According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage accounts for 50% of all property damage. Burst pipes or undetected leaks can cause serious damage to furniture, ceilings, walls, floor, artwork and other valuables. Preventing water damage is extremely important for homeowners and more cost effective than paying for repairs. Here are 9 maintenance tips to help you prevent water damage.
Get rid of blockages
Properly discard grease after cooking. Grease accumulation inside drainpipes is a major, yet surprisingly common plumbing problem.
To unclog your kitchen sink, try the following:
- Straighten a wire hanger and use it to snake down the drain to push clogged objects through.
- Mix baking soda and salt and pour it down the drain. Let it sit and then rinse.
- Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain. Follow with hot water.
- Use a plunger
Monitor your water bills
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your monthly water bills. Most water pipes are hidden from plain sight and a leak could go undetected for weeks if not months. If you see any drastic changes on your water bills, have your pipes inspected for leaks.
Clean out roof gutters
A clogged gutter will send cascades of water down the side of your house, damaging your sidings and foundation. Common causes of clogged gutters are sticks, leaves, birds’ nests, and the like. When water isn’t able to run cleanly through gutters, it causes three costly problems for homeowners:
- Stagnant water will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- The foundation may begin to chip away and can be expensive to fix.
- Finally, it may cause your home’s siding to rot.
Be careful of what you plant
Some plants and trees have invasive root systems. A good example are weeping willows. If you aren’t careful, they’ll grow right into your pipes, drainage field, and sprinkler system. Trees without invasive root systems include: kousa dogwood, red tip photinia, southern sugar maple, trident maple, and American hornbeam.
Don’t leave appliances running
Don’t leave your washing machine or dishwasher running if no one is at home. Washing machines are one of the most common sources of water damage in the home. Follow these tips to prevent water damage by dishwashers and washing machines:
- Check the hoses for cracks, blisters or kinks, which are most commonly found near the hose connection.
- Ensure that the connection to the valve is secure, but avoid over-tightening.
- Inspect the water supply line hoses every six months.
- Turn supply valves off when not in use.
Inspect your toilet
Toilet flanges, supply lines or toilets that backed up and overflowed cause about 80% of water damage incidents from toilets. Water damage from toilets costs $2,000 to $10,000 per incident.
Follow these tips to prevent water damage from toilets:
- Test the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off
- Ensure the connection to the valve is secure
- Inspect the supply line every six months
- Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the toilet every six months
- If the bowl or tank begins to overflow, turn off the water at the supply valve and contact a plumber.
Fix water leaks promptly
Here are some interesting facts on water leaks:
- Common types of household leaks include worn toilet flappers and dripping faucets.
- Around 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
- Each year, household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons countrywide.
- Each year, average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water.
Signs of leaks include rocking toilets, drips, stains in ceilings, and dark spots under pipes. If you notice these, call in a professional immediately.
Protect your pipes from freezing
Frozen water pipes can burst and cause major problems if they aren’t dealt with immediately. To help protect your pipes from freezing, open cabinets to allow for warm air near the pipes and let the water drip from faucets.
By preventing water damage and protecting your house, you are being proactive. Use these 9 tried and tested maintenance tips to prevent costly water damage repairs.
This article was contributed by Granite Foundation Repair. Granite Foundation Repair services the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area.