Your home is your sanctuary, and it’s also a significant investment. Water is a constant threat that has the potential to do profound damage to your home. Below, we discuss the most common ways water damages homes and how to avoid four common plumbing issues that lead to them.
1. Broken Or Clogged Pipes
Plumbing is necessary for us to live healthy and comfortable lives, but when pipes break or become clogged, thousands of gallons of water could leak into your home. According to one report of the most expensive insurance claims made by homeowners, water damage from plumbing and appliances made up 19% of all claims.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends regularly checking your pipes to make sure they aren’t leaking, dripping, or clogged. Additionally, make sure you know where your shut-off valves are. Labeling them can help you use them quickly to minimize water damage if a leak occurs.
2. Frozen Water Lines
Plumbing issues aren’t limited to leaky pipes and clogged drains. The weather presents its own set of issues, particularly in the winter. Water expands as it freezes, and that means your pipes may burst.
It’s wise to take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing. The American Red Cross recommends adding insulation to unheated spaces, removing and draining outdoor hoses, and draining swimming pool and sprinkler lines before winter.
Once cold weather arrives, leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to enter spaces around pipes. Leaving the cold water dripping also helps keep pipes from freezing. It’s also a good idea to leave your heat on while you’re away and keep it turned up at night.
If your pipes do freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer or heating pad. Do not attempt to use propane, kerosene, blow torches, or similar devices. These pose fire and carbon monoxide risks to you and your family.
3. Appliance Failures
Many of the appliances in our homes use or produce water, including the refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, air conditioner, and hot water heater. If these appliances fail, water can leak into your home.
The Insurance Information Institute suggests checking the hoses leading to your appliances on an annual basis. Replace any that are cracked, and get new hoses every five to seven years.
4. Sump Pump Failure
Homes with basements often have a sump pump. Sump pumps are designed to move water out of your basement and away from your foundation. However, if your sump pump fails, your basement can become flooded.
Since sump pumps run on electricity, a power outage is a common reason for failure. Having a generator can help get you through a power outage.
Sump pumps may also fail if they are the wrong size. Have a professional inspect your sump pump to make sure it can adequately address your home’s needs.
Dirt and debris can also clog your pump. Your sump pump should be serviced every six months to ensure it is working properly.
Getting Help With Water Damage
As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We always recommend taking steps to prevent water damage. However, emergencies happen, and if you experience a leak, we are here to help.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can clean up and repair the damage yourself. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to colonize, putting you and your family at risk. Additionally, if sewage is a problem, bacteria and other pathogens become an immediate concern.
ECOS is here to help. We are on call 24-hours a day and seven days a week. If you are experiencing a leak or suspect water damage, give us a call. We’ll work quickly to minimize the damage done to your home and restore it to a healthy and safe environment.