How To Prevent Water Damage In Your Home
We all need water to survive it is essential to life and provides untold benefits in our lives. Food, sport, entertainment, exercise, transportation, relaxation. But when it goes bad water can have a devastating effect on your home. Here are five ways water can ruin your day and what you can do to prevent them. Water is brought into your house from a source such as a municipality, county or private company’s hook up at the street or the house is on a well. Water Damage Once it enters the house it is plumbed to the different areas of the home that use water.The kitchen, bathrooms, utility room, washing machine. If you have a refrigerator with an ice maker it has a water hook up and it also gets sent to the water heater. Anywhere along those pipes and when it gets to the appliance or feature can be the source or a leak either small and slow or immediate and fast.
Washing Machines & Dishwashers
Every year thousands of homeowners suffer devastating water damage that costs millions of dollars to repair and most of the damage is caused by washing machine and dishwasher hoses that fail. The simplest thing you can do and probably the least expensive is to replace the cheap rubber hoses that were attached to your washing machine when you bought it. There are a number of better hose options that you can buy, at the least stainless steel coated hoses offer some better protection. You can purchase these hoses at all of the major home improvement or local hardware stores, they cost around $20 and can be installed in minutes. Specialty washing machine hose manufacturers have products that may cost a bit more but when compared to the cost in dollars and emotional loss of a flood they look like a really good investment. There are also hoses that have the ability to shut off the water when they detect a leak. At a minimum get rid of the rubber hoses, I’ve seen the damage that happens when one of these hoses burst. The dishwasher has two hoses a supply and a drain hose that are normally connected under to the pipes under the kitchen sink. It’s possible when storing cleaning products etc under the sink that these pipes could get damaged and spring a leak. The dishwasher could also leak if a gasket fails, or if a knife gets between the seal in the door and the frame you could find water all over the kitchen floor. Another way to minimize having a flood in your house is to not run the washing machine or dishwasher when you are away from your home, not always practical but at least you’ll be in a position to see any problems.
Where is your water heater located, if its in the basement or crawl space, you’re lucky. If its in your attic or garage or utility room then you should take some precautions because if it develops a leak it can cause untold damage to your home.40,50,60 even 100 gallons of water sitting in a hot water tank waiting for someone to turn on the shower or do a load of laundry can do a tremendous amount of damage in a short time frame. Even a small leak if left unattended could lead to expensive repairs possibly even mold removal. If a water heater in an attic fails the damage can be catastrophic not only to the walls, ceilings, carpeting but also to furniture and worst of all treasured personal items that get destroyed which insurance can’t replace. Computers, televisions, phones, clothes any thing under the attic has the potential to be ruined. So make sure to check your water heater periodically to make sure everything is working, check for any wet or damp areas around the tank or water stains. Check to see if your water heater has a drain pan with a drain pipe that will carry the water out of the the house in case of complete failure. Over time rust can build up inside and outside the tank leading to leaks and tank failure. Water heaters typically last 10-15 years so if your’s is towards the end of its useful life, it might be time to get it replaced rather than wait for it to tell you it needs replacing. With all water and plumbing issues unless you know what you are doing the safest way to deal with a problem or get advise is to consult a professional plumber.
Frozen Water Pipes
Some parts of the country are very familiar with sub freezing temperatures for extended periods of time and are more prepared for frozen pipes. However even in the southern states it is not uncommon for cold spells that can take folks by surprise and freeze their pipes. Anywhere there are pipes exposed to the elements or with poor insulating that may be old or have slipped off the pipe there is a chance that section of pipe will freeze.
Basements, crawl spaces and attics are the most common places in the home for pipes to freeze. There are numerous preventive measures you can take to reduce the chance of your pipes freezing. Maintain the temperature of your home, a higher fuel bill for a couple or months will be worth it. Here is a good article from the American Red Cross on Preventing & Thawing Frozen Pipes
The roof that keeps you dry and covers the house can also be the source of a water leak and there are a number of places that can happen. A roof takes a beating doing its job and over time problems can arise that if left unattended can cause major damage so it is important to fix any issues as soon as they arise.
A common place where leaks occur are the rubber boots around the vent pipes in the roof. These boots get exposed to extreme heat, cold, rain and drought and over time can crack and fall apart. When they do a gap is formed that will allow rain water to seep down the side of the vent pipe. This can be a slow leak and may not get noticed immediately that as it may dry out between rain falls, but will get worse over time.
Shingles can come loose and get blown away or damaged by debris falling on the roof. When this happens water can get into the attic and onto ceilings and down the walls. If the house is in an area that gets a lot of rain can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Even in parts of the country that don’t see a lot of rain once water gets established inside the house it can cause mold and rot if left unattended.
Flashing around chimneys, dormer windows or skylights can deteriorate over time or if installed incorrectly can cause problems from day one.
If you have a leak in your roof the best advise would be to hire a reputable professional to make the repairs and do a thorough inspection of the roof while they are up there. It may cost you more but a roof is no place for anyone inexperienced.
Know Where The Water Shut Off Valve Is Located
In fact if you don’t know where it is I would suggest you stop reading this and go find it, it could save you from some major water damage. Newer homes have the water cut off valve in an easy to access part of the house, typically in a front hall closet or utility room. Older homes may have the cut off in the crawl space or in a basement. If the house is connected to municipal or a private water company there may be a water shutoff valve next to the curb and it could require a special tool to close the valve. The worst time to go looking for the water shut off valve in your house is when gallons of water are spewing out of a burst pipe or faulty appliance. Know where the water cut off is and what you need to do to close off the water supply. There should be an individual shut off valve for each tap and toilet in the house as well as the dishwasher and ice maker, but these only turn off the water to that particular device. Additional Resources On Flooding And Water Damage Prevention Waterproof Solutions To Basement Flooding by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl What You Need To Know About Mold When Buying or Selling A House by Anita Clark How To Prevent And Remove Ice Dams by Bill Gassett David O’Doherty Broker at Hometowne Realty Clayton East About The Author: The above article was written by David O’Doherty a real estate agent who helps people buy and sell homes. I work in all of Johnston and Wake County. If you have a question or need more information call or text (919)601-2268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org