Shutters and window coverings

Updated: Thursday, September 01, 2016 @ 8:18 AM
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 @ 4:12 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Shutters and window coverings

Shutters require regular maintenance

Do a trial run now to make sure your shutter system is functioning properly.

If you have removable panels, get them out to see if any are missing or bent.

Make sure you have enough mounting fasteners. If not, hardware stores often carry extras. Make sure mounting tracks are clean and debris-free.

Apply some light machine oil to lubricate parts and deter rust.

Permanently applied shutter systems, such as roll-up, Bahama or accordion shutters should be serviced yearly (twice yearly, if you live on the beach) by a professional, especially if the system is motorized. If rollers are accessible, they can be sprayed with aerosol “white grease,” according to Bill Feeley, president of the International
Hurricane Protection Association. All motors should be professionally serviced.

Owners of newly built homes with shutter systems should make sure their builder demonstrates how to use the system and that all parts are provided before moving in. Missing or wrong-sized components are common, according to Feeley. “The homeowner assumes they fit and then when the storm is bearing down, they find out they don’t,” he said.

— Barbara Marshall

Contact numbers

International Hurricane Protection Association: (844)516-4472, www.inthpa.com

American Shutter Systems Association: 800-432-2204, www.amshutter.org

 

Least expensive option: Plywood

Shutter orders and backlogs rise near the height of storm season. So the time to choose your coverings, if you haven’t already, is now. The least expensive option is plywood.

Plywood does not meet Florida Building Code specifications unless it’s installed according to code.

To ensure code compliance, you’ll need a permit from your local building department.

However, if a storm is close and survival is the goal, follow instructions in the accompanying graphic for correct installation.

Grills are convenient, but can be dangerous

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 2:02 PM
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 @ 10:35 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

When the power goes out, you may be cooking on a charcoal, propane or natural gas grill, or a hibachi.

Never leave grill unattended. Keep children away! Don’t grill near leaves, wood or other flammable objects.

CHARCOAL GRILLS

Safety first! Grills can kill. Charcoal emits carbon monoxide. It’s odorless and colorless and deadly. Grills emit it even if the lid is on, and they can emit it even if coals appear completely out. After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, a mother in a family of three died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a smoldering grill was left in a kitchen.

Grill food in a well-ventilated area. NEVER bring a grill inside a home, camper or tent. Do NOT grill in a garage, carport or shed.

Douse coals with water, stir and douse again. They are out when they are cool to the touch.

Stock up early. Store in a dry area, away from flame.

PROPANE GRILLS

Fill your propane tanks now! Lines will be long once the storm approaches. If you have a big tank, have it filled regularly during the season. If you use small tanks, have two or even three full ones on hand.

When refilling, have supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks. At home, check hoses for leaks, kinks or deterioration.

If tank appears damaged after a storm, don’t use it.

Keep propane tanks outside the home, but secure them so they don’t become missiles during the storm.

Use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright position after the storm. Do not store spare tanks close to a hot grill.

Don’t tamper with supply lines or permanent connections.

Keep grill lid open until you’re sure it’s lit.

Always make sure valves and dials are shut tight on both grill and tank. Escaping propane fumes, easy to detect by their strong odor, are deadly to breathe in quantity and can explode. If you smell gas, clear the area and seek help.

Never smoke around propane! 

Atlantic hurricane names

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 11:10 AM
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2016 @ 4:59 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com



When the the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones. In 1979 a six year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances. The names assigned for the period between 2016 and 2020 are shown below.
Names for Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones

20162017201820192020

Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston
Hermine
Ian
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tobias
Virginie
Walter
Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irma
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney
Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sara
Tony
Valerie
William
Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dorian
Erin
Fernand
Gabrielle
Humberto
Imelda
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy
Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gonzalo
Hanna
Isaias
Josephine
Kyle
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paulette
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred

Interactive: Home inspection tips

Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 9:17 PM
Published: Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 4:39 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Updates on Citizens, State Farm

Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 8:57 PM
Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 10:45 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

Citizens

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is a state-created entity that serves as the insurer of last resort for policyholders locked out of the private market.

Changes made by the legislature ended requirements that Citizens charge the highest rates in Florida and also allowed more policyholders to obtain Citizens coverage.

Eligibility requirements for a Citizens policy were changed to allow for people who are unable to find coverage and those who are unable to find affordable coverage to obtain a policy. Citizens has almost 1.1 million policyholders.

In order to buy coverage from Citizens, consumers must either be rejected by other insurers or have a quote for coverage that is more than 15 percent higher than a similar quote for coverage from Citizens.

Citizens policies do not offer the same breadth of comprehensive coverage options as some private insurers. For example, Citizens has limited loss-of-use coverage, the coverage that would pay your living expenses if your house was heavily damaged or declared a total loss and you were forced to live in a hotel or temporary apartment.

Citizens will only pay living expenses of up to 10 percent. Private insurers, in contrast, normally pay up to 20 percent.

Another limitation is that personal property coverage is limited to 50 percent of the value of your home.

If your home is valued at $200,000, you are limited to $100,000 coverage for all your personal belongings. This includes all your furniture, electronics, clothing for your entire family, and all household goods. Private insurers usually offer personal property coverage of up to 70 percent.

Citizens also does not offer optional coverage for artwork, antiques, collectibles and jewelry.

Other caps include limiting liability coverage to $300,000. If a neighbor trips in your house and sues you, the most Citizens would pay is $300,000. Private insurers can offer liability coverage of $1 million or more.

On the Web: www.CitizensFla.com

State Farm

State Farm negotiated a deal in December 2009 that will keep it in the state, but allows the company to drop some clients in high-risk areas such as South Florida.

The plan also allows State Farm — the state’s largest private insurer — to hike its rates by an average of 14.8 percent, although some customers will see larger increases.

About 125,000 households will be dropped by State Farm, which began sending out notifications to those customers in February. Cancellations will start in August, when the rate increases take effect.

The agreement also allows its agents to write policies for other insurance carriers.

It’s likely the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will have to pick up some policies.

State Farm had said it would pull out of Florida completely, leaving 806,000 residents looking for new insurance, after the Office of Insurance Regulation denied a 47 percent rate rise in 2008.

For more help:
  • Rates: www.shopandcomparerates.com
  • Florida Market Assistance Plan: www.fmap.org
    Source: Office of Insurance Regulation