Water damage is one of the most costly problems a homeowner can encounter. Even the slightest moisture in nooks and crannies that are supposed to be dry can cause mold, rotting, and even cracking in the foundation of your home. If left undetected, creeping water damage can destroy parts of your home beyond repair, or at least not without blowing up the bank.
Here are some steps you can take to help protect your home (and your finances) from water damage.
Seal doors and windows
Ever heard of the saying, "All the water in the ocean cannot sink a ship until it gets in"? This also applies to your home. If you don't seal the spaces around window panes and door frames, water can easily seep in and destroy your home. Make sure that the seals and weatherstrips on your doors and windows are always in good condition. Otherwise, you can buy foam sealant to fill up any cracks on windows and doors.
Familiarize yourself with your master shutoff valve
A single break in one of your main water pipes can cause significant water damage in a matter of minutes. It is very important that every household member knows where the stopcock is so that at the first sign of a leak they can turn off the water supply. Turn off the plumbing every time you need to leave the house unattended for more than 24 hours. You never know what can happen to your water pipes when you are not home. So it's better to play it safe.
Maintain your gutters and downspouts
A clogged gutter is one of the most common causes of water damage to the roof, ceiling, and exterior cladding. During the rainy season, clean your gutters – including the downspouts – at least once a week to make sure there are no leaves or other debris that could cause an overflow. If you find that water is still running down the side of your house even though the gutter itself is free of debris, some repairs may be in order. Never call a professional gutter company if you find that your gutter needs more than a thorough cleaning.
Check the roof regularly
High winds aren't the only thing that can seriously damage your roof after a severe storm. Even trees and structures nearby can paralyze roof shingles. While roofs are generally tough enough to survive up to 30 years, they need regular maintenance to make sure they can still keep water out of your home. Don't wait until the next rainy season to take care of the roof. Proactively check for damage, as prevention is always cheaper than repair work. Inspecting your roof is just a good habit of maintaining your home anyway in case you want to get involved in energy-saving renovation projects that may have solar panels installed on your roof.
Manage your water pressure
Residential hoses and pipes can break if the water pressure is too high. Fortunately, there are pressure regulators that you can buy at your local hardware store that don't cost too much money. Note that residential water systems can typically hold water pressures up to 70 psi. If your water gauge reads above 100 psi, your pipes are always at risk of breakage. Therefore, controlling your home's water pressure is imperative. If you've installed an irrigation system for your yard, make sure it has a water regulator as well, as drains from the greenhouse (or even a simple lawn installation) can do incredible damage to the main house.
Avoid frost damage
If your water gauge shows a value below 60 psi, a water regulator may not be required. However, there is still a risk of your pipes bursting due to freezing water. You can use a smart thermostat to keep your indoor temperature under control while protecting exposed pipes with snap-on insulators. Any water left in a hose can also break ice blocks back into the pipe. So disconnect the hoses when you are not using them.
Repair leaks immediately
A leaking faucet or washing machine doesn't seem like a big deal at first glance, especially if the dripping is minimal and therefore bearable. However, mold and mildew grow quickly in damp areas before you even notice it. Note that a single leaking faucet can replace over 250 liters of water every week. Imagine how much damage this amount of water can do in a short period of time. Always check your faucets, pipes and water-carrying devices for signs of possible leaks.
Know the tell-tale signs of water damage
Here are some common signs of water damage to look out for:
- Peeling paint / wallpaper
- Black spots around windows / doors
- Musty smell
- Unusually high water bill
- Putrefaction / mold / mildew formation
When it comes to the upkeep of your home, better to be paranoid than not realizing it. While you can't fully predict rain, let alone prevent it, you can at least protect your home and family from water damage by maintaining a largely weatherproof home.