Protect Your Home from Water Damage
Flooding, plumbing leaks, andwater damage can happen at any time. Internal and external forces can harm valuable items, carpets, furnishings and structural components. Even in a well-maintained building, pipes can break, toilets can overflow, and water can seep behind walls and under floors. Waterlines for refrigerators often create concealed leaks that go unnoticed until mold and mildew have accumulated behind the appliance. The same is true for washing machine hoses that have cracked or become clogged. Water damage can also occur after a violent storm, a flood, or several days of steady rain. Basements and lower levels are especially prone to this type of damage.
Water Damage Statistics
Any type of leak can cause property damage and create safety and health concerns. It's easy to think that water damage or storm damage won't happen to you, but statistics say otherwise. Water damage is among the most common causes of property insurance claims. One in every 55 homes will have a water-related property damage claim this year.
Prevent Water Damage
By taking preventive measures, you can minimize the likelihood of water damage affecting your home. While you cannot stop a storm, you can follow these steps to help prevent water damage in your home.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms are susceptible to water damage due to the amount of plumbing in these areas. Fix leaking or dripping pipes promptly, and be aware of elevated humidity levels that could indicate an underlying plumbing problem. Maintain caulk around showers and bathtubs. Water that passes through gaps can penetrate walls and subfloors. If this sealant has cracked or separated, have it repaired. You can probably complete that task yourself.
Inspect waterlines for appliances at least once per year. If hoses are brittle, cracked or crimped, replace them before they fail. Turn off the water supply for all appliances before traveling out of town. Pay special attention to hoses for washing machines, refrigerators, and ice makers. Since washing machines have inlet hoses and drains, they are especially prone to leaks.
Protect plumbing from freezing by insulating pipes that travel along exterior walls or through unheated crawlspaces. On cold nights, open cupboard doors, and let faucets drip. Before winter, drain all watering hoses, and turn off valves for exterior faucets. If a pipe does freeze, don't thaw it too quickly. That's how pipes burst. To protect your plumbing, never set the thermostat below 55 degrees.