When water damage strikes, the wreckage can be as fast as lightning, as destructive as a windstorm and as costly as your last reno job. But there are measures homeowners can take to protect their properties. Here’s how:
Protect Your Home – In the event of a flood or sewer back-up, there’s no peace of mind quite like insurance coverage. Typically, insurance for water damage depends on where you live and your home’s construction. Many plans include coverage for certain types of water damage such as sewer back-up, while protection for other types of damage such as flooding may need to be purchased as extra. Check your policy.
Basements – To help prevent basement flooding install a sump pump. To protect your home from sewer water damage, you may also want to install a sewer backflow value.
Foundation and Exterior Walls – Seal cracks and holes in external walls, joints, and foundations. Pay close attention to areas where piping or wiring extends through the outside walls.
Outside Precautions – A flash winter thaw or April showers can bring wet basements. Be sure that downspouts direct water well away from your home’s foundation. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of leaves, dirt and other debris. Ensure proper grading around your home. Vines should be kept off all exterior walls, because they can help open cracks in the siding, which allows moisture or insects to enter the house. Make sure your roof is in good shape and that shingles are secure. Check windows and doors for leaks, too.
Indoor Precautions – Pay attention to higher than normal water bills. This could be from a broken pipe which, if left unattended, could lead to structural damage. Get into the habit of occasionally checking for leaks at your water supply line, pipes and under bathroom and kitchen sinks.
Check around appliances and fixtures that use water such as dishwashers and toilets. Look at the water supply lines and check for corrosion on fittings and valves. Listen for the sound of dripping water or the refilling of your toilet water supply.
Take notice of discoloured, cracked or warped flooring as this can be a sign of a water leak. Be sure to inspect rooms directly below bathrooms. Look for stains on walls or ceilings or a musty smell. Know where your water shut-off valve is located in case you need to turn off the water in an emergency.
To help prevent water from freezing in pipes on extremely cold days, leave kitchen and bathroom cabinets open to expose pipes to warmer air.