How to protect your home from water damage
Water finds its way to homes in a multitude of ways – through the roof, basement, leaky pipe, etc. Your homeowner’s insurance protects you from some of it, but not all. Many people decide to talk to one of the most popular home warranty companies to ensure that they can sleep peacefully knowing that no matter what happens, they are covered. But it is much better to prevent any water damage than it is to repair it. In this article, we will provide you with several ways in which you can protect your home from water damage.
Most common signs of water damage
To be able to protect from something, you first need to figure out that you have a problem in the first place. Water usually leaves a visible mark, and you should heed the warnings. Here are some of the most common signs that water might be endangering your home:
- Mold pots
- Standing water in your yard
- Peeling paint
- Floor warping
- Musty smells
- Sagging walls/ceiling tiles
- Floor/wall stains
If you notice any of these signs in your home, you should make it your priority to prevent any further damage water can do to your property.
What causes water damage in the first place?
Most of the time, it is very difficult to understand how water got into your property in the first place. It can be due to a thunderstorm or it can be from a faulty appliance or a fixture. The latter is one of the many reasons why you may need a home warranty plan. Aside from that, water can get into your home due to a pipe burst or leak, a crack in your wall, or even a missing shingle. Then there are drainage problems, HVAC issues, the list goes on.
What is important is that you understand that there are many things that can cause water damage to your property. That will allow you to be more diligent when it comes to protecting your home from water damage.
How to protect your home from water damage
While you can always contact a professional and have them assess the situation, that is not required in most cases. With some time and effort, you can accomplish pretty much the same thing. Here are the things that you will want to perform:
- Roof inspection
- Gutter cleanup
- Caulking and sealing your windows
- Check your sump pump
- Inspect washing machine hoses
- Repair leaky toilet tanks
- Inspect your appliances and fixtures for leaks
Inspecting the roof
The first place that any professional checks inside homes that have any degree of water damage is the roof. Roof deterioration is a problem in many homes and it can be difficult to detect. After all, we don’t go up on the roof every now and then. We only go there if we suspect any damage. But roof inspection is critical when it comes to protecting from water damage. You should inspect your roof before the thunderstorm as well as after it.
Roof inspection is a task that requires you to be quite thorough. You may even want to utilize binoculars and look for any cracked flashing, as well as splits in the foundation. While you may be on the lookout for missing shingles, make sure not to discount any other damage to your roof. In situations where getting up on the roof is dangerous, your best bet is to contact professionals. You can do the visual inspection from down below but leave the dangerous work to people who know how to handle it. While there are many benefits of home warranty plans, your person is not covered under them. It is best not to take any chances where heights are concerned, after all.
Clean the gutters and protect your home from water damage
A clean gutter is a great way to prevent any water damage to your home. A clogged gutter makes for poor drainage, which can weaken the foundation of your home. It can cause cracks and provide the water with a direct path to your basement and walls.
Most people simply forget about the gutters. They are “just there” and are supposed to work without your input. But this can be a critical mistake, as it is advisable to clean your gutters twice a year in normal conditions and more than that if you live in an area that has frequent storms and heavy winds. Storms and heavy wind will clog the gutters with debris such as branches and wet leaves, effectively halving (or removing) the effectiveness of the gutters.
To put it simply, if you ignore your gutters, there will be nothing that can protect your walls from excess water damage. Therefore, you will want to get rid of any leaves, twigs, branches, and the like, as soon as you see them accumulating. Put this task on your spring home maintenance checklist, at the very least. Utilize a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts clean. You can also install gutter guards that will make it more difficult for your gutters to get clogged in the first place.
Caulking and sealing your windows
Many homes experience excessive water damage due to water seeping in through the windows. If you see that there is any water near the window after a storm or heavy rain, it might be time to reseal them. Or replace them entirely. But if your windows still have several good years in them, resealing them with caulk is the best thing to do. And while you’re at it, you might also want to apply caulk to your other “plumage points” such as faucets, ceiling fixtures, and bathtubs.
Applying caulk is rather easy but there are some steps that you need to take. First, make sure that you choose a caulk that is 100% made out of silicon. Silicon is a very flexible material and is also water-resistant and crack-proof. As caulk is one of the main ways of preventing water damage, it pays off to choose a quality one.
Before applying caulk to the area, you will want to remove the old caulk or any particles and debris. After that, get your caulking gun ready and seal away! Finally, spread the caulk evenly with a smoothing tool, making sure that every crevice is properly sealed.
Protect your home from water damage by checking the sump pump
If you have a sump pump in your basement, it is vital that you check its operation regularly. To do so, you will want to find the outside pump first, the one that is there to make the water exit your home. Clean it of any dirt and stray leaves. Then, get to the location of the sump pump itself and verify that the outlet that it is plugged in is working normally. While you’re there, check whether your pump has any dirt or other debris beneath its lid (if the pump has a lid in the first place, of course).
You will then want to test your sump pump by pouring some water into the basin. You don’t need any excess amount of water, around six gallons will do. Pour evenly and slowly and verify that the pump turns on and starts pumping water.
Washing machine hose inspection
One of the most common sources of flood damage to a home is an incoming washing machine hose. If your hose breaks at any time, the amount of water that can spew out is absolutely tremendous. Therefore, you will want to make it a point to regularly inspect it. The washing machine hose is always under pressure and it will burst after some time. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the hose around every five years.
If you have moved into a new home, it is always good to inspect a washing machine hose, as well as a number of other appliances. If you are planning on purchasing a home warranty, this is also the time to figure out what the home warranty covers. Most of the time, it will not cover for the water damage itself but it will cover for the source of that damage. While this might not be exactly ideal, it can still produce considerable savings.
Leaky toilet tanks
Toilet tanks are yet another very common source of water damage to a home. This damage, like almost all water damage, can be a large drain on your wallet. A single leaking toilet can waste almost 120 gallons of water every single day! Needless to say, this can get expensive very fast if not rectified in time.
Luckily, it is rather easy to check for toilet leaks, all you need to do is drop some food coloring into the tank and pay attention to the bowl for a few minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, there’s proof of a leak.
Lastly, you will want to inspect any fixtures and appliances that are utilizing water for their operations. Most of the time, these appliances will produce small leaks that are very difficult to discern. But these leaks are the most dangerous ones, as most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover any water damage over an extended period of time. You may have more luck with a home warranty, instead. Thus, cleaning and maintaining kitchen appliances is instrumental. Check your refrigerator, dishwasher, ice maker, and any water line really. And make sure that you look under the sink cabinet, as well!
It is not easy to protect your home from water damage but it need not be hard, either. Purchasing a home warranty is also highly recommended, as that will provide you with coverage no matter what happens. For more information on home warranty plans and the best home warranty companies, refer to the Consumer Opinion Guide where we will present you with your best options!