kitchen flood The high price of ignoring home repairs may make you think twice before having that leaky pipe looked at. Prevention costs can seem pricey, but compared to the average cost of a water damage claim it can save you a ton in the long run. Savings on maintenance are worth the costs when you prevent water damage. Learn more about the warning signs of water damage and best practices for prevention.

Warning Signs of Water Damage

The best way to prevent water damage is to ensure that your home is properly constructed and maintained. Understanding the warning signs of water damage can better help you prevent it or identify it and resolve it before the problem gets worse.

You may want to check in these few places where water intrusion commonly occurs:

  • Windows and doors - Check for peeling paint, which can be a sign of water getting into the wood. Inspect for discolorations in paint or caulking as well as swelling in windows, doorframes and surrounding materials.
  • Foundation - Seal any cracks and holes in external walls, joints, and foundations.
  • Termite-damaged materials - Look at walls, beams, and floors. Any wood exposed to the exterior can potentially lead to moisture intrusion or termite infestation.

Best Practices to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

Repair Damaged Gutters & Roofs

Gutters are often the main source of the problem because they lead to drainage issues - such as water pooling close to your house. Place cement splash pads under downspouts to carry water at least five feet away from your foundation to prevent water damage to your home.

Repair or replace shingles around any area that allows water to penetrate the roof sheathing. Leaks are particularly common around chimneys, plumbing vents, and attic vents.

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Inspect HVAC & Appliances

Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, properly flowing, and unobstructed. If your home has several heating/cooling zones, or large garden tubs/steam showers, designated systems are commonly located in the attic to support these extra amenities.

Faulty appliances are a major factor to water damage, particularly in kitchens and washrooms. AdvantaClean shares how to prevent water damage from your home appliances:

  • If the appliances are improperly installed or leaks are not detected in time, the risk of moisture build-up or a line break greatly increases the chance of water damage
  • Because they are designed to pump very large volumes of water out in a hurry, new appliances such as dishwashers and clothes washers can quickly overload the drainage system in an older home. Therefore, have the drainage checked to confirm that it can handle the additional load.
  • Make sure contractors pay attention to clearances in case you need to remove water heaters and similar appliances in the future. In addition, allow adequate room inside walls so that plumbing repairs will be less difficult. Also, locate water lines in easily accessible areas that extend over the shortest possible distances throughout the home.
  • Consider purchasing your dealer's extended warranty. Periodic checks of an appliance and routine maintenance can help prevent a malfunction that could potentially cause major damage to your home.

Going on Vacation? Take Precaution

Before you head off to vacation for an extended period of time, the best house flood protection is to shut the water off and drain water lines. Shut off the gas to the water heater (or your gas company can do this for you). Also, turn the temperature control to a vacation setting. Don't leave appliances (dishwasher, washing machine or dryer) running when you leave. Check to make sure the toilets aren't running.

Pipe and water line leaks, as well as plumbing fixture leaks - are the most common water damage claims that homeowners will likely experience.

Follow these easy tips to take some extra preventative measures for your home:

  • Install a floor drain for the laundry room and include a separate drain for the clothes washer. Should a problem occur, these drains would help to prevent damage to the rest of the house.
  • Check for leaking faucets, dripping pipes, drains and faulty water drainage systems.
  • If you own a property that is commonly left vacant (like a vacation home or a rental property), consider installing an electronic leak detection/automatic shut off system.

Check out the AdvantaClean blog for more information on home protection and awareness!

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