How to prevent WATER DAMAGE In Your Home
THE AVERAGE HOME can be a ticking bomb when it comes to water damage. Water damage is costly, inconvenient, and can cause health problems if ignored. Use this handy CHECKLIST to prevent water damage and identify problem areas BEFORE they become a reality! Most of these can be done yourself, but don’t hesitate to call in a professional if necessary…
- BATHROOM: Check tub and shower stall seals. Look for cracked tiles or grout where water can seep in. Replace and re-grout if needed. Check around the toilet for tight seals, and inspect for rust. Check under sinks for leaks. Check for flooring that feels soft, which indicates structural damage.
- LAUNDRY ROOM: Inspect for tiny leaks in the hot and cold water connections, and repair even the most minor leaks. Check for hose kinks or cracks, and replace if brittle or old. Check hose clamps. Keep the area clean and dry to prevent mold. Make sure the dryer vent is tightly connected to the outside vent. Check under the utility sink for leaks.
- KITCHEN: Check for any moisture under or behind the refrigerator and fix immediately. Check for leaks in the icemaker supply line and replace immediately. Check connection and quality of hoses in the dishwasher, and replace if damaged, or tighten connections. Check under sinks and around the kitchen backsplash for leaks. Recaulk if necessary.
- UTILITY ROOM: Inspect the water heater tank for rust. Look for signs of dampness in the area around the tank. Keep the drain pan or pipe clean and free flowing.
- ATTIC: Make sure the insulation is clean and dry. Check for daylight showing through the roof. Check for musty smells, which indicate moisture and possible mold growth.
- PLUMBING: Examine hoses and pipes to all appliances for water leaks, and replace if cracked or worn. Check pressure at an outside faucet with water pressure gauge (available at most home improvement or hardware stores); ideal water pressure is 60-80 psi. Keep your pipes healthy. Find out why your plumbing system acts the way it does, and how problems can be remedied. (You don’t want a sewer backup!) In mobile homes, wrap water pipes with heat tape, and make sure it’s plugged in!
- BASEMENT or CRAWLSPACE: Prevent water damage during rainy seasons by testing your sump pump periodically to make sure it is functioning properly. (Sometimes they’re unplugged!) Make sure your interior walls are dry. Check basement ceilings under bathrooms, kitchens or laundry areas for signs of mold, staining or other signs of uncontrolled moisture. Use plastic ground cover or a vapor barrier in your crawlspace to prevent mold growth or structural damage. REMOVE any materials in your crawlspace (cardboard, sheetrock, wood, paper, garbage, etc.) that could become a food source for mold. Keep this area clean!
- AIR CONDITIONER: Make sure there is no standing water present and that the pan drains freely, sloping toward the hole for the condensate drain line. If the line drains outside, position it away from the foundation.
- ROOF: Check the roof on a regular basis, especially after a storm or severe weather event. Make sure chimney flashing is smooth and intact. Replace worn, curled or missing shingles. Make sure anything that passes through the roof (skylights, vents, etc.) are well sealed.
- GUTTERS and DOWNSPOUTS: Keep gutters free from debris and check for signs of wear. Extend downspouts to direct water toward lower ground to protect foundation walls. Purchase and install shields if your gutters routinely fill with twigs and leaves. Adjust the slope if there is standing water in the gutter.
- EXTERIOR WALLS: Check for broken, cracked or warped siding, especially after a storm. Check for cracks in brick, stucco or other masonry. Fix any damaged hose bibs. Check seals on any exposed wall penetrations (wiring, plumbing, TV cable, etc.) and reseal if necessary. Regularly maintain your siding’s finish (paint, stain, masonry, etc.).
- DOORS and WINDOWS: Maintain good weather seals. Repair or replace loose or damaged window flashing. Reseal and recaulk if necessary.
- LANDSCAPING: Always slope landscaping away from the house. Direct sprinkler away from the walls of the house. Keep tree limbs away from the house or windows to prevent storm damage.