With the changing weather, larger homes, and growing cities, we have seen a significant increase in water damage claims over the past few years. Although some things are out of your control, there are many things you can do to prevent these claims from ever happening to you. Here are the top 5 things you can do to prevent water damage in your home.
1. Maintenance: maintaining your home can sometimes seem like a never-ending project, from daily upkeep to annual maintenance and renovations. Maintenance is a vital part of stopping water damage before it gets a chance to start, whether it is from a leaking faucet, water in your basement, or a burst pipe. The maintenance you should consider doing is:
- Clear the leaves & debris from your eaves
- Maintain trees and shrubs so they do not get too close to the home.
- Replace the caulking around windows and doors
- Replace the supply and drain lines for your washing machine and dishwasher. Braided steel is preferable to rubber supply lines.
- Replace older faucets. Faucets contain rubber & plastic parts that tend to wear out over time.
- Drain your outdoor spouts in the fall so they do not freeze in the winter
- Make sure all your siding and flashing are in good shape.
- Extend your downspouts well away from your house
- Fix or replace any slow drains or toilets. To prevent buildup, you should regularly clean drains.
2. Updating and Upgrading:
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and updating your house is necessary to prevent water damage. At times, it can seem overwhelming, from old pipes, water supply lines for your dishwasher and washing machine, your roof, eaves, siding, and more. Generally, this is the timeline you should replace or update the following:
- Roof – every 10-20 years, depending on the type of shingles. The shingles should be replaced before they start curling. You may also want to consider replacing your eaves at the same time. When replacing your roof, consider having an underlayment placed under your shingles.
- Plumbing – copper plumbing lasts approximately 40-50 years. All cast iron or galvanized plumbing is well past its lifespan and should be updated. Every five years, you should replace all rubber supply hoses to your dishwasher, washing machine and fridge.
- Hot water tank – should be replaced every ten years. You may also want to consider getting a tankless hot water system, also known as an on-demand system.
- Windows and doors should be replaced every 15- 20 years.
- Siding – this depends on the type of siding you have. Generally your siding should be fine if there are no holes, cracks or other wear & tear. You should consult a contractor if you have any concerns.
- Install floor drains and pans underneath appliances
In today’s market, there are many great options to either prevent the water from damaging your home, limiting the damage, or alerting you that there could be a problem. As a bonus, if you do install any prevention measures then you may be eligible for additional discounts on your insurance. Some good options for you to consider are:
- Sump pumps – the ones that have a battery backup work best as they work even when the power goes out. Sump pumps should be tested regularly to make sure they work. If your sump pump is constantly running, you should contact a contractor to see why it may indicate a more significant issue.
- Backflow valves prevent sewage from coming back into your home.
- Water alarms and/or automatic water shut off. These items tell you if you are using water at a much higher rate than usual, and an automatic water shut-off will even stop the water from continuing to flow.
- Smart home thermostats – alerts you if the heat in your home starts to drop – this helps prevent pipes from freezing and bursting as you will be notified if your furnace is not working correctly.
Grading plays an essential role in stopping water from coming into your home. Properly graded homes will drain water away from the house, preventing pooling and wear & tear on your foundation.
The longer the water sits near your house, the more likely it will come through your foundation. Your draining system may also include weeping tiles or a waterproofing system for your basement if your home is in a wet area. You are best to ask a contractor to verify precisely the grading that you require for your home.
5. Monitoring: One of the best ways to prevent water damage from happening is to be constantly monitoring and checking your home. There are usually telltale signs when water issues start. Items you should be checking are:
- Check the basement and attic for any water or moisture. You can purchase a moisture meter as an extra precaution or if you see/smell anything.
- Make sure eaves and downspouts direct water away from your house. Check for any pooling of water near your foundation or windows.
- Check all your faucets and drains to make sure there are no indications of moisture.
- Check your washing machine and dishwasher’s hoses and drains.
- The water lines to your fridge should be checked regularly.
- Know where your main water shut-off is in case there is an issue.
One of the most important ways to limit the damage if you have an issue is to find the problem as soon as possible. Water damage that accumulates over time can cause mould, dry rot, or other issues. Water damage gets exponentially worse over time, so the best defence is prevention and catching any problems quickly. If you do have any water damage, it is best to get it taken care of as soon as possible. Your insurance company will be able to refer you to a reputable remediation company that can assess the damage and determine the next best steps for you.
Looking for further information regarding water damage to your home? Check out our post about Overland Flooding, Sewer Backup and Ground Water.