Effective water damage prevention is always preferable to dealing with the expensive consequences after the fact. Insurance claims for home water damage now average over $10,000 per incident and a typical home is seven times more likely to incur losses due to water than from theft or fire. A few very basic principles of water damage prevention, however, can help tilt the odds in your favor to avert many incidents or, at least, minimize losses if one should occur.
Check for Leaks
Effective water damage prevention is proactive. Conduct a semi-annual inspection of potential water damage suspects inside your house.
- Plumbing supply lines. Anywhere you can see them—under sinks, in the basement or crawl space, in bathrooms—inspect plumbing for signs of seepage or leaks. Any evidence of leakage from water supply lines whatsoever is a serious red flag that should be reported to a plumber.
- Water heater. Water heater tanks often begin leaking due to internal corrosion after 10 years or earlier. Minor leakage is often the precursor of a total tank rupture, typically resulting in major water damage averaging over $4,000. Timely water damage prevention means replacing water heaters before they fail.
- Appliances. For maximum water damage prevention, replace rubber washing machine hoses now with braided stainless steel lines. Also, look for leakage at the joint where the water supply line connects to the refrigerator ice maker. Use a flashlight to check under the dishwasher for evidence of leaky hoses or components.
Confirm the Shutoff Valve
Know the location of the home’s main water shutoff valve. Test the valve twice a year to make sure it turns freely in the event of an emergency. If it becomes difficult to operate, have a plumber check it out.
Call in the Pros
Don’t delay summoning professional help. For every hour that passes, water seeps deeper into the structure of the house and the status quo worsens exponentially. Keep critical contact info on hand to make two calls immediately: one to inform your homeowner’s insurance agent and another to summon certified professional water damage recovery services.