Weather is the largest cause of loss to homeowner’s insurance policies. What’s the next biggest cause of loss? WATER. Water claims are messy and are going to ruin your day. No one wants to come home to find a flooded room or water dripping from the ceiling so here are some tips to make sure many of these claims never happen. Here are some tips on preventing water damage in your home.
When it comes to water, the biggest culprit in Texas is water heaters. I’m not sure who had the idea to put two 50 gallon water heaters in the attic, but they’re in many homes in the North Texas area. A water heater leak may seem like just a minor nuisance, but it can quickly turn into a big problem. Even a small amount of water will cause damage to your floors, sub-floors, and walls. In extreme cases, a catastrophic and complete water heater failure can cause massive destruction to a home and will lead to hefty repair bills and damaged personal properly. Water heater leaks can also be a health concern due to the growing threat of mold in the damp conditions caused by water damage.
A water heater leak does not shrink or go away with time, in fact, the opposite happens. The longer a leak is allowed to go on, the worse they become. The best way to deal with this issue is through both diligence and prevention. Just a few minutes of your time each month can save a lot of future aggravation.
Preventing Water Damage in Your Home
- Is your water heater out of warranty? If so, it’s a good idea to replace it before a problem occurs. Purchase a water heater with a long warranty, ideally 10-12 years. A new home may come with a standard contractor-grade water heater which may only have a three-year warranty.
- Consider installing an automatic feed water shutoff system. It may seem expensive, but if a problem occurs it will save a lot of time, heartache and money.
- Flush sediment from the hot water tank every six months, especially if your home has hard water.
- Consider going tankless. Tankless water heaters generally have much longer life spans, generally, over 20 years compared with 8-10 years for typical storage water heaters.
Other Water Damage Sources
- Inspect hoses and faucets. Check hoses leading to water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerator icemakers annually. Replace those with cracks or leaks, and replace them all every seven years. Replace rubber and plastic hoses with reinforced stainless steel braided lines.
- Inspect showers and tubs. Check the seal and caulking around showers and tubs and make sure they are watertight. In the bathroom, broken plumbing behind walls can result in water leaking through walls and baseboards. If you have a shower that doesn’t get used very often, run the shower for 3 minutes every 3 months, checking for leaks in adjacent and surrounding walls. If the shower is located on the second floor, inspect the ceiling below for water damage.
- Shut off the water supply to the washing machines while away on vacation. Set the water heaters to “vacation.”
- Know the location of the main water shut-off valve in your home. By knowing where this valve is located and how to shut off the main water supply, you can be prepared for any water problems that may develop. Keep a water key and a shut-off tool on the wall in your garage or hall closet.