Interestingly multiple things people talk about regularly are related to the number 4. Here is just a small list of recognized items identified with the number four, before I continue with the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
The 4 gospels
There are 4 directions
4 Band members in the Beatles
4 Ninja turtles
4 Calling birds
4 Wheels on a car
4 Limbs on a human
4 Mathematical operations
As I ruminate on the number 4 I can’t help think about its relationship to water damage because there are basically 4 reasons home water damage happens. Regardless of the type of emergency water damage a home may experience, the reasons can be grouped concisely in one of 4 categories. Let us consider each of these headings and ultimately conclude with what can be done to prevent water damage from happening.
Plumbing Failures: One of the 4 Reasons Home Water Damage Happens.
The ease of having water at ones whim through indoor plumbing is a relatively modern marvel. Its easy access with the turn of a faucet handle or press of a button has lifted human hygiene to a standard the rest of less industrialize world can only dream. The advent of indoor plumbing begins in the 1840s, but literally takes over 100 years to take off. By 1940 still over half the homes in the U.S. were without hot water heaters, bathtubs, showers or toilet that flushes. Another thing they had in less numbers than we do today is water damage.
Today indoor plumbing is one of the 4 reasons home water damage happens. A broken water pipe can completely flood an entire floor of a home in several hours. Other plumbing defects that cause a disaster can come from a toilet or sink overflow, a leaky hot water heater, a refrigerator’s water supply line, a washing machines hose and even a small leak from a pipe in a wall.
When these types of water emergencies happen and are caught relatively soon the water damage they create may on be a small area of wet carpet that can be easily water extracted with a shop vac or even several absorbent towels. The reality however, is plumbing failures regularly produce devastating home water damage because the water is under pressure and people work, go to school and are often not at home when they happen. Allow water to run unabated for an hour from a burst pipe and if the home has a basement, there will be water that makes wet walls, ceilings, carpet and often valuables and contents.
Rarely even lawn sprinkler systems can fail from broken and frozen water lines and make in home water damage. Below we will advise you on things that can prevent Plumbing failures, one of the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
Modern construction of our homes today, allow them to remain dry even during heavy rain or thawing snow, because they have a roof. Roofs allow a property to stay dry during a storm by channeling water away from the property, usually by diverting it towards the gutters. The system has proven to be quite efficient and most people do not fret over their property being at risk of storm damage.
However the 2nd law of thermodynamics that affects all systems with time making them less efficient is at work each year against our roofs. Just like a road or a pair of designer jeans will eventually wear out, so will a home’s roof. When roofs become defective they become one of the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
When a shingle deteriorates or blows off the roof from strong winds, a compromise begins much like a crack in a dam. Eventually the small leak can become a bigger issue that affects the environment of the attic. Because few typically go up into their attic to evaluate the surroundings for moisture, water damage in an attic can go on in stealth for years. and can produce mold on wood surfaces.
By the time it becomes obvious by producing a water stain in a ceiling or a fetid smell occupants notice, water damage and mold on wood can be severe. In extreme cases substantial structural damage may have occurred. Below we will look at preventative measures you should take before your home becomes a casualty of a roof failure, one of the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
Interestingly homes are more at risk for water damage from water rising up than they are from water coming down. Water is always in the ground at some level around the property of a home and if the water table is not controlled water can intrude into a home.
The water table around the property is controlled by either a mechanical or natural feature designed during a home’s construction. If it is a mechanical feature that means it takes some sort of energy or sustainable power to allow it to function. If it is gravity it takes a system that allows height and the weight of water to control the water table, keeping it from a water intrusion disaster.
The mechanical system that many homes in Southeast Michigan utilize for controlling the height of the water table is a sump pump. The use of a sump pump allows the mechanical discharge of water each time the pump is engaged by a float. When water raises enough to initiate the float mechanism the pump engages and water is pumped away through a drain pipe system. This water is typically sent away from the home to another area of the property at least 30 yards away. Sometimes homes are in municipalities that allow for ground water to be directly channeled into a storm drain system.
These systems unfortunately are known to fail because of the unreliability of sustainable power or the actual pump. If the power fails, the pump becomes useless and water will infiltrate into a basement through floor drains, cracks in the cement slab or open floor joints at the base of the walls. If the sump pump fails from wear the ground water will as well introduce its presence into the home. There are backup systems that can be installed such as battery and water backups, and but they too regularly fail leaving the home vulnerable to flooding from a rising water table.
Gravity designed systems are more reliable as gravity is a universal constant that never fails. This however does not guarantee you will never have a flooded basement from ground water. Although gravity is always capable of providing the necessary force to move water the drain system it relies on can become disrupted. If a drain pipe breaks, disintegrates over time, becomes clogged or receives more water than it can handle, ground water can violently backup into the home.
This article identifies several preventative ideas below that can help your home avoid the dangers of ground water intrusion, one of the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
4) Appliance malfunctions. In a day when everyone is connected to the rest of the world with our hand held devices and information is as easy as a google search, we take for granted the appliances that also make life convenient. Washing machines wash our clothes, dish washer wash our dishes and hot water heaters heat the water to make its temperature more suited to our skin. Such unspoiled luxury has made household jobs a breeze, but is there a down side to these machines of marvel? Absolutely! If they fail.
Imagine a washing machine that loses its mechanical capability to stop the water from continuing to fill its tub, or a dish washer that glitches allowing water to continue without stopping. How about a refrigerator that has a water supply line for making ice? Imagine after it fills the ice tray it just continues to run without stopping, flooding out the kitchen. This scenario has happed to millions who don’t have to imagine the disastrous effects of appliance malfunction because they have lived it.
The potential of household appliances creating major water damage only increase as they get older. Fittings loosen, electrical circuit’s age, components wear out and if water is involved it will be a force with devastating effects if it continues to run because something fails. If caught suddenly the resulting damages are managed with a shop vac. If you walk out the door after turning on the dish washer and it fails and water runs without stopping while your away from the day, your shock upon reentering your home could be extreme.
Several annual tune-ups on appliances outlined below may help prevent this type of water damage which is one of the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
The average home will have multiple opportunities for water damage to strike. This is why over 33% of homes in the U.S. will experience a water loss occurrence at some point in time. The average homeowner’s insurance claim for water damage is estimated at virtually $7,000. This amount is quiet small compared to the type of flooding that can take place in communities that are devastated by outdoor flooding. These types of home water damage can exceed 70% of the value of the home.
While no one can absolutely stop water damage from happening, there are some things if done annually, may reduce the likelihood of it happening. Below are 4 columns with suggestions for prevention for each of the 4 reasons home water damage happens.
Yearly check all plumbing fittings to assure they are not lose. Evaluate all valves, faucets and pipe connections for leaks. Inspect the hot water heater for signs of seepage.
Roof failure prevention
Each spring or summer have the roof inspected for missing or damaged shingles. Be sure the gutters are cleaned out and that the downspouts are attached and leading the water away from the home.
Ground Water Prevention
Annually inspect the sump well and sump pump. Make sure all the fittings are tight as they easily looses with the vibration of the pump when it engages. If you have a battery backup, make sure the acid levels are good and system is charged.
Appliance malfunction prevention
At least on a yearly basis inspect all appliance supply line connections being sure to tighten any that are lose. Check the seal on the dish washer and if it is not functioning properly, replace it. Tighten the discharge hose on the washing machine and make sure all the shut off valves actually can completely shut the water down.