Water damage in the home is the second most common homeowner’s insurance claim. Not only is it inconvenient, it can cost you a significant amount of time and money. The average cost for water damage repair runs from $18.22 to $23.43 per square foot.
Your insurance will probably cover a portion of the expense, but there are limits to the type of water damage covered. Not only will you have to shoulder some of the cost, you will also have to go through the tedious claims process. >Water damage can create structural damage, attract carpenter ants and termites, cause carpet damage, and invite the growth of dangerous mold. It’s important to remember that homeowner’s insurance companies will closely review the circumstances surrounding water damage claims. It will often pay for sudden accidents that couldn’t have been predicted. If they find that you were at fault for failing to properly maintain your home, you may be left holding the bill.
When it comes to water damage, the best treatment is prevention. Here are seven steps you can take to proactively prevent water damage from ruining your home:
1. Monitor Your Water Bill
There are so many hidden areas in your home where a leak can spring, it may be difficult to detect them. A spike in your water bill is a good indication that you may have a leak under your floor or behind a wall. To monitor and avoid water damage, keep close track of your bill and proactively investigate any noticeable changes.
2. Clean Out Downspouts and Gutters
Downspouts and gutters are made to keep water away from your home. They can’t do their jobs unless they are properly maintained.
Downspouts should be directed five to ten feet away from your house and should be cleaned at least twice a year to ensure proper water flow.
Gutters can’t work properly if they are clogged with sticks, leaves, and other debris. Clogged gutters can direct rain into the foundation of your home. This can cause damage to the foundation, to the siding, and can cause flooding in the basement.
Take the time to clean gutters and downspouts regularly. If necessary, hire a professional to do it for you. This can typically be done for a nominal cost of $50 to $250.
The cost of maintenance is well worth it when you consider the expense associated with water damage. If your foundation deteriorates to the point where it needs to be stabilized and repaired, you may end up spending $15,000 to $40,000.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Yard
Watch out for trees and plants that grow invasive roots. When planting outdoor vegetation, make sure to stay away from pipes, water lines, septic tanks, and your sprinkler system. If shrubs or trees have grown into dangerous territory, you may need to consider removing them.
In locations where the temperature falls below freezing, be sure to disconnect your outdoor water hoses. Not only can frozen water ruin your hose, it can cause your pipes to burst. Burst pipes can cause cracks in the foundation and damage to the walls and floor.
The yard should be designed so it slopes away from the house. This will help to direct rain in the right direction. If this isn’t done properly, water can pool under the floor, crack masonry, and cause leaks.
When water seeps into your home it creates damp conditions. This can lead to mold damage, attract insects, and cause rotting.
4. Regularly Inspect Your Appliances
Make it a habit to periodically check appliances like the dishwasher, refrigerator, and under-sink water filters. Washing machine hoses can become dry and brittle.
A burst hose in the middle of the night can cause a lot of damage before you notice the problem. Make sure you know where your water main is located so you can shut it off quickly in case of an emergency.
5. Take Good Care of Your Pipes
There is no safe way to pour grease down your drain. Diluting it with hot or cold water does not keep it from solidifying and blocking pipes.
Cutting grease with dish soap may help, but it can still result in clogs. Save yourself the headache and simply wait for grease to cool and then pour it into the trash.
When clogs happen, it’s best to avoid treating them with chemicals. Although chemical drain cleaners are convenient, they can damage your pipes and open you up for potential leaks. Drain snakes are an inexpensive and effective option.
6. Check Your Sump Pump Regularly
Your sump pump saves the day when severe storms arise. The time that you actually need it the most is not when you want to find out it’s not working.
Your sump pump should be tested at least annually. During the rainy season, you would be well-advised to check it even more often. If it’s in your budget, purchase a backup-up pump or a generator for greater protection.
7. Minimize Water Damage by Fixing Problems Right Away
Nobody wants to deal with that annoying drip under the cabinet, but waiting to address it can cause you major problems. If you notice a leak or dripping pipes, do not put off the repair. The faster you take care of the problem, the less likely you are to have any long-term damage.
Regularly inspect your ceiling for any dark spots, especially after severe storms. Look closely under your sink cabinets and beware of toilets that aren’t secured tightly to the ground. These are the types of leaks that can lead to structural damage.
Check your roof at least once a year and after every major storm. Shingles that have come loose, are damaged, or missing make your home vulnerable to water damage. Don’t forget to inspect the flashing and fix any caulk that may have cracked.
If you already have water damage in your home, you may need professional water damage mitigation. Like a toothache, water damage is a problem that will only get worse the longer you wait to address it. Contact us today to learn how we can help.