Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a WET house or business. It can damage walls and flooring and ruin irreplaceable things like photo albums, family heirlooms and computers with valuable data and so much more. Knowing the causes of wet homes or business and how to prevent water damage can help avoid this frustration.
Water damage can occur from flooding after days of heavy rain or even when the sun is shinning leaving your property soaked. Whether the culprit is too much rain, a broken plumbing pipe, or a leaking roof, the damage can be devastating and costly.
Where does all the water come from?
Some of the most common trouble spots are:
- Common sources for water damage include water heaters, clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators and air conditioning units.
- The age of the appliance is a major factor. For example over time, water heaters rust on the bottom and can then leak.
Pipes and Drains
- Plumbing systems are susceptible to clogs and stoppages, which can lead to overflowing appliances such as toilets, sinks and clothes washers.
- Grease buildup in kitchen sinks, lint accumulation in clothes washers and roots in sewer lines are some of the reasons for clogs and stoppages.
- In the winter, pipes can freeze, burst and damage the building and the occupants’ personal property.
- Deteriorated, missing or damaged roofing materials, and ice dams can allow water to enter through the roof and damage ceilings, walls and floors.
- Inadequate attic insulation and ventilation can speed up a roof’s decay and contribute to the formation of ice dams in the winter.
Inspect your building
- It doesn’t take a lot of effort to prevent damage from water.
- A regular inspection and maintenance schedule for the exterior building structure and interior appliances and fixtures may help reduce or prevent costly water damage.
Check the exterior and common areas
- A professional roofing contractor should promptly repair deteriorated or damaged roofing materials.
- Deteriorated soffits, siding, trim or flashing may allow water to enter the structure.
- Gutters, eaves and downspouts that are free of debris will allow water to drain freely.
- Downspouts should extend away from the building to carry water away from the foundation.
- Adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic can extend the life of the roof and reduce the chance of ice dams that can cause water to back up under roofing.
- Attic insulation should be in good shape and attic vents clear.
- Dampness or standing water in basements and crawl spaces may be evidence of a plumbing leak or improper drainage.
- Insulate water pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures or drafts, such as those located in garages and basements, to help reduce the chance of leaks from frozen pipes.
- Disconnect the outside hose connections each fall to help minimize the chance of burst pipes due to freezing.
Check the interior
- Look for signs of existing leaks on ceilings, walls, floors and near appliances that use water.
- Make sure hose connections are secure on water supply lines to washing machines, icemakers, dishwashers and other appliances that use water.
- Re-caulk and re-grout around sinks, showers and tubs.
- Leaking shower pans and loose or missing tiles should be repaired.
- Check and replace washing machine hoses regularly, especially if there are signs of cracking, bulging or other deterioration.
- Follow the recommended maintenance procedures for all appliances and equipment. This includes periodically draining a portion of the water out of the water heater to flush out the sediment in the bottom of the tank. (Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)
- Regular maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor will help keep air conditioner pan drain lines clear of deposits that can clog the line.
- When the weather turns frigidly cold, a trickle of water from both hot and cold faucets may help prevent frozen pipes. Another good idea is to open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- A drip pan can be placed under the hot water heater so that small leaks will be contained and damage to the floor is minimized or prevented.