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Water damage can weaken the very foundation of your home, the core that holds it together. Each year, water damage continues to be one of the most common disasters in the life of a standard homeowner. Fortunately, timely water damage prevention is a lot cheaper (and less headache!) than repair work that comes with water damages.
It’s important to safeguard your most prized asset — your home — against water damage. Especially now! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, predicts that 2020 will witness a more-than-usual active hurricane season. With 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes predicted, it’s always better to be well prepared for any emergency or possible flooding.
Do get the right insurance coverage and then ensure that you take proper steps to keep your home safe and well-maintained.
Here are some water damage prevention tips that can help you avoid repair bills as well as trouble later on. For your convenience, we’ve divided them into different sections of your house.
- Know where your main water shut-off valve is. You never know when a damaged hose or a burst pipe sends water racing into your home. You must be able to locate and shut off the main water supply quickly.
- Shut off the water supply to your home appliances if you’re planning to go on a long vacation. Even on a daily basis, leaving your house with a running washer or dishwasher is not a good idea.
- Regularly inspect your plumbing, household appliances, hoses, and faucets. Checking the hoses leading to your water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines will help you keep an eye on any water leakage. If you spot cracks or water leaks, immediately replace the hose. It’s a good general rule to replace your hoses every five to seven years.
- Inspect your showers and bathtubs to check the seal and caulking around them. Make sure the seal is watertight. Reseal if not.
- Caulk and seal all your windows properly in order to guard against any water seepage.
- Have a thorough roof inspection to check for any missing, damaged, or old roof shingles. Make the necessary roof repairs as soon as possible.
- Check your rain gutters, gutter guards, and downspouts. Make it a regular practice to remove the accumulated debris from time to time. Experts advise cleaning your gutters at least twice a year in order to avoid blockage and ice dams.
- Position your downspouts at an angle that the water flows away from the house instead of accumulating on the roof. Also ensure that there’s no unmanaged overflow that creates puddles near your house.
- Inspect your sprinkler system as well as irrigation systems so they do not create water damage to your house’s walls and foundation.
- If you live in a region that witnesses severe winters, remember to turn off and drain the hoses as well as outdoor faucets to protect them against frozen pipes. They will create an ice block that stops your water flow altogether during winter. In worst cases, your pipes may even burst — damaging your walls, floors, and the foundation of your home.
- Maintain the trees, vegetation, and outdoor landscaping. Did you know, unmanageable roots of shrubs can wrap around your pipes and break them? Therefore, it’s crucial that you minimize landscaping near your utility pipes.
- Make sure there are no cracks in your basement, building foundations, or floor slabs. A clear sign of deteriorating basement walls and floors is if you notice water seepage after heavy rain. Reseal your basement immediately. You can also paint the vulnerable areas with water sealant. This can prevent seepage.
- Ensure that all water drains away from your home. Standing water can wreak havoc on your house’s foundation. You will need to create a slope so that rainwater flows away from the building.
- Install and maintain a backwater valve to ensure there are no sewer backups and backflows. They can be really messy.
Overall water damage prevention
- It’s a good idea to install water detection devices. These devices have sensors that sound an alarm when they come in contact with moisture of any kind. They help you to detect high moisture levels or slow leaks that can otherwise go unnoticed. Install such devices near your water heaters, sump pumps, dishwashers, or washing machines. They will prevent extensive water damage and resultant mold growth.
- Regularly monitor your water pressure level. The best way to protect against any sudden increased pressure is to install a pressure release valve or water pressure gauge in your plumbing system. This is especially helpful if you experience freezing pipes. You can attach the gauge to an outside faucet and it will give you a reading of your home’s water pressure. Keep in mind that a typical residential water system will have a water pressure of 40 to 70 psi. If the water pressure in your area exceeds 100 psi regularly, you will need to install a pressure regulator.
- Monitor your water bill. A sudden rise in your water bills is a sure-shot sign of a water leakage. Check your crawlspace, pipes in the front yard, a leaky kitchen faucet, etc.
Read more: What to do after storm damage
Do not ignore moisture damage. Or, postpone repairing what needs to be fixed. Water damage can mean mold, mildew, dry rot, or even structural damage to your home — something you’d never want to experience.
Remember that preventing water damage is always better than feeling sorry later on. After all, who doesn’t want to live in a safe, healthy, and happy home!