4 Green Home Improvement Projects that Will Save you Money

You know the old sayings about money going out the window or prices being through the roof? There is some truth to these statements when it comes to home and energy use.

The good news is there are ways to improve your home's ability to hold onto cash - and do something good for the environment! Below are some green home improvement projects that can make a measurable difference in the state of your home's financial picture. Perhaps 2017 is the year to tackle one (or more) of them!

  1. DO AN ENERGY AUDIT. In order to know where you stand with your energy usage, it's always a good idea to start with an energy audit. In one simple home visit, an energy professional can quickly determine the areas in your home where you could improve your energy ratings. Armed with this knowledge, you'll know just which projects to tackle first.
  2. UPDATE YOUR WINDOWS. The first place to look to find long-term home energy savings is your windows. How old are yours? What shape are they in? Do they feel drafty in the winter? Are they single or double pane? While there is certainly an initial investment to upgrade older windows to today's energy-efficient versions, the payoff in the long run makes this home improvement project well worth the cost.
  3. INVEST IN SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY. The ability to efficiently control the temperature in your home can set the tone for both energy and financial savings. Look down below to see a few technologies worth considering.
  4. CONSIDER AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT ROOF AND/OR SOLAR PANELS. A roof in disrepair can lead to energy leaks and high utility costs. Make sure yours is in good shape. If it sustained damage from a recent storm or is starting to show signs of aging, consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient surface such as a metal roof. A metal roof can reflect sunlight so that it isn't absorbed into your home, which helps reduce overall cooling costs. This large area over your home can also generate energy with the installation of solar panels. By harnessing the power of natural resources, you will reap additional savings.

Keep in mind that savings on energy use will come with time. What you invest today to create a more energy-efficient home will soon show up as extra money in your pocket.


Technologies Worth Investing In:

  • Smart thermostats can be used to adjust your heating and cooling units to run only when you are actually home.
  • Water Sense labeled fixtures will reduce water use and your water bill.
  • Energy Star appliances use modern technology to reduce energy use by as much as 50 percent.
  • While not a smart home technology, most advanced and efficient spray foam insulation will prevent energy from escaping your house.

Today's insurance tips and ideas brought to you by ERIE Insurance.

Avoid Electric Shock After an Accident

Car accidents are scary. And they can be even scarier if they involve a utility pole that is charged with electricity! Reduce the risk of shock after a vehicle-utility pole crash with these safety rules:

  • If you have hit a pole, stay inside the vehicle and call 911 from your cell phone or yell for help.
  • Never leave the vehicle until a utility line crew arrives to de-energize the line and tell you when it is safe. Keep any passengers inside the car, too!
  • In the rare case of a fire, jump out of the vehicle as far as possible and land with both feet on the ground. Then, shuffle or hop away keeping both feet touching the ground simultaneously.
  • Never touch any downed pole or wire. Always assume energized electricity is running through them.
  • Stay clear from all areas near any downed poles and/or wires - including the ground, a car, tree or rooftop.
  • If you witness a pole accident, or need to repot a downed wire, call your local electric company as soon as possible!

Safety rules provided by Pepco, a PHI Company providing electric service in Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland.

Work Zone Driving Safety Tips for Motorists

Across the nation, nearly 1,100 people die and more than 40,000 people are injured each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes in work zones, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). SHA offers these tips for driving safely in work zones:

  1. Slow down. Speeding and aggressive driving are major contributors to work zone crashes.
  2. Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits are often reduced, traffic lanes are often changed, and people are often working on or near the road.
  3. Don't tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you (use the 3-second following rule). The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision.
  4. Obey road crew flaggers. The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely through the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.
  5. Keep a safe distance between you and the construction workers and their equipment.
  6. Pay attention to the signs. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you've left the work zone.
  7. Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway, avoid changing radio stations, and do not use your cell phone while driving.
  8. Schedule enough time to drive safely to and from your destination. Check radio, TV or online for traffic information before you leave. Expect delays when road-work is ongoing, and leave early so you can reach your destination safely and on time.
  9. Keep up with the flow of traffic. Motorists can help maintain the traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Don't drive right up to the lane closure and then try to cut in line.
  10. Be patient and stay calm. Work zones aren't in place to inconvenience you. Remember that the work zone crews are working to improve road conditions for you and make your future drive time safer and easier.

For more information on work zone safety, go to: http://www.safezones.maryland.gov/workzonesafety.html or http://www.marylandroads.com/OC/Workzone.pdf


Today's safe driving tips brought to you by Chesapeake Employers Insurance.

5 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather!

Cold weather can mean an increase in heating bills for your family. And if you aren't careful - some of them can reach to be $500 a month or more! Majority of families have not budgeted for this and it can create a serious financial strain during the colder months. With a few easy steps, you can help prevent it!

Identify and Seal Leaks

This is very important during the warmer months as well. If your home is leaking too much air, it is going to take more power to both heat and cool it. To find out where you have leaks, run your hand along windowsills, door mantles and baseboards throughout your home. Be sure to double-check around cabinets and closets, since they may be a big source of leakage that we commonly miss. If you feel a difference in the temperature around these areas, it is a leak. Seal up the cracks to help keep air inside, or outside depending on which way you look at it!

Check Your Window Panes

Ideally, your home should have double-paned windows, but some homes still use single pane. If this is the case with your home, the window glass itself is going to radiate cold. To prevent this from leaching cold into a home you're trying to heat, cover the window with Visqueen plastic to create a second layer to block the airflow. Visqueen can be found on Amazon and at around $13 a roll, is much more budget friendly than a high heating bill!

Check the Furnace Itself

Before cold weather kicks in, double check that your furnace is working correctly. If not, we recommend you get it fixed before you need it. Emergency services are always more costly than a regular service call. Make sure that the fans, blower and that the filter is brand new. A dusty filter can cause your furnace not to heat properly!

Check the Insulation

If your home is poorly insulated, no amount of sealing is going to be effective. Check the attic of your home to be sure that the insulation isn't too outdated to be effective, and that the covering is thick enough to do the job.

Pick Up a Couple of Electric Heaters

This may seem counterintuitive. but picking up a couple of ceramic space heaters can actually help in lowering your heating bills. The amount of power they use to generate heat is often far less than you would use if you turned your furnace up. They are especially handy if you are the type of person who likes to be warmer than others in your home. Mobile heaters allow you to heat up the room you are in without heating the entire house! They will help you save money over several winters so they are absolutely a great investment.


These five steps to prepare your home for cold weather should be done while it is still comfortable enough outside. If you wait until it becomes too chilly, you might be too late (although - better late than never) to cut costs all season!


Today's insurance tips and ideas brought to you by ERIE Insurance.

Five Ways to Stay Safer on the Road

In addition to avoiding the most common driving distractions, take extra precautions to avoid cell phone distractions:

  • Let it roll. Incoming calls to voice mail, that is.
  • Do it later. If someone calls you while they’re driving, ask them to call you back later and hang up.
  • Pull over. If you must talk or text, pull off the road first.
  • Lead by example. If you want your children to drive safely, show them how it’s done. A Consumer Reports survey found that almost half (48 percent) of young drivers had seen their mom or dad talking on a cell phone while driving, and 15 percent saw their parents texting.
  • Know your state’s driving laws. Several states have banned texting while driving. Distraction.gov lists the laws for individual states.

Today's insurance tips and ideas brought to you by ERIE Insurance.