In addition to these safety precautions, if your child’s costume comes with accessories, you’ll want to make sure those accessories are all flame-resistant as well. If a sword or cane is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long, as they may be easily hurt by these if they were to trip and fall. It is also recommended to avoid costumes with masks as they limit or block eyesight. Safer alternatives include non-toxic makeup or decorative hats.


When going on the neighborhood rounds, a parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children. If your children are old enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision, they should stick to a familiar route in a well-lit area. But whether you’ll be accompanying your child or they’ll be going door-to-door with their friends, safety should always be the top priority. Here are some reminders to discuss with your trick-or-treaters:

  • Travel in groups and communicate a plan of where you’ll be going.
  • Always use the sidewalk if available.
  • Only go to homes with lights on and never enter a home or car.
  • Don’t cut across yards.
  • Cross the street at intersections using crosswalks.
  • Be mindful of cars.

Food Safety

After a successful night of trick-or-treating, children return home with bags filled with candy and treats. Although tampering with treats is rare, a responsible adult should go through all treats and dispose of any unwrapped, spoiled, or suspicious treats. It’s also recommended to steer clear of any home-made goodies as you don’t know what ingredients they could contain. If your child has food allergies, be sure to read the ingredients labels of all treats. Often times, fun-sized or miniature versions of candy bars contain different ingredients. If you are passing out treats, it’s also a good idea to have alternative options for children with allergies as candy often contains common allergens such as peanuts, milk, soy, or wheat.

Pumpkin Carving

A big part of getting into the Halloween spirit is carving silly or scary faces into a big, round pumpkin. But before getting messy, brush up on these important reminders to keep your little ones safe:

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick to illuminate your pumpkin.
  • Never leave a lit pumpkin unattended.

Small children can easily hurt themselves when handling sharp carving tools. It is best if they participate by drawing the design and having the parents do the carving. Another alternative is decorating the pumpkin with paint and other craft materials. When it comes to illuminating your masterpiece, consider flameless candles or glow sticks for a more fire safe alternative. If you choose to use a candle, a votive candle is the safest — just make sure you never leave your lit Jack O’Lantern unattended. You’ll also want to place your pumpkin on a sturdy surface away from flammable objects.

Halloween is a time filled with dressing up, eating treats, and making memories.  We want the holiday to remain that way and hope these tips help you make Halloween memorable for all the right reasons!

We hope these safety tips help keep you and your family safe this Halloween season. To learn more about our products & services or to find a local agent near you, please visit our website: https://patrons.com/index.htm? 

Guide to Water Safety

Being a coastal state, swimming is one of the top summer activities to do here in Maine. From the ocean to lakes, rivers, and pools, taking a dip is an easy way to beat the heat and stay cool. However, like many outdoor activities, it also poses a lot of risks if you don’t remain alert and take precautions. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are 3,536 unintentional drownings per year in the United States. Water-related accidents are the second leading cause of injury or death for children between 1-14 years old and the fifth leading cause for individuals of all ages.

Here are some of the best ways to keep you and your loved ones safe.

General Water Safety

Swim lessons: The first step in water safety is to enroll children in swimming lessons early on. Drowning risk can decrease as much as 88% for children 1-4 years old if they have taken swimming lessons. Even adults can benefit from a swim lesson refresher if it’s been a while since they’ve been in a body of water.

Learn CPR: The Red Cross offers CPR classes across the country, and being certified could end up being the difference between life or death in the event of an accident. Parents and kids should learn the basics of CPR and know the proper procedure to help build confidence and the skills needed in a life-saving situation.

Supervise children: If they’re in your backyard pool, at a public pool, in a lake or at the beach, children should always be supervised. Even if there is a lifeguard on duty, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your kids and know where they are at all times. If you have to step away, even for a second, instruct kids to get out of the water or designate a responsible adult to supervise them until you return.

Never swim alone: Even for experienced swimmers, it’s recommended that you never swim alone. In the event of an emergency such as exhausted muscles or accidental injury, having someone else with you who can help you or call for help if needed may help save your life.

Avoid alcohol: Alcohol can impair your ability to swim properly and can also inhibit your response time in the event that something happens to someone you’re supervising. Avoiding alcohol will help reduce impaired judgment and balance and keep your mind alert for any potential issues.

Swimming Pool Safety

Install proper barriers: All pools should be protected with a four-foot or taller fence that has a self-closing and latching gate. Safety alarms that will alert you if someone or something falls through the surface of the water should also be considered if your home opens directly to a pool area. You can also consider using a pool cover when your pool is not in use as an added layer of protection.

Empty portable pools if not in use: Children can drown in as little as two inches of water. If you have a portable or inflatable pool to cool off on hot, humid days, be sure to drain the water when not in use and when there is no supervision.

Keep kid’s toys out of the pool when not in use: Toys can often draw children into the pool, even if they’re simply trying to reach them. Store them out of sight when you are not actively using your pool to help avoid any temptation.

Have lifesaving equipment handy: Life jackets, life-rings and poles can all be used to help reach anyone who might be struggling to swim. From kids to adults, anything can happen, and having these kinds of resources in close reach can help prevent a tragedy.

Follow pool rules: The rules at public pools are implemented for a reason. Follow common rules such as no running, no diving and no horseplay to help avoid an accident. Also, consider implementing pool rules at your own home for your children, such as never swimming alone.

River, Lake and Ocean Safety

Swim in view of lifeguards: According to The United States Lifesaving Association, a person’s chance of drowning at a beach protected by trained lifeguards is less than 1 in 18 million per year. If a lifeguard can’t see you, then they also can’t save you. Staying within their view can save your life. They will also be able to alert you to any potential hazards in the water that you should avoid.

Check conditions before you go in: Check conditions before you enter the water. Many public beaches, for example, use a flag system to indicate potential hazards. If these indicate that water conditions are unsafe, heed these warnings and stay out of the water. You can also check with the lifeguard on duty to ensure conditions are safe for swimming.

Only swim in designated areas: Bodies of water are often marked by ropes or buoys to help keep swimmers within safe areas. Oftentimes, these dividers keep swimmers away from areas with rocks, strong currents, weeds and other hazards that may be difficult to see from the shore.

Know your limits: Open water swimming can be much more taxing on the body than swimming in a pool. The water is colder, currents are stronger and conditions can change quickly. Even the strongest swimmers can tire quicker, so it’s important to know your limits.

Having knowledge of safe swimming habits is key when it comes to water safety. Being prepared and educating your children early on about swimming safety will help keep them safe and keep your mind at ease.

We hope these tips help keep you safe all summer long. To learn more about our coverage options or to find an agent near you, please visit our website. https://patrons.com/index.htm? 

Preventing Common Winter Home Hazards

Now that winter is in full swing, we want to remind you of some of the risks that come with the season. In addition to outdoor hazards and snowstorms, spending more time at home over the next couple of months can also increase your risk of an accident.

Fortunately, there are some quick fixes you can do and a few maintenance check-ins to help reduce your risk of experiencing a problem in the coming months. Here are some common winter hazards and how to avoid them.


Inside and outside your home, falls can lead to a hospital visit and/or expensive legal fees if you’re hit with a lawsuit. Wet surfaces, uneven staircases, and items left on the floor can all lead to a broken bone or head injury. To help reduce your risk, make sure to do the following:

  • Secure staircases — This includes installing solid handrails, fixing loose boards, having adequate lighting at night, and keeping salt or sand on hand in the event of snowstorms. If you have small children, you should also have safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Keep hallways and walkways clean — Always clean up toys and items left on the floor in the way of foot traffic. In the winter, be especially careful to shovel walkways and salt any icy patches.
  • Cover surfaces prone to pooling water  — If you frequently track water inside from your shoes, make sure to have a mat in front of the door to avoid slipping.


According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 379,600 residential fires in the United States per year. Many of these fires could have been prevented through safe practices and preparedness. Take these steps to help reduce your risk of loss or injury from a fire:

  • Install fire alarms on all levels of your home.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen and any room with a fireplace.
  • Blow out all candles before you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Unplug appliances you’re not using.
  • Turn off holiday lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.
  • Have your fireplace cleaned before using it for the winter and only run it if you’re in the room.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable objects and never leave them running unattended.

Along the same lines as fire prevention, you should also be mindful of carbon monoxide risks in the winter. Even low exposure can result in headaches and dizziness. It’s virtually undetectable by sight or smell so having a working carbon monoxide detector is your best solution to keeping your family safe.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are one of the most common problems homeowners face in the winter and can also be one of the most costly. Before the frigid temps hit, be sure to:

  • Drain and remove outdoor hoses.
  • Insulate areas in direct contact with attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Identify areas of your home that have exposed water pipes.
  • Make sure your thermostat doesn’t dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Have someone look in on your house if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time.

You can learn more about how to prevent and treat frozen pipes here.

Ice Dams

Not only is ice a hazard on your walkways, it also puts you at risk for ice dams. These will damage the interior of your home and cause major water damage in your attic and on your ceilings. A few things you can do to help reduce your risk is to make sure your gutters are cleaned before the first snowfall and install roof heating cables if your home is prone to ice dams.

Guide To Water Loss Prevention

Nor’easters, floods, and burst pipes are likely what come to mind when you think of water loss and damage to your home. However, there are a number of other factors that can result in costly insurance claims. Even on the most beautiful, summer day, a leaky faucet or overflowing dishwasher can wreak havoc on your home and cause water loss invisible to the eye. According to the Environmental Protection Association, American households have an average of 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, with 10% of them losing at least 90 gallons per day. To help you stay ahead of any potential damage and limit your risk, our team at Patrons Oxford has put together a home guide to water loss prevention. 

Common Risk Factors

Aside from weather-related water damage and loss, here are a few culprits that could be detrimental to your home:

  • Water heater — Without regular maintenance and repair, rusting can lead to deterioration, ultimately causing leaks. 
  • Dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators — Each of these appliances have one or more hoses that can come loose or leak. If this happens, you can experience a slow leak that you won’t notice until too much damage has already been done. 
  • Leaky faucets — While a leaking faucet may not cause major damage, it can often go unnoticed for long periods of time leading to significant water loss. 

How to prevent water loss and damage

The best way to protect your home is to know exactly where your risks lie and take the necessary precautions to prevent them. In fact, water loss is considered one of the most preventable large loss peril according to LexisNexis. Here are a few low-cost ways to do just that:

  • Know where your main water shutoffs are located and install water shutoff valves on water lines under sinks and toilets and water lines leading to outside faucets.
  • Repair small leaks around water heaters, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances before they become a problem.
  • Understand and follow the recommended maintenance procedures for your appliances, such as periodically draining the water heater. If needed, have a professional come to inspect your appliances thoroughly.
  • Check dishwasher and washing machine hoses for signs of deterioration and replace hoses that show any evidence of cracking.
  • Before you leave home for an extended period of time, remember to shut off the water valve to any strong flowing sources.
  • Run plenty of water when using your garbage disposal so it won’t clog and cause a leak or a crack.
  • When a problem does occur, hire a reputable contractor who will appropriately repair the damage.
  • Never leave the room after you’ve turned a water source, especially a bathtub or sink.

In addition to these low-cost preventative measures, new technology also offers a number of ways to identify and prevent water loss throughout your home. Thanks to advances in smart home technology, automatic shut-offs and alarms can alert you to a leak before it becomes a problem. Data has shown a strong correlation between households that have installed leak detection and shutoff devices and reduced water leak claim frequency and severity. While technology such as this is being developed more and more every day, studies have shown that they seem to be with the investment.

We hope this guide to water loss prevention helps keep your home insurance claims at bay. Visit our website to find an agent near you who is ready to answer all your insurance questions. https://patrons.com/find-agent.htm