We know home maintenance may not sound like your idea of a good time this weekend. But what if it could save you hundreds of dollars and a lot of stress in the long run? Did you know water damage has become the leading, most expensive type of home loss in Florida, surpassing fires and in many years losses from storms? The good news is you can prevent water damage to your home by following a few simple, inexpensive preventative measures.
Clean the Gutters
When is the last time you had a look up there? You should clean gutters and downspouts at least once a year – even more often if you have overhanging trees dropping leaves and debris. Clogged gutters can dump water down the side of your house, destroying plants, landscaping and your home’s foundation. Consider installing gutter covers to slow clogging. Cleaning the gutters is a simple way to allow the gutters to do their job, and to let water harmlessly drain away.
Monitor Your Water Bill & Water Meter
Notice a spike in your water bill? This could indicate a leak. Even a small leak can become a big problem if left unattended for a long period of time. To check for leaks you can't see, try marking the water meter with a piece of masking tape (or note the digital reading), with the edge right over the needle to mark its place. Provided all water-using devices and faucets are turned off, the next step is to leave the house for 6 hours. Upon returning, the needle should be in the exact same spot. If it has moved at all, there most likely is a leak.
Inspect Under Your Kitchen Sink
Sinks, mainly kitchen sinks, are among the most used drains in the home. Sink drain pipes develop leaks particularly since they are in common spaces and typically near under-sink storage. If the sink has gotten jostled and not properly resealed, it can begin damaging the cabinet space underneath. Be sure to remove items from under your kitchen sink occasionally to check for dampness and mildew. Left untreated, this can result in both significant mold and more serious damages to the home.
Flash and Caulk Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are the main openings in a home, and often the spaces around their frames develop cracks where water can seep in. To prevent water getting into the walls, ensure that the flashing and caulking that surrounds these openings is intact. Caulk doors and windows at least every five years, and inspect them every time the season changes. Some homes have vertically-mounted vents that lead into the attic from a wall instead of through the roof, and the same maintenance process also applies to these vents
Turn off the Water When Leaving
When leaving your home for an extended period of time, it’s always a good idea to turn off the main water supply. This will reduce the chance of small leaks turning into huge, expensive damage while you are away. Also, never run appliances, such as your dishwasher and washing machine while you are away from home. If you are home, you may catch and stop the leak as it happens. And finally, know the location of your main water supply valve and how to shut it off before you have a leak.
Secure Fixtures and Appliances
The supply lines for icemakers, toilets and washing machines are often subject to vibration and loosening. Over time lines wear out and can begin to leak. Replacing any rubber supply lines with braided stainless steel is an excellent idea. Also, installing a leak detector with a water-sensitive shut-off mechanism can prevent flooding your home. Every 6 months, inspect the tightness of connections. If there is fraying, replace the line immediately.
Inspect Your Air Conditioning Unit
In the hot summer months when your air conditioner is running constantly, be sure to check for water overflow. If you notice water leaking from your AC inside, it could be due to a clogged condensate drain line. When the water cannot escape your home through the soffit hose, it fills the drain pan and overflows. Or the drain pan may be old and damaged. In these cases, it’s best to call a professional to determine the reason for the leak.
Know When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater
The average lifespan of a hot water heater is 8-12 years. As your heater ages, it’s prone to slow leaks and sudden bursts, due to tank corrosion and broken valves. If you notice the water doesn’t get as hot as it used to, there’s rust in your water or a metallic taste to your hot water, it could be a sign your hot water heater is about to fail. Schedule a professional inspection immediately.
Already Have Water Damage? Call us first at 844-365-5588.
If you experience water damage, your first call should always be to Anchor Insurance or your agent. We can put you in touch with a reputable emergency water clean-up company in your area. Be aware of contractor scams and assignment of benefits fraud that leave many homeowners stuck with unnecessary bills. Never sign a contract for repairs until you have spoken with an Anchor representative.