Water damage to your home can be catastrophic, believe me I know. I once knew a couple that lived in an older home and both worked third shift jobs. They returned home one morning to find that their kitchen had been completely flooded. The sad thing is it could have been prevented, if they had only done some basic preventive maintenance.
Do not allow your pipes to freeze.
This little bit of maintenance can save you from huge plumbing bills. It’s as simple as wrapping your pipes with some insulation or a heating tape. For anyone living in an older home with copper piping, it may be necessary to replace some of this with white PVC pipe. Even then, you should still wrap your pipes, especially those of you living in harsh winter climate areas. When cold weather sets in, leaving your faucets dripping a bit will help as well.
Make sure all gutters and downspouts are in place and not damaged.
At least twice a year, more if you live in storm prone areas, you should check your gutters and downspouts for damage. Rainwater runs off your roof into your gutters and then into your downspouts, which direct the water away from your home. If your spouts and gutters are clogged, missing or damaged, this can cause damage to not only your foundation (possibly leaking into your basement), but also to your roof (if the gutter is clogged).
Install a sump pump in your basement.
This tip is for those of you whose basement consistently has pooling water issues. Installing a sump pump allows you to either keep the water out of your basement, or can allow you to keep the water away from your foundation. If you have issues with water in your basement, you should at least find out why water is coming in through your basement. This could be attributed to those clogged or missing downspouts.
Inspect your hot water heater.
This is why my kitchen flooded. I neglected to check the water heater in an older home and just took the owners word that it worked and was like brand new. Periodically check your valves and hoses on your hot water heater for rust or leaking. Leaking, over time can cause rust, and these two together can ruin a hot water heater. Rust can eat a hole through the tank if left untreated. Leaking valves can leave water stains and if not found, can rot the wood causing mold and other expensive, nasty things.
Periodically check dishwasher hoses and connections.
If you have a dishwasher that is not properly stabilized, the jostling and motion of a running dishwasher can loosen hoses. It is important to check these connections to avoid any sudden gushes of water coming into your kitchen. Keeping the hoses and connections tight to avoid any leaking from occurring can also prevent you from having a mold problem. The area beneath the dishwasher is a great environment for mold to grow, especially if you use the heat dry setting. If you have a light moldy smell you cannot pinpoint, check your dishwasher, it is quite possible you have loose fittings.
Using these five tips, you can save yourself a lot of heartache, as well as money on your homeowner’s insurance.
Vic Roberts is Vice President and Co-Owner of Right Way Restoration. Right Way is an IICRC restoration company based in Atlanta, Ga. but provides services nationwide throughout the continental United States. Right Way specializes in water restoration, mold remediation, fire and smoke restoration, sewage cleanup, trauma and crime scene cleanup, odor restoration, disaster relief, flood damage cleanup, storm damage cleanup, and emergency response.