10 Home Maintenance Tips to Prevent Water Damage
With the recent devastation resulting from hurricanes in Texas and Florida, keeping your home safe and dry is probably on your mind. Let’s face it; even though it’s pretty unlikely that Missouri and Illinois would experience hurricanes, there are many other things that can cause flooding and water damage. Learn how to protect your home from water damage before it happens.
1. Keep Your Gutters and Downspouts Clean.
Debris, like leaves, sticks, birds’ nests, and the like, can clog up the gutters and downspouts. What’s meant to be a channel for rain to drain from the rooftop can wind up overflowing, spilling over into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. You know the problems that could cause. Also, make sure your downspouts are located so that the water is directed five to 10 feet away from the house. Take the time to periodically clean out those gutters, or hire someone to do it for you. If your gutters are clean and still overflowing, you may want to install additional downspouts.
Some people choose to install gutter guards to eliminate (or at least reduce) the need to clean out the gutters. Although they can certainly prevent a lot of debris from accumulating, you may still occasionally need to check for debris that sticks in the screens.
2. Placement and Maintenance of Landscaping Is Important.
Some trees and shrubs, like weeping willows, have long, invasive roots that can grow through pipes and plumbing. These types of trees should be placed far away from water lines. You may also want to minimize landscaping near utility pipes. It’s important to keep trees and shrubs around your house trimmed and dead branches removed to avoid them breaking and damaging your home during a storm.
3. Ensure Your Roof Is In Good Shape.
Because most of us don’t regularly inspect our rooftops, wear and tear can occur without our knowledge. It’s a good idea to occasionally check your roof for missing, damaged, and aging shingles. You may be able to repair or replace a few before requiring the entire roof to be replaced. If the roof is leaking, it could result in unseen damage to the attic and insulation that accumulates if not addressed quickly.
4. Check Your Water Bill.
Water pipes are often hidden in ceilings, walls and floors, so you may not even realize you have a leak until it becomes visible (and catastrophic!). Check your water bill each time you receive it for unexpected increases in usage to determine if you need to check deeper for leaks.
5. Disconnect Hoses Outside.
When the weather starts to turn colder, it’s time to disconnect the hoses outside to prevent pipes from freezing. Standing water inside a hose will freeze, extending into the connecting pipe that stops water flow initially. If left that way, the pipes could burst, damaging walls, floors and foundation. Some homeowners choose to install an emergency pressure release valve in their plumbing system to protect against the pressure of freezing pipes.
6. Fix Water Leaks Promptly.
Water leaks, left unattended, lead to further damage to walls and floors, and eventually to mold and mildew. Don’t ignore minor leaks; fix them quickly to avoid the costs of additional repairs. If you notice dark spots under pipes, stains on the ceiling, drips, or rocking toilets—these are signs of leaks that need to be addressed.
7. Don’t Leave Appliances Running.
Don’t leave your dishwasher or washing machine running if no one will be present in the home. If a leak occurs or a hose breaks during the cycle, you’ll want to attend to it immediately to prevent further damage. It’s also wise to shut off the water supply to your washing machine if you plan to be away for several days.
8. Know Where Your Water Main Is!
If you have a pipe burst or have other noticeable water leaks, turning off the home’s water supply will help to prevent further water damage. Make sure you know where the water main shutoff valve is BEFORE these incidents occur. Minutes can mean the difference between major and minor effects.
9. Install Water Detectors.
You can get a water detector that sounds an alarm when it detects moisture. So if you have a leak it will detect it when it’s minor, so that you can investigate it and fix it promptly. Installing them near water heaters, sump pumps, appliances and toilets will help prevent extensive water damage.
10. Check Hoses, Faucets and Caulking.
Perform regular (annual) inspections of sink and tub faucets, as well as hoses leading to water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and ice makers in your refrigerator for any leaks or cracks and repair or replace accordingly. Make sure the caulking around your tubs and showers is sealed tight to avoid water seeping into the walls and floors.
If You Have Water Damage, Call St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration!
Following these tips will go a long way in preventing water damage. However, you can do them and still suffer water damage from faulty appliances or pipes, and especially, from natural disasters, like floods from heavy rain.
Contact St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration immediately if you have water damage. We are available 24/7 for emergencies, because we know the devastating effects of excess water, if not addressed promptly. We will respond quickly and efficiently to prevent further damage.