When you and your teen are shopping for a new car, safety should be top priority. The increase in smart technologies in vehicles means there are more ways today to help keep young drivers safe.
The 10 small and midsize cars listed below are top safety picks by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, which Nationwide is proud to be a member group of. These 2017 models earned advanced or superior ratings for front-end crash protection. Looking for a safe first car for your teen? Check these out:
2017 Vehicle model IIHS safety ratingsSafety features
Chevrolet Volt Chevrolet Volt safety features
Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Elantra safety features
Mazda 3 4-door hatchback Mazda 3 4-door hatchback safety features
Subaru Impreza Subaru Impreza safety features
Toyota Corolla Toyota Corolla safety features
Toyota Prius Toyota Prius safety features
Honda Accord Honda Accord safety features
Mazda 6 Mazda 6 safety features
Nissan Altima Nissan Altima safety features
Subaru Legacy Subaru Legacy safety features
Since safety features continue to evolve, we’ll publish our updated list of safest cars for teenage drivers next year. In the meantime, here are 3 ways to save on teen car insurance and 7 tips to make your teen a better driver.
* Above information is accurate as of 3/31/2017 based on 2017 Top Safety Pick+ list from IIHS.
If the Farmer’s Almanac is correct, this winter will be a repeat of last winter – and even more scientific predictors agree. Here are five steps you can take to winterize your roof and help prevent roof damage.
Clean your gutters and downspouts
Before the temperatures drop and snow starts falling, clear out all gutters to allow water to run freely from your roof to your gutters and away from your home. Clogged gutters can result in water backing up into the foundation and can ruin trim on the exterior. Also, make sure the downspout isn’t clogged.
Trim overhanging tree branches
Check for large overhanging tree branches that could get heavy with snowfall and potentially break and fall onto your roof. You will want to have those branches trimmed before the snow starts falling. Low-hanging branches can also scrape your roof and damage shingles.
Inspect your roof
Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak as well as shingles that are curling, lifting or buckling. Inspect your roof for moss or mold, which can lead to early deterioration of shingles. After a severe storm with hail or high winds, it is a good idea to check your roof for damage. You also might consider having your roof inspected for damage by a professional at least once a year.
Consider asking a home-energy auditor to examine your roof for leaks as well as the area of your siding that meets the gutters, to make sure there is no potential damage.
Insulate your attic
If your attic isn’t properly insulated, it can promote the formation of ice dams when there is as little as one to two inches of snow, says Anne Marshall, owner of Marshall Building and Remodeling in Riverside, R.I. When heat rises during the day, your attic will heat up and so will your roof, causing the snow to start to melt, she says. When the temperature drops again, the snow will refreeze, potentially forming an ice dam. “Prevention is the best solution when it comes to an ice dam,” she adds.
If an ice dam does form, the best way to melt it is to fill a nylon stocking with calcium chloride ice melt and place it on top of the ice, says Marshall. Try to position the stocking vertically across the ice, with a bit overhanging the edge of the gutter. Only use calcium chloride, not rock salt, which will damage your roof, but be aware that shrubs and plants below the gutters or near downspouts could be damaged by the calcium chloride.
To better insulate your attic, seal areas where exhaust fans, attic hatches and small holes allow heat to escape from your house and get into the attic. If your attic isn’t already insulated, you can purchase foam insulation and weather stripping at any home improvement store and add those to the plywood or drywall in your attic.
Ventilate your attic
To prevent ice dams, you also need to make sure your attic is well ventilated. This will keep the underside of your roof cold and prevent the snow from melting and refreezing, Marshall says. Proper ventilation will keep the attic temperature closer to the outside temperature to prevent snow on the roof from melting and refreezing at the eaves.
If your attic ventilation is poor, water vapor generated from bathing, cooking and cleaning can reach the cold underside of a roof deck and condense. If this isn’t properly addressed, moisture build-up could damage your roof deck, insulation and drywall.
If a large amount of snow does collect on your roof, it’s a good idea to rake it off. However, Marshall says, you need to be careful because you can scrape off some of the protective mineral surface from the shingles if you rake too hard.
Installing energy-saving technology is a great idea, whether you’re moving into a new place or upgrading your current home.
Different devices and types of technology can increase the comfort of your home and help you save money. They can also help you become more environmentally conscious.
There’s an increasing array of devices and software programs that can help you increase your energy efficiency. Below you’ll find 6 ways that you can use green home technology to help the environment and your wallet.
1. Programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is easy to install, and you can program it to change the temperature at times when you don’t need as much heating or cooling, including when you’re at work, on vacation or asleep. Some thermostats allow you to control them an app on your phone or on your computer, making it easy for you to change the temperature when you’re not home.
2. Smart home automation systems
Smart home systems integrate and can improve various functions. For example, a smart alarm system combined with cameras or sensors that monitor specific areas can keep your home safer by letting you know via your smartphone when someone is there. Smart thermostats can adjust and control temperature automatically Other programs control lighting with similar precision and efficiency. For example, with some of the latest lighting systems, you can turn off lighting by room or area, or create a schedule for when certain lights should switch on or off. That way, even if someone leaves the lights on in one room, they’ll still turn off at a designated time. Some systems control smart appliances, turning on an oven, for instance, so it’s already pre-heated when you get home; turning off a coffee maker you accidentally left on; or closing a garage door at your command.
3. Energy-efficient windows
Energy-efficient windows can decrease your heating and air conditioning costs. Switching from single-pane to double-pane windows requires an initial investment, but the cost savings will add up as you spend less on energy bills. Older windows allow hot or cold air to escape through cracks, and single-paned designs don’t retain heat or cool air as well. If you aren’t ready to upgrade your windows, you can insulate each window, which can cut some of the air leakage.
Window coverings can also help. By keeping windows shaded on hot days, you can cut down on air conditioning usage. On cold days, keep those same window shades open to allow in natural, warm sunlight.
4. Energy-efficient air conditioners
In addition to using an energy-efficient air conditioner (look for one with an Energy Star rating), energy-savings solutions include closing off air conditioning vents in parts of the home you might not be using. That way, you’re not cooling an area that’s sitting empty, which is a great way to save energy during the summer. Also, consider raising the thermostat temperature a few degrees higher from where you normally set it. A new normal for you might mean lower energy bills, and you’ll still be comfortable. If you’re using a window air conditioning unit, be sure there’s a tight fit so air doesn’t escape out the window.
5. LED lights
Controlling your lighting makes your home more comfortable, makes it easier to see and helps you relax. You can do this with automated systems by changing out some your light bulbs. LED lights use less energy and are cooler when running than traditional incandescent lights, and they also last longer. Swapping out light bulbs helps your home go green and can save you money in the long run. Consider installing smart bulbs for even more control over your home lighting; these devices pair with a smartphone app, so you can turn them on or off or switch their color remotely.
6. Energy-saving devices
Home appliances including refrigerators, hot water heaters, dishwashers and clothes dryers consume a lot of energy. Consider purchasing energy-efficient appliances with Energy Star ratings if you’re in the market for new appliances or are looking to upgrade. Their energy-saving technology is an easy way to reduce your energy usage.
Are you on a roll with saving energy around your home? Keep up the momentum.
Ice dams may appear harmless – and may even look pretty – but they can cause damage to your home. Read on to learn how to remove ice dams and how to prevent them from forming in the first place.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, typically at the gutters or soffit, and prevents melting snow from draining off.
What causes ice dams?
For an ice dam to form, 3 things must be present:
Poor ventilation and temperature control in the attic can also cause ice dams. Excessive warm air in the attic can cause the snow on the roof to melt regardless of the temperature outside. Recessed lighting, skylights, complex roof designs and heating ducts in the attic can all increase the chances of an ice dam developing.
Do icicles mean that you have an ice dam?
In short, no. It’s common for small icicles to form; the larger, thicker icicles are the culprits. When you notice the larger icicles, it’s important to act fast in order to prevent damage.
What are the signs that you have an ice dam?
These are the most common, according to the Ice Dam Company:
What can ice dams damage?
If not addressed early, ice dam damage can be significant. Here’s how:
How to prevent ice dams:
Properly winterizing your roof is the best way to prevent ice dams. Consider these precautions.
How to remove ice dams:
If an ice dam has formed, here are immediate steps you can take to help prevent further damage.
If your home is prone to ice dams, it may be time to consider a new roof.
SPI Reflections Blog
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