Prevent clothes dryer fires

Check frequently for build-up of lint in or around your dryer.  Also take a look around the area where your dryer exhaust exits your house, and see if there is lint on the ground or in shrubs or on the wall. Lint build-ups are a major cause of home fires.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics indicate that in 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage.  The number one cause of these fires was “failure to clean.”

For valuable dryer safety tips visit www.nfpa.org.

How do you know if your pipes are freezing?

If you notice a reduction in water pressure, your pipes may be beginning to freeze. Turn the water on and leave it on. This may dislodge any ice and prevent a disastrous freeze-up, pipe bursts, and costly repairs. Remembering what last winter was like, and with possible cold snaps ahead, now is a good time to review some basic freeze-up prevention tips.

  • Know where your water shut-off valve is located and make sure everyone  can turn off the water if necessary.
  • Wrap both hot and cold water pipes with insulation. If there is an electrical outlet close by, hardware stores also sell a heated tape wrap for pipes.
  • Disconnect and remove hoses from outside faucets. Wrap faucets with insulating material. If there is an inside shut off to this faucet, turn it off.
  • On very cold nights, leave a small stream of water running.  Use room heat by opening cabinet doors to expose pipes located inside to warm room air.

Recent changes to MA Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP)

The SDIP changes reflects a more realistic view of what it costs to repair vehicles today.  Formerly, the threshold for a “minor” accident was defined as $500 damage paid by the insurance company.   As of July 1, 2015, this threshold was increased to $1000 for policies that renewed after that date..  If there is less than $1000 in damages paid, there is no surcharge.  On the other end, the threshold for a major accident was increased from $2000 to $5000 in paid damage claims.

If you are involved in an accident and found to be at fault, you will be charged SDIP points based on the damage payment made. In addition, if you are pulled over and given a citation, you will also be given SDIP points which may result in a surcharge.  (The complete list of minor and major violations can be found at the RMV site.) You can however request a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate at the district court where the incident occurred.  If your appeal is granted, there will be no surcharge. The back of the citation contains instructions on appeals. So does the RMV website.

Mass RMV encourages online transactions

Why stand in line at the Registry, when you can go online instead? You can transact some renewals online, right from your home! The Massachusetts RMV Web site not only offers helpful information but also makes available a wide range of online transactions 24/7.

Residents of New Hampshire can also perform some transactions online.   Go to: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/.