Top 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage
Water damage is a problem no one wants to have. Can you avoid water damage before it happens? Yes, you can! Basic home maintenance can go a long way in preventing water damage and prevent an even bigger problem: mold. Come learn how to prevent water damage and keep your home in top notch condition!
What Can Cause Water Damage and How to Avoid It
Washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners, and any appliance that uses water has the potential to leak. 4,5 Your best defense is regular maintenance. Check your water supply lines on all appliances that use water regularly (at least twice a year). If water supply hoses or lines show signs of rust, bulging, cracking, or signs of moisture: replace them. Reseal any loose fittings. 4,5
Roof, Chimney, Gutters, and Downspouts
At least twice a year, check your gutters for blockage and clean them. This could be a DIY project or you could hire someone to do it. 2
Downspouts should carry water at least 2 feet or more away from the home, and have a 90 degree angle elbow at the ground level. 2 This prevents soil from washing at the foundation level, and helps prevent foundation damage. 2 Downspout extensions can help to move the water further away from the foundation. 2,9 This is a DIY project and can easily be done for all downspouts in a few hours. Click on the link for a great video on ‘How to Use Downspout Extenders to Protect Your Foundation.’
A roof that is not weather resistant is just asking for trouble.
At least twice a year, (at the same time you clean the gutters), check the roof for:
- Missing or loose shingles
- Damage from fallen limbs
- Overgrown moss that could work the shingles loose
- Damaged roof penetrations such as drains, vents, gas lines, chimneys, etc.
Roof penetrations are one of the most likely places to find leaks. 2,4 Check that caulking and flashing are secure and in good shape. Repair missing or loose shingles, damage from limbs and remove any moss. While you are on the roof (or your chosen repair technician is), be sure to inspect the chimney for loose bricks, or boards. 2 Also, check that the flashing is secure, and that no water is passing through it. 2 Be sure a chimney cap is installed and working properly. 2
Once again, prevention is worth 9/10 of the cure! So basic home maintenance can save you a fortune in repairs!
Pipes, Drains, and Sump Pumps
Cracks in pipes, hoses, and clogs in drains can become a nightmare if forgotten long enough. Check pipes under sinks, around toilets, showers at least every 3-4 months. Areas under sinks, around toilets, and baths or showers should stay dry to prevent mold growth.19 Use strainers on all sink drains to help prevent clogs from hair or food buildup. 2 If a clogged pipe develops, fix it quickly! Don’t wait weeks or months to solve the problem of a slow draining sink.2 For more about how to keep drains healthy and flowing go to: How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home. 2
Even when you have a slow, small leak in your home mold can begin to grow. Mold is a problem you really don’t want! To learn more check out our article: Mold’s Top 5 Hiding Places.
Sump pumps are small electrically operated water pumps that remove excess water from your basement or crawl space. 2,11 Late winter or early spring are ideal times to check your sump pump. However, sump pumps should be checked at least 4 times per year to be sure they are working properly. To learn more about how to maintain your sump pump click here. 2,11
Outside the home, pipes can be blocked or broken by tree or shrub roots. If you have large shrubbery or trees growing near utility pipes, it may be a good idea to remove them. Start by calling 811 to find where pipes run in your yard from distributors (water company, gas company, electric company, etc). Pipes that run from your water meter to your home are usually marked by these companies. However, additional outbuildings, irrigation systems, and other exterior water features will not be marked by the company. These pipes are the ones considered to be your property. To find these pipes is more challenging, especially if you have underground irrigation lines. It is a good idea to find these lines and mark them on a homemade or computer generated map. That way, the next time you want to add a new tree, or flower bed, you know where NOT to dig. To learn more click here – How to Avoid Utility Lines When Digging in Your Yard. 10
If the water pressure in your home is too high, it can put a strain on pipes, hoses, gaskets, and more. To check the water pressure in your home, you can purchase a water pressure gauge and attach it to an outside faucet to check the pressure. 5 Turn the water on full force and check the measurement. 5 If the pressure is too high, you may need to attach a pressure regulator to the water line as it enters the home. 5 To learn more go to: How to Test Your Home’s Water Pressure. 12
When you maintain your home properly, you can prevent damage some damage from Mother Nature. Clearing gutters and using downspouts that lead away from the foundation protect the foundation of your home. 4 Keeping trees near your home well maintained can prevent damage to your roof. Knowing where water lines are located and removing overgrown trees or shrubs can prevent damage to those lines. 4
Store sensitive files and electronics in higher areas of your home to prevent damage in case of flooding. 4 Flood insurance may be a good idea if you live in a flood prone area. Most insurance companies will pay for accidental water damage, but do NOT pay for flood damage.
While a good home maintenance plan won’t completely stop Mother Nature, good basic home maintenance can prevent damage.
What To Do – If You Have A Problem
If you discover a problem what should you do first? Who do you call once water damage has occurred? Is there anything else you should do?
Step 1 – How To Shut Off The Water
Everyone in the house should learn how to shut off the water and where the water shut off valve is located. Why? If you are not home, but someone is, they should have the knowledge to turn off the water if needed. That way there is less time wasted as water is pouring out of the leak! The longer the water runs, the more damage there will be. For even more information see our article: Do You Know How To Shut Your Water Off?
At least every 6 months, you should check the water meter box (if on municipal water) or the pressure tank (in a well house). Wearing gloves, very carefully open the box and check for spiders. In Georgia, black widow spiders especially love to hide in places that are not often used like water meter boxes. Be cautious when opening! Clean out the box, and remove any soil or debris, and be sure you can see the valve. Try turning the water off and back on with a pair of pliers.
When you leave your home for an extended period of time (vacation for example), be sure to cut the water off before you leave. When you are out of town, it is possible that water damage could occur, and cause much more damage than if you were home. Simply shutting the water off when you leave for an extended period prevents that damage from occurring. For even more information see our article: Do You Know How To Shut Your Water Off?
Step 2 – Call Branch Environmental
Water & flood damage can quickly take over your property. A quick, professional response is critical to ensure your loss is minimized and mold does not begin to grow. Your first call should be to us after turning off the water.
After calling, be sure to start cleaning up on your own. The faster the water is gone the better! As the owner, it is your responsibility to protect your property and minimize any further losses from the damage. That means getting it dry before the water spreads and mold starts to grow. Your insurance company will expect you to stop the source of the leak and begin to dry your home, and a formal approval is generally not required.
Be sure to take pictures as before you clean up. Many insurance companies require proof of damage and photos are the best way to show them the damage. For step-by-step instructions see our post: Burst Pipes and Flooding: A 6 Step Plan of Action .
When we arrive, our first priority is to keep your family safe while quickly mitigating the water damage to your home. Few things in this life are as important as your family and your home. Our job is to protect your people and your property, then restore you back to new. For more information about how we keep you safe (especially during this pandemic) see our post: Branch Environmental Keeping You Safe.
Step 3 – Call Your Insurance Company
After your property is dry and the damage has been mitigated, we can move into the restoration phase. During this phase, your insurance agent will be more involved and approve work before it is executed.
We deal with insurance claims on a regular basis and will assist you in submitting your claim properly and effectively. We believe that your home can be fully restored to whole, and we will be your advocate throughout the claim process.
We are experts at water, storm, and fire damage restoration and have over 25 years of experience. You can trust us to care for your home as we would for our own homes. To learn even more about insurance claims and how we can help, see our post How to Navigate an Insurance Claim.
The Real Problem With Water Damage
So, why do you want to prevent water damage to your home? Isn’t it just a matter of getting it dried out? Unfortunately, the answer is….No.
When water invades your home things like drywall, wood, carpet, etc. are an excellent food source for that nasty, microscopic invader: mold. Mold can start growing in less than 48 hours! Water behind baseboards and cabinets, wet carpet tack strips, and other hard to reach areas are a ticking mold time bomb.
Mold can cause everything from allergic reactions to mental health problems. Even with fans going and mopping up the water, it may not be enough to prevent mold growth. You need professional help to keep mold from growing.
To learn more about mold check out our recent articles:
- What’s Hiding in your Carpets?
- Effects of Mold on Children’s Health
- Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults
- What’s that musty smell? MVOC’s
We’re Here When You Need Us
As a company, we believe that nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick. We take every precaution to protect your health and the health of your family. We are experts in water damage mitigation, environmental safety, and air quality, with over 25 years of experience. We treat your home or business like our own. Call us today!
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For more information go to:
- Water Damage Athens, GA | Restoration, Repair & Cleanup Company – Branch Environmental
- How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home – The Spruce
- Mold vs. Mildew – Branch Environmental
- Top 5 Causes of Water Damage – Grainger
- 10 Tips To Avoid Water Damage to Your Home – McClain Insurance
- Do You Know How To Shut Your Water Off? – Branch Environmental
- Burst Pipes and Flooding: A 6 Step Plan of Action – Branch Environmental
- Downspout Extension at Ace Hardware
- How to Use Downspout Extenders to Protect Your Foundation – Ron Hazelton
- How to Avoid Utility Lines When Digging in Your Yard – The Spruce
- Sump Pump Maintenance for Your Home – The Spruce
- How to Test Your Home’s Water Pressure – The Spruce
- Determining Causes of Roof Leaks – The Spruce
- Effects of Mold on Children’s Health– Branch Environmental
- Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults – Branch Environmental
- What’s Hiding in your Carpets? – Branch Environmental
- Mold & Air Quality Archives – Branch Environmental
- Branch Environmental Keeping You Safe
- How to Prevent Bathroom Mold – Branch Environmental
- How to Navigate an Insurance Claim – Branch Environmental
Blog information is NOT intended to provide or replace medical advice. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.
*We are an Amazon affiliate company and we do occasionally receive compensation for products that you purchase through links on our website.
Suggestions for products to use are just that, suggestions. You know yourself and your home best. Please do your own research on any product you use in your home or on your skin, and learn all the facts for yourself. Thank you.