A ceiling drip doesn’t seem like a big problem during a heavy storm. Some quick thinking and a pot will catch the water from soaking into the carpet. But, therein lies a bigger problem… home water damage.
Even the smallest roofing leak could cause unbelievable damage to the home’s foundation. Or, house-wide damage caused by burst plumbing. Having the kids back from college and doubling up on the washing machine is problematic, too.
What’s the best approach to prevent water damage?
This article shares 10 different ways to ease your mind (and wallet) from water damage in your home.
Don’t Get Hosed by Home Water Damage: 10 Must-Do Things to Stay Dry
New Jersey water rates are up there and it doesn’t help that water companies keep spiking the prices. You’re not only looking at home damage from water but a monstrous bill to add insult to injury!
Let’s start with some of the easy preventative tips. Then, get into the tougher (but crucial) ones to stay dry in your home.
- Be Mindful of Water Use
Accidents are a frequent cause of water damage in houses.
This could include:
- Forgetting the water running in the tub or sink
- Kicking rogue ice cubes under the fridge
- Accidentally overflowing the dishwasher via normal soap
Unfortunately, you’re hard-pressed to find an insurance company covering this “flood” damage. The seeping water can warp flooring and cause mildew/mold in neglected areas.
Prevent this form of water damage the easy way: be mindful of your usage.
- Clean the Gutters
Gutter cleaning should match mowing on your list of yard duties. Cleaning them in the spring and fall will suffice. Failure to do so can cause several water problems — including:
- Water running down the side of the home to pool around the foundation
- Build up and rot along the boarding or areas where cracks meet roofing
- Splashing along the exterior features (like windows) causing issues
New Jersey gets its share of heavy rain and snow. Hurricanes happen, too. Take an afternoon to clean the gutters to help prevent water damage.
- Regulate the Humidity
Summertime humidity can jump to the upper 80’s in New Jersey. This, combined with running the dishwasher and bathing or overdoing laundry, can create a build-up in your home leading to potential water damage.
What damage can excess humidity do?
- Encourage mildew and mold growth
- Disrupt air or water flow (also mold)
- Build up and drip along windows and framing
- Slowly soak under flooring or swell older wooden floors
- Damage clothing or food items
You’ll notice excess humidity build up on your windows or smooth surfaces.
Decrease humidity and subsequent water damage by:
- Using a dehumidifier for damp traps
- Airing out enclosed locations (e.g. basement)
- Keeping the air circulating with fans
- Placing houseplants outside
Humidity may not seem like much, but it can and will build up in areas prone to damage like the basement or attic.
- Check the Pipes and Seals
Discover pipe and seal leaks by doing the following:
- Stop all water usage and check the water meter for activity
- Follow along exposed leaks for drips or water buildup
Duct tape provides a handy lifesaver when in a pinch. Wrap duct tape tightly around the pipes and fittings many times to make the leak less severe. This may hold you over until the professionals get there.
- Consider the Plant Life
Homes hooked into the city lines or a septic tank could experience a backup caused by invading roots from plants. This gives you an option to remove the trees/bushes. Or, run new sewer lines.
- Clean the HVAC (and Parts)
A clogged HVAC drain or frozen coil can lead to water damage in houses.
- Clean exterior ventilation and parts with soap and water
- Regularly change the HVAC filter
- Clean and maintain the condensation line
- Verify the drainage lines are properly hooked up
You’ll also want to check the vents and ductwork. Get into the crawlspaces and seal leaky spots using aluminum foil tape.
- Check the Water Heater
A faulty or burst water heater could flood an entire home very quickly.
Prevent water heater damage:
- Regularly inspect and maintain the unit
- Consider replacing older units with modern efficient models
- Listen for noises and watch for discolored water
- Check for water build up or pooling around the unit
Maintenance can mean the difference between an easy fix vs working on the soaked floors!
- Insulate the Pipes
Humidity and moisture will build up around piping causing “sweating” in warm weather. The moisture buildup can also freeze and cause a pipe burst during the harsh winter months! Now the water is leaking behind your home’s walls or spraying out of exposed areas.
Pipe insulation can stop both sweating and freezing — it’s easy to do with:
- Pre-formed and adhesive pipe wrap insulation
- Foam or rubber tube sleeves
Check and clean the pipes before installation to find any leaks. Then, apply the insulation holding it in place with duct tape.
- Head Down into Basement
The basement’s atmosphere increases moisture and buildup with warmer upper-level air. This can lead to mildew/mold and potential slip & fall incidents.
Try the following:
- Place damp catchers or a dehumidifier in the basement
- Check and seal cracks and exposed areas in the foundation
- Replace the sump pumpif damaged or broken
You’ll also want to consider protecting the basement from flooding:
- Extend gutters far away from the foundation
- Check for pooling around exposed areas like a basement window
- Install plumbing for drainage or unclog existing setups
- Patch/Fix the Roof
Leaks in the roof go beyond the direct damage done to its underlying materials.
A leaky roof can:
- Seep into the attic causing structural damage and mold
- Soak between the drywall and paint causing damage and bubbling
- Contact electrical outlets and wiring posing a fire risk
- Damage attic and sidewall insulation causing high utilities and repair costs
- Deteriorate wood structuring leading to a potential collapse
Caulking and sealant can make for a temporary fix. But, don’t let this go on for long! Contact your insurance company to get professionals helping asap.
Got a Big Job? We Can Help!
Home water damage can amount to thousands in repair bills if left unchecked.
Is the task too big or out of control? Our water damage restoration services are available 24/7/365.
Our team of professionals will come to your location to assess the situation and have your home back to normal in no time. Don’t wait, call us.