Water is constantly coursing through your home, flowing in and out of drain pipes, sinks, tubs, and showers. Numerous systems in our homes are dependent upon water, but the minute it runs rampant it begins to cause damage. The consequences of water damage run the gamut, from rotted drywall and mold growth to serious structural issues. The following guide will help you understand what you can do to prevent water damage in your home.
Leaks soften wood, which invites all sorts of unwanted activity from termites, while simultaneously creating a perfect habitat for mold and mildew growth. To prevent leaks, keep your drains healthy by frequently cleaning out your drain strainers and refraining from dumping grease down your drains. Check to make sure none of your drains are leaking and if need be, repair or replace your p-traps. Drips, dark stains around your pipes, and discoloration on your ceilings and walls are all strong indicators that a leak has sprung. If you notice an inexplicable spike in your water bill, this is also a sign of a potential leak. By identifying these signs, you can begin repairs right away and stop the water damage in its tracks.
A home with weak gutter drainage is an open invitation for water damage to occur. Cleaning your gutters routinely is the best way to prevent them from clogging, which helps to avoid damage to your siding and foundation. Make sure your downspouts expel the gutter water away from your house parallel to the ground. Take a trip to the hardware store for downspout extensions and elbows to make sure that water won’t build up around your home’s foundation, especially if you live in a rainy climate.
Your sump pump can be your saving grace should a water emergency occur. Sump pumps move excess groundwater away from your home, preventing it from infiltrating your basement or crawl space. They are connected to the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) electrical outlet, which protects it from electrical shorts. There are two ways to test your sump pump. The first is by pouring in enough water to raise the float. If it’s working properly, the pump should activate and begin removing water from its pit. The other method is to unplug the pump’s power and plug it back in. If it does not turn on, it requires repair or replacement.
There are some additional steps you can take to prevent water damage to your home. Inspect your roof to identify any damaged shingles or cracks. While you’re up on the roof, take a look at your chimney. Repair any cracked or broken bricks and consider a chimney cap if you don’t already have one in place.
Water damage can be harmful to your home and your finances. Even the smallest leak can snowball into larger problems if neglected. By following the steps to prevent water damage, you’ll know if your home needs repairs before it’s too late. For more advice on preventing damage to your home, read our guides to wildfire and winter storm prevention.