10 tips to prevent water damage in your home

Common Sence Tactics to Keep you Home Dry

Many are shocked to discover that water damage in your home is one of the most common insurance claims made by homeowners next to wind and hail damage. Water damage cost for repairs are such that if pays to learn how to avoid it all together.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word prevent as: to keep from happening or existing. Considering how devastating water damage in your home can be, it would pay to learn tips to keep it from happening.  Following through with these suggestions can allow your Macomb home to stay dry and free from water damage.

1. Service toilets that keep running.

After flushing a toilet you will hear water running for a few short minutes. This is normal as water needs to once again fill the water tank to allow for additional flushes. However, if you intermittingly hear the water comes on and off repeatedly, that could indicate a potential for water damage in your home.

What is happening is your toilets water tank is not keeping the full amount of water needed as it is leaking through the seal in the tank. As water level diminishes the float slowly moves down and engages to allow the lost water back in. This issue can in some cases lead to water damage in your home and should not be left as is.

The fix is easy. Look at what brand your toilet is and get a repair seal kit at your local hardware store and replace the seal. This will allow for the water to stay in the tank and work as manufacturers intended.

2. Fix all plumbing leaks as soon as you find them

All homes have plumbing that eventually needs servicing due to leaks. A sink faucet, a drain, a valve that slowly drips or a hot water heater that leaks occasionally. No matter what the size of the pipe or problem even the smallest plumbing leak can cause massive amounts of water damage in a home.

Eventually these small leaks turn into fast moving water that can easily flood several rooms of carpet in your home. Like a small crack in a dam, pressure over time can make a violent flow of unabated water.

This is not even mentioning the humidity and moisture that water brings with it. High humidity can allow for mold growth, mildew growth, bad smells, dry rot, floor buckling and other damaging effects on property. Invisible and unwanted microorganisms can even cause germs to fill the air you breathe.

Keeping in mind that homeowner’s insurance carriers only cover damages that are sudden and accidental, they may not cover a water loss you could have prevented.  Damage that results from lack of maintenance is not covered on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

The fix is easy. When leaks of any sort are encountered, quickly have them repaired. Many of these small repairs can be DIY while others may require a plumber or handyman to fix.

3. Set water heater level no higher than hot.

Water heaters have a dial that allows you to set how high you want the water temperature to be. The “very hot” setting places undo wear on the hot water heater and can shortens its lifespan. When water temperatures are very high the heat forces metals to expand more than it should and water leaks can occur.

The fix is easy. Keep the setting no higher than the “hot” setting which is almost always more heat than is necessary for washing clothes/dishes or bathing.

4. Regularly Inspect Your Appliances.

Water using appliances are a marvel of the modern age and a convenience few would want to do without. These appliances however, can be responsible for water damage in the home. Each year insurance providers are inundated with water loss claims from washing machines, dish washers, refrigerators and hot water heaters. Many times the water damages could have been avoided with routine inspections of the appliances.

The fix is easy. Each month do a walk-through of your property and evaluate your appliances. Make sure you don’t see any standing water on the floor, dripping parts, or a cycle malfunctioning. Equally important is the seals that allow appliances to not drip during use. Check the dish washer seal to make sure no water is lost during cycles. Follow the instructions manufacturer’s put on each device while doing so.

5. Regularly Clean Your Gutters.

Storm damage, heavy rains and tree leaves falling in the fall can damage or compromise your gutters. These mechanical systems are great when they work at diverting rain water away from your homes property.  When they are clogged or malfunction the water can stay on the roof or backup under your shingles causing water damage in your ceiling or attic. Severely obstructed gutters can even cause deep pooling where heavy water can run down the side of your brick or siding and get in through walls. Water damage from ceilings and water damage from a wall are types that can be difficult to find.

In some cases the water can even make its way to a basement area resulting in basement flooding or even crawlspace flooding. Basement flood cleanup may not be covered by insurance, so this tip could save thousands.

The fix is easy. Remove leaves, dirt and debris from the gutters each fall season to allow for them to work efficiently. Hardware stores sell special attachments that can be used to spray the obstructions away. Gutter cleaning service companies offer special rates for cleaning gutters when you use them each year.

6. Keep a Close Eye on Your Water Bill.

At Action Extraction of Macomb Michigan we have encountered water damage in homes where the resulting damages were from an unknown plumbing leak. For instance on one project a broken water pipe in a crawlspace leaked for weeks before the water manifested in the living space of the home. Because no one goes into their crawlspace on a regular basis by the time the water leak was discovered a monumental amount of damage had occurred.

The fix is easy. Each water bill that arrives in the mail should be immediately reviewed to make certain it is not unusual. A few dollars different from the last bill is to be expected, but double, triple or even more is an indication of a water leak. It could be a constantly running toilet, broken pipe under the home or a pipe break in the ground of the property.

The only way to catch this water damage in the home is to look at the water bill or wait till it shows up. However, by the time it does the devastation could be overwhelming.

Avoiding this type of water damage in the home can be significantly easier than finding it weeks later and having to clean it up. The steps outlined above can help prevent unnecessary damage, but they cannot promise complete protection. Contact a water remediation contractor if your Macomb Michigan home has suffered such water damages. We are highly skilled and certified to manage these types of devastating water losses.

7. Brush snow off perimeter of roof.

After a heavy snow there will likely be a thawing in several days. As the snow melts it needs to be able to flow directly into the gutters. If the snow due to freezing temperatures creates what is called an ice dam on your roof, it can lead to water damage in your home. Water will back up under the flashing and come directly into you home. Walls can become wet water damage in a ceiling can manifest and much worse.

The fix is easy. When at all possible take a broom and brush as much snow off the roof perimeter as possible. This can help immensely and prevent an ice dam. Ice dam water damage can affect multiple rooms of a home, making it one of the more destructive water claims.

8. Winterize outside water spickets before winter.

Before the freezing temperatures of winter freeze your outside water faucet, winterize it first. If pressurized water is to remain in your faucet the water will freeze and expand. With the expansion of the water the metal faucet can easily break. The water damage generally does not occur when freezing happens, but when the ice thaws. During the thawing process water damage in your home can occur.

The fix is easy. Before freezing temperatures, turn the water off to the spicket, open the spickets valve and cover with an outdoor faucet cover which can be found at any hardware store.

9. Maintain trees and vegetation

What property doesn’t look beautiful with shrubs and landscaping? Thriving shrubs can bring tremendous curb appeal. Keeping an eye on roots can help prevent water damage in your home. Roots that wrap around utility pipes can weaken and break them over time. It is important to minimize landscaping near outdoor plumbing and irrigation systems.

The fix is easy. Keep landscaping trimmed, orderly and away from plumbing and irrigation. When it encroaches in areas it doesn’t belong, cut it back.

10. Know where your water main shutoff is.

Plumbing service contractors and experts say that the water main shutoff is the most important plumbing feature in a home. The reason is simple! In the event that water damage is found in the home with one turn of a valve all the water stops. The water main controls the water of the entire property and when turned off, all water stops to all other plumbing.

Should you experience a plumbing emergency inside your home, you need to know where the main shutoff is located to save your home from further damage. Such was the case of a recent project Action Extraction was called upon to mitigate in Chesterfield Township Michigan. The homeowners were away in another country for a week and when they came home water was everywhere. The homeowner had no idea where the water was coming from, but knew where the water main shutoff was. He immediately turned off the valve and all the running water stopped.

The fix is easy. Discover where your main shutoff is and let all occupants in the home know where it is located. Inform them should water damage manifest to immediately turn the valve in the off position till a plumber arrive.

We at Action Extraction of Macomb county Michigan also recommend shutting off the water main any time you leave your home for an extended amount of time. Preventing water damage while on vacation is easy when the water pressure is incapable of entering plumbing.

If you need professional help for water damage in the home, call Action Extraction today 586-949-4448. We are IICRC certified in water damage restoration.