The average water damage insurance claim is $6,965, outranking damage-related expenses from both fire and burglary. A whopping 37% of homeowners have suffered losses due to water damage at least one time in their lives.
Common plumbing mishaps are usually to blame for water damage. A busted pipe, a leaky faucet, old fixtures or a bad roof. They are all contributing factors. Most people don’t realize that there are some pretty simple failsafes that can help prevent water damage from occurring in the first place.
Tips to Avoid Water Damage
Water damage prevention is far less costly than paying for repairs after the fact. Here are several things homeowners can do to be proactive and protect their possessions, appliances and interiors from water damage. For instance, if your refrigerator is leaking and the water is pooling underneath it, you may not notice it for some time. This kind of ‘slow leak’ can cause serious damage to your floors and result in wood rot, mold and structural issues.
- Know Where Your Water Main Is – Knowing how to shut off the water to your home can be useful knowledge. If you are planning on going out of town for an extended period of time, or the home isn’t currently being lived in, shutting off your water main is a surefire way to prevent possible leaks and water damage.
- Check Your Appliances – Appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and air conditioners may start to leak over time without you even knowing. Check the tray underneath your A/C for any standing water. For refrigerators and dishwashers, make sure all filters and hoses running to it are fastened properly and in good condition.
- Repair Leaks Right Away – Don’t sleep on a slow leak. Most homeowners don’t take minor leaks seriously. Remember, a small leak can lead to big problems. Your toilet running or your kitchen faucet dripping are all reasons for concern. Hiring a professional plumber to come inspect and repair any possible leaks can be the best offense to prevent future water damage.
- Monitor Your Water Bill – Your water bill is a great indicator of whether you have a leak in your home or not. Any significant deviations in your water bill can be a red flag. Closely monitoring your utility bill can be your best bet in finding out if there is a problem. It will signal to you to check around your home for any potential ‘mystery’ leaks.
- Smart Home Leak Detectors – Most professional plumbers offer home leak detector installation. Smart home technologies have made it easier than ever before to find a leak before it worsens. Ask your plumber for information about home leak detectors.
Water Damage Prevention Tips for the Outside of Your Home
Maintaining the outside of your home is just as important when trying to prevent future water damage. Continual upkeep of the exterior of your home can be a major plus, and takes little effort and money in comparison to the pricey repairs that come with extensive water damage.
- Clean Out Your Gutters and Downspouts – Cleaning out your gutter 2-3 times a year is recommended. The accumulation of standing water can lead to roof damage, which paves the way for leaks, mold and rot. Downspouts are just as important as the gutters themselves. When leaves and debris get trapped in the downspout it inhibits rainwater from properly draining. Make sure that you adjust any faulty downspouts so that they are secured and direct water away from your home.
- Maintain Trees and Overgrowth – Trees and landscaping are always a welcomed sight to the exterior of any home. But when shrubs and trees grow out-of-control, or grow too close to your property, it can create real problems. Removing overgrown trees can save you a lot of money in the long run. Roots are a common nuisance. They can wrap around pipes and sewer lines, creating significant damage. And if you have the luxury, plan any new landscaping to be planted away from utility pipes or where there is exposed plumbing.
- Roof Repair – Keeping your roof in good condition is super important. Rolled up shingles and tiny cracks are inevitable when you consider seasonal bad weather. Be sure to routinely check your roof to see that there isn’t standing water, and repair any shingles that appear to be faulty.