Tips on Preventing Water Damage to Home

Water damage is not a good feeling for a homeowner.

This next blog will go into detail about how to prevent water damage from taking place. We will also discuss the installation of a water monitoring system that can alert you to a water leak before it becomes damaging. From gutters, to sump pumps, and leaks around the home, this blog will educate you on what to look for and how to fix it properly.

#1. Ensure Good Drainage

How to do it:

  • Clean your gutters routinely. A clogged gutter will send cascades of water down the side of your house, damaging your siding and foundation.
  • Try to make sure your gutters are clean each time it rains, or invest in a guaranteed gutter protection system.
  • Ensure your downspouts direct water 6 to 10 feet away from your house.
  • Make sure your yard is sloped at least 6 inches over a 10-foot span away from your foundation. That slope keeps water from getting down right next to your foundation, where it could cause walls to lean, crack the masonry, and create leaks. (For crawl spaces, keeping water away makes sure excess water doesn’t pool underneath your floor, making for damp conditions that encourage mold, rot, and insects.)
  • But don’t let the soil get too dry, either. Long dry spells let the soil around your house dry out and shrink. A big rain may make the soil expand, putting pressure on your foundation walls. In a drought, run a soaker hose at least 6 inches from the foundation and 3 inches under the soil to keep the soil from contracting and expanding.

#2. Test Your Sump Pump Regularly

  • Why it matters: Sump pumps come to life during storms. That’s not when you want to realize yours is not’t working properly. You should check it at least once a year, and ideally perform several checks during heavy storm seasons.
  • How to test your sump pump:
    • Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water.
    • Watch for the “float” (similar to the float in your toilet) to rise, which should turn on the pump.
    • Then watch to make sure the water level falls.
  • Test your backup pump the same way, but unplug the main pump first.
  • If you don’t have a backup pump — or a generator — and are on municipal water, get one that runs on water pressure.
  • If you’re on well water, your only option is the battery kind.

#3. Check for Water Leaks and Fix Them

Why it matters: Persistent leaks lead to mold and mildew, rot, and even termites and carpenter ants (they like chewing soggy wood, since its soft). Yet if you fix a leak soon after it starts, there may be no long-term damage at all.

             How to check for leaks:

  • Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings toilets that rock, and of course drips.
  • At least once a year, inspect your roof.
    • Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles.
    • Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around the flashing.
Possibly Getting a Water Sensor System to help prevent water damage:

“Catastrophic floods may grab all the headlines, but more common water damage from plumbing systems end up costing homeowners, renters, and landlords billions of dollars every year1. Plumbing problems (including leaking or damaged tubs, toilets showers and burst pipes), leaky roofs, washing machines, water heaters, and frozen pipes result in thousands of people of water damage insurance claims annually. Even with an annual plumbing inspection, careful routine maintenance, and emergency planning, you can’t be everywhere water might make an unannounced, unwelcome—and potentially very expensive—appearance. That’s one reason thousands of homeowners, renters, and landlords have turned to water alarm systems of widely varying cost and complexity. These systems promise to alert you to potential water damage before it hits your wallet, but do they consistently stem disaster’s tide?”

Preventing water damage may take time. Be sure to maintain, fix, adjust or add on these tips to your home, it could save you big bucks down the road in fixing.