You have plenty to worry about with home ownership, but keeping on top of potential water problems can save you buckets of money. Even a small leak can become a major problem. It’s important to know that most homeowner policies only cover damage to your home caused by a sudden and accidental water event, like a burst pipe, wind-driven rain or melting snow that seeps into your home after a winter storm.
Water damage caused by poor home maintenance such as overfilled gutters, lack of roof upkeep, condensation buildup due to inadequate ventilation or ignored leaks is generally not covered. That’s why home maintenance can be so crucial in avoiding expensive repairs that may not be covered by your homeowners insurance.
We’d like to share some easy ways to prevent small leaks from turning into huge headaches. Regular home maintenance can help you uncover potential water damage problems before they start. Drips can be sneaky, but we can help you outsmart them.
How to Be a Drip Detective- Learn how to spot water leaks before they turn into a major water damage problem. Don’t be fooled into thinking a minor leak is a minor problem. Even the smallest leaks can turn into costly water bills and result in major damage.
Turn Off the Water and See What Happens-Turn off the main water valve and then check the water meter outside your home. Is it still moving? If so, water is flowing somewhere and it’s time to investigate.
Look at Your Water Bill-A sudden or large fluctuation in your water bill for unknown reasons could be a tip off to one or more water leaks. Even if you don’t see obvious evidence of water damage, a bigger water bill probably means water is leaking somewhere.
Use Water Detection Devices & Gadgets-Water detection gadgets and devices can detect water leaks or failures of appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and sump pumps.
- Most water sensors are inexpensive and battery-powered with an alarm that sounds when water is detected. They’re easy to install yourself. More sophisticated devices can automatically shut off water to an appliance or even to your entire house. Plumbers and electricians are usually needed to install this type of sensor.
- For both washing machines and dishwashers, consider using hoses that are reinforced with stainless steel braiding or mesh, rather than the rubber or plastic hoses that come from the manufacturer. The reinforced hoses only cost a few dollars more. It’s a small price to pay for more peace of mind.
- One of the major causes of leaks and burst pipes in a home is stress and strain from water pressure that is set too high. At most hardware or home improvement stores you can find a simple and inexpensive device called a water pressure gauge. Simply attach it to an outdoor faucet, and then turn the faucet on full force. The gauge will give a reading of your home’s water pressure. If it is above the recommended psi, it will need to be reset by installing a pressure reducing valve, also available at hardware, plumbing supply or home improvement stores. Measuring your home water pressure and installing a pressure reducing valve is a quick do-it-yourself project that can add years of life to your home plumbing.
Check Appliances for Leaks-Appliances are where most water leaks begin. You could prevent thousands of dollars in damage by doing a simple inspection once a year. It only takes about 10 minutes.
- Inspect your washer, dishwasher and other water-related appliances for worn or damaged hoses at least once a year.
- Replace any suspect hoses before they become a major water damage problem.
Check All Around the House-Just because there is no plumbing in a room doesn’t mean there is no chance for water to find its way in. Water gets in from damaged roofs, seeps in through wet foundations, and can appear where you least expect it – especially following a storm. Learn how to check your home for storm damage to help prevent water leaks.
Understand Where Water Damage Begins-Leaks and burst hoses and pipes are the leading cause of water damage in the home. The most common reasons for leaks and bursts are:
- Wear and tear over time
- Water pressure that is set too high, putting stress on household plumbing.
While there are many ways to try to prevent water damage from happening in your home, occasionally some water damage may still occur. So, are you covered? It’s best to know what your insurance policy covers before you need it. Contact our office and we can help you understand what type of water damage is covered by your homeowners insurance policy and when you’re on your own to pay for repairs. Our team is trained to explain your coverage in plain language and we can also help you decide if you need additional flood insurance. Here’s to keeping your home dry!
Source: Safeco Insurance Company