Water, where it does not belong, can generate extensive damage to your home, destroying flooring, furnishings, and personal belongings. It can even make your home uninhabitable from mold or by compromising structural integrity.
Fortunately, services are available to help you recover from such damage, but your best defense is to avoid water damage altogether by following some simple tips that protect you from what can become a stressful incident.
Preventing Water Damage
Water can damage your home in two entirely different ways – from outside, or inside. As a homeowner, you may address one of these sources of damage, but could be overlooking other important potential hazards.
Tips to Prevent Water Damage Outside
Paying close attention to your home’s exterior is critical to keeping “outside” water where it belongs.
1. Serious water damage can occur when gutters and downspouts become clogged with leaves or other debris. Rain and ice can accumulate and force water upward, under shingles and into soffits. Then, water will follow gravity, flowing down walls and into living spaces. Be sure gutters are kept clean so that water flows freely and harmlessly through downspouts.
2. Water that is allowed to accumulate around foundations can result in seepage into crawl spaces and basements, damaging foundations and furnishings. Downspouts should be directed several feet away from the foundation to encourage proper drainage.
3. Homeowners who live in colder climates should always disconnect outdoor hoses when cold weather approaches. Hoses that freeze can burst the faucets they’re connected to, creating water flow that can damage the surrounding foundation, floors, and walls.
Precautions to Prevent Water Damage Inside
Making your home safe from internal water damage is just as important as keeping water out.
1. Many homes are equipped with sump pumps to drain excess water safely away. If you have a sump pump, be certain to:
- Equip the sump pump with a water pressure backup system or battery backup to prevent flooding during power outages.
- Spring or other periods of storms see higher levels of insurance claims from water damage, including incidents of sump pump backups or failures. Test the pump periodically to make sure it’s working properly, especially during periods of heavy rain. Testing is a simple process. Simply raise the level of the water in the sump pit to where the float should engage the pump. Also test the backup system by disconnecting the primary power, to make sure it is also functioning normally.
- It’s important to note that many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage caused by sump pump backups unless an extra rider or premium is purchased. Make sure you have the coverage you need if your home relies on this device to keep your basement dry.
2. Check and replace appliance hoses – and all water supply connections. Reinforced hoses for washing machines are an inexpensive preventive investment. Washing machines are a major source of water damage. Spend a few extra dollars for quality hoses and check them often. Replace any damaged or deteriorating hoses promptly.
3. Toilet water supplies are another common source of water damage. Replace older rigid connections with metal-reinforced hoses that can flex with repeated use.
4. Turn off water to your home when leaving for any length of time. This is the safest way to protect yourself from water damage from within the home. Know where your main water supply enters the home, and how to shut it off completely. Set your water heater to vacation mode, so that you will not be reheating the same water repeatedly while you are away.
What Else Can You Do to Prevent Water Damage?
There are many other precautions to keep water from damaging your home:
- Be aware of leaks or signs of water seepage – minor spots on a ceiling indicate water is getting in where it doesn’t belong. It could mean a leaking pipe in a wall or between floors, or something as simple as caulking or sealing needed around a chimney, roof ventilation flashing, or plumbing roof vent.
- Check for water spots under sinks and around appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators equipped with icemaker lines. Slow leaks can become serious problems without warning.
- Store cherished possessions in waterproof containers, to avoid loss from water damage (take that advice from one who has learned the hard way).
When the Worst Happens
No homeowner can predict and prevent every possible cause of water damage, and there are natural circumstances that are beyond your control. In such incidents, you need the services of experts who are:
- Available – fast response is critical to preventing further damage, including the growth of hazardous molds
- Experienced – services that specialize in water damage and understand what is needed for immediate cleanup and total restoration
- Sympathetic – having been through a considerable issue with water damage personally, this writer can attest to how the positive attitude and empathy from service professionals made the restoration process at least a little less traumatic
- Thorough – you may not even realize the extent of the damage, but professionals can identify damage that may not be visible to the untrained eye
- Certified – make sure your restoration contractors are appropriately certified to manage your water damage restoration
- Equipped – cleanup is only part of the solution. Proper equipment is necessary to thoroughly dry the damaged area and prevent mold growth
When you need restoration from water or fire damage, you’re entitled to fast action. You need a quick response from IICRC-certified, properly equipped, experienced technicians. Restoration1 responds to your call 24/7 for emergency needs and provides free estimates to get your home and life back to normal as quickly as possible. Make Restoration1 “your 1 and only call” when you need expert help for water, fire, or smoke restoration.