According to the Insurance Information Institute, the second most common insurance claim from homeowners is water damage. Damage caused by storms, icy weather, and leaking pipes and appliances are said to be the usual suspects when it comes to costly water damage.
No matter when you’re faced with water damage, it’s far from an ideal situation. However, if you’re on holiday, it can quickly escalate to a full-blown catastrophe.
If a pipe bursts while you’re away, water can sit there for days and destroy carpets and furniture and even compromise the structural integrity of your home. Plus, the extra moisture can lead to the dreaded spread of toxic mold.
Luckily, there are many ways to prep your house that will help prevent water damage from occurring in the first place. While you may want to push these down to the bottom of your pre-holiday to-do-list, you’ll regret it if you come home to a house filled with water.
8 Steps to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home
Below we’ve put together a list of 8 steps to help prevent water damage in your home while you’re away. By following these simple steps, you can relax and enjoy your holiday without that dripping faucet at the back of your mind.
Check Your Home For Leaks
Be sure to do a full check to see if your home has any leaks before you leave. Look at the pipes under all your sinks, and check your water heater for any cracks, damage, or rust. Remember to check there are no loose or damaged shingles on your roof. These can lead to roof leaks, so be sure to replace any broken shingles if needed before you leave.
Turn Off the Main Water Valve
The easiest way to prevent any water damage is to shut off your home’s water supply at the main valve. Drain the pipes to keep them from bursting in freezing weather by running your faucets and flushing the toilets after you’ve shut off the water. Remember, this controls the water that enters your home, so make sure your family members or neighbors know where it’s located in case of an emergency.
Consider Your Appliances
If you need to keep the water on for whatever reason–maybe you have an automated sprinkler system or a pool pump–then it’s a good idea to shut off the valves to all your major appliances. Things like your dishwasher, washing machine, and icemaker should be shut off. These should have switches or valves that can be easily turned off. And, don’t forget common leak culprits such as your toilets and sinks. These should have a simple valve mechanism underneath them.
Check Your Gutters
Before you pack your bags, be sure to do a complete 360-degree gutter check. Look for sticks, feathers, leaves, and any debris that could clog up your gutters and cause them to block or overflow. Also, make sure all downspouts emit water about 10 feet from the outside of your home. If they don’t, you could have tons of water flooding near your home during the rainy months.
Think About Temperatures
If you live in an area where the temperatures regularly drop below zero, make sure your home has frost-proof faucets. Also, insulate your exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing and then breaking. Most hardware stores sell foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves that will easily fit over your pipes. If you are away during winter, it’s also a good idea to keep your heater on low to prevent pipes from freezing.
Get Tech Savvy
Several high-tech devices can prevent water damage from occurring. One such example is an automatic shut-off. Automatic shut-offs can sense water flow and can automatically shut off leaks in your home. To find the best high-quality gadgets to suit your home’s needs, do a bit of research online or chat with your local hardware store. After all, these nifty devices could save you a huge, costly mess when you arrive home.
Examine Your Sump Pump
Before heading off for the holidays, check your sump pump and ensure that it’s in good condition and clear of debris. You can do this by filling the sump pit and running the pump. Listen closely to the motor for strange sounds and make sure that the water is going outside. It’s a good idea to install a battery-powered backup source if your home experiences a power outage while you’re away.
Ask a Friend or Neighbor
Ask a friend or neighbor to check in on your house while you’re gone. Before you leave, show them where all the essential things are, like the thermostat, the power supply, and the main shut-off valve. If you want to take extra precautions, leave him or her with some instructions should something go wrong. Finally, save the number of a reputable water damage restoration company on their phone so that they can quickly contact them should a problem arise.
Contact Restoration 1
If you experience water damage while you are away, you need to count on a team of professionals that can help you quickly and efficiently. Not only do we take care of any water damage, but we can also treat your home for possible mold infestations. At Restoration 1, we are available 24/7 (that means over the holiday season!) and will work tirelessly to get your home back to its previous state. We’ll take care of the water damage so that you can focus on your family’s well-being. Click here to contact your local R1 branch.