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How to Protect Your Home from the Horrors of H2O

by Leonaro Dawson on Oct 10, 2013

The Flow of Water

If you don’t live close to the water, you may believe that you are relatively safe from water damage to your home.  However, this is not necessarily the case. Water damage results in more home insurance claims than burglary or fire.

Water damage does not result only from hurricanes, floods or other catastrophic events. Heavier than average rainfall can also cause significant water damage, especially to your home’s roof and basement. Plumbing leaks associated with household appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers can also result in serious water damage. Regardless of the source, water damage repair should be done as soon as possible after the flow of water has been stopped.

However, the best way to minimize water damage to your home is to prevent it. By following a few strategies, you can minimize the risk of water damage to your home. Most of these strategies require little effort and cost no money.

1. Check faucets and hoses annually.  Check hoses leading to your washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator for cracks, splits or water drips. Replace the hoses whenever you purchase new appliances. You should replace hoses to your appliances every five to seven years, even if you do not replace the appliances themselves.

2. Check showers and bathtubs for leaks.  If your bathroom is located on an upper floor, leaks from your shower or bathtub can cause damage to the ceiling in the room immediately below. If there are cracks in the caulk, don’t guess whether the cracks will leak; replace the caulk. For a few dollars and a bit of effort with a caulk gun, you can prevent water damage to the floor in your bathroom.

3. Locate your water main and learn how to shut it off. In case of a pipe burst in your home, knowing where your water main is located and turning it off quickly can mean the difference between aggravation and a disaster.  This is because shutting off the water main will usually turn off the flow of water in your home completely. Label your water main with tags so that it stands out.

4. Install floor pans under your appliances.   Much water damage results in slow leaks that are not detected until after they have done a great deal of damage. Floor pans represent a low-tech way to protect your home from slow leaks. While floor pans cannot prevent leaks, they can prevent undetected slow leaks from saturating the floor underneath your appliances with water.

5. Purchase point of leak water alarms. Nearly every home and the apartment is equipped with smoke detectors – why not install a water alarm as well? Water alarms detect water accumulation and sound warnings to inform you of possible water damage. Water alarms can be placed in your basement, laundry room, kitchen and hear your sump pump or water heater – anywhere that water damage may potentially occur.

6. Invest in a water flow monitoring system.  A water flow monitoring system protects your entire home from potential water damage. The water flow system is attached to your water main and measures water flow intake. If larger than normal water flow intake is detected, the water flow monitoring system stops the water flow entirely, allowing you to address any potential problems before significant damage is done.

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