10 Sep 10 Tips to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home
Despite the extreme weather we’re facing in Canada, many homeowners are not protecting themselves adequately against water damage. According to J.D. Power, more and more Canadians are filing home insurance claims for damage caused by major catastrophic events. These events include burst river banks that trigger flooding, sewer back-ups and water main breaks, as well as torrential rain that damages roofs and windows. Although it’s impossible to control Mother Nature, we can take some simple steps to prevent water damage in our homes. Read on for a list of precautions you can take to protect your property.
Tip #1: Maintain your roof
When it comes to protecting your home from water damage, it’s crucial to maintain your roof. A damaged roof can lead to problems in other areas of the home, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. A leaky roof will allow water to enter your house and accumulate behind the walls. Moisture can cause mould, bacteria, and fungus growth, which can affect your health.
At least twice a year, do a visual check of your roof. Look for shingles that are cracked, curling, or missing. Any of these signs could be a warning that your roof needs repair or replacement. It’s more cost-effective to invest money in your roof now rather than pay for expensive repairs to other parts of your home down the line.
Tip #2: Check your slope
When a home is properly graded, water can be redirected away from your foundation walls. This will prevent pooling around your home, which will keep your property dry. Try to maintain a minimum of a five-degree slope away from your house on all sides.
Checking your slope is easy. Just measure a straight line out six feet from your foundation wall. Then make sure the ground at that location is about six inches lower than the ground at the wall. If you need to regrade your land, you’ll have to add fill near the foundation and tamp it down.
Tip #3: Extend your downspouts
Downspout extensions are an effective way to direct rainwater further away from your home. Extensions can be purchased cheaply from your local hardware store. Simply attach it to the end of your downspout and make sure it extends at least six feet away from the house.
Tip #4: Use rain barrels to collect water
Consider putting a rain barrel underneath your roof’s downspout to collect water. This will prevent water from pooling around the foundation and seeping into your basement. Rainwater is fabulous for watering your lawn and garden — and will help save a ton of money on your water bills too!
Tip #5: Drain your exterior taps
Leftover water in your exterior taps can freeze and burst your pipes in the winter months. Be sure to drain everything once the cold weather sets in. Here’s the best way to do this:
- Detach and drain your garden hose
- Close the shut-off valve to each outdoor tap
- Open the outdoor faucet and allow residual water to drain out of the pipe
If your lawn has an automatic sprinkler, don’t forget to shut it down for the winter. The system should be closed down by mid-November.
Tip #6: Know where your main water valve is located
During an emergency, it’s important to know where to shut down the main water supply to your home. If a pipe bursts, you must immediately turn off the water supply. This will stop the flow of water until you can get a professional plumber to repair the issue.
Tip #7: Check your hot water tank
A leaky hot water tank can be disastrous for your home. As water seeps out, it can damage your floors and create mold along your baseboards. Have your tank inspected regularly for any deficiencies. And if it’s 10 years or older, it may be time to have it replaced. If you’re in the market for a new hot water tank, consider a tankless system. They never run out of hot water and last up to 10 years longer than traditional heaters.
Tip #8: Inspect your sump pump
Hire a professional like HMS Plumbing to inspect your sump pump. Make sure the valve is functioning smoothly. The system should be pumping water out of the sump pit and not bringing it back into your basement.
Tip #9: Upgrade your washing machine hoses
Many washing machines still use rubber hoses. If your appliance is one of them, consider upgrading your hoses to stainless steel models. Rubber hoses are a common cause of water damage because they tend to deteriorate more quickly. If you live in a newer home with a laundry room on the main or upper level, the damage could be detrimental. Your insurance claim could end up being more costly too. Inspect your hoses often and replace them immediately if you notice any cracks or other damage.
Tip #10: Protect your home if away for extended periods of time
If you’ll be away from home for more than a few days at a time, turn off the main water supply and drain your pipes before leaving. Many insurance policies have guidelines you must follow when leaving your home unattended. It’s important to know these rules so you’re covered in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to have a friend or neighbour check on your house regularly to make sure nothing is out of order while you’re away.
By taking a few simple precautions during the year, you can ensure your property is well-protected from water damage. If in doubt, hire a professional plumber to inspect your home for potential issues before they come up.
For more information on water damage, please call HMS Plumbing at 1-877-317-5593 or contact us here.