Water damage can happen when you least expect it. From leaky roofs, to pin leaks in your pipes to leaking plumbing from your toilet, these are just a few of the sneaky culprits of water damage in your home. Luckily, there are things homeowners can do to prevent water damage from occurring in their home.
1. Maintain your roof in good condition. Corrosion or deterioration of your roof, wind or hail damage or improper installation of vents, flues, chimneys, air conditioners, evaporative coolers or condensers can all result in roof leaks. Fix, patch, replace roofs as necessary.
2. Frequently inspect gutters and downspouts. Keep these clean, free from clutter and ensure good working condition.
3. Ensure that your irrigation system is in excellent working order. An external leak in an irrigation system can quietly waste more than 100 gallons (378.5 L) of water each day.
4. Check windows for signs of water damage. A water stain around windows or at the bottom of exterior doors show that water is getting in from the outside. Make sure all windows and doors are tightly sealed. If any signs of water damage are spotted, windows should be replaced and the damaged area restored. Repair or replace caulk, weather stripping, glazing, window seals, door seals or any other exterior area damaged by use, abuse or normal weathering. Examine your exterior siding and replace any missing or damaged fasteners or screws. Repair or replace punctured siding.
5. Frequently inspect appliances to ensure working order. Refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines are usual culprits of causing water damage. Frequent checks to make sure seals are in good condition, water lines and ice makers are working well can help you spot problems before a flood occurs.
6. Replace the rubber water supply hoses to you clothes washer with metal braided ones. They have a much longer shelf life.
7. Check for interior structural problems. Spongy beams or rafters may be a warning of structural problems as a result of water damage. Spotting these in time may save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
8. Keep your relative humidity below 55%. Invest in a good Relative Humidity Meter as well as a portable dehumidifier with a humidity control. Choose one that shuts off automatically when the collector pan is full.
9. Look for signs of leaks or cracks in water damage hospitable locations. Areas like under your sinks, your attic, behind the water heater, washing machine and your bathroom toilets are good places for one to find leaking pipes. Fix all water leaks, leaky pipes, wall cracks and leaky plumbing.
10. Perform a toilet test. Use food coloring to determine whether your toilet has a leak. Remove the tank lid and flush. After it refills, add several drops of dark food coloring. Wait at least 20 minutes and if any trace of color appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
11. If necessary, take a water flow test. If you’ve checked for signs of water damage, but still suspect you have a leak, take a water flow test. Shut off all sources of water to your house, inside and out, and locate your water meter. The red triangle or flow indicator at the top will tell you when water is passing through it. If the flow indicator or the sweep hand is moving, you may have a leak. Use the process of elimination to determine where the leak is coming from. Shut of one toilet, go to the meter and see if the red triangle is moving. If it stopped moving, that toilet is the culprit. If not, turn the toilet back on and shut off another. Continue in this manner checking all high risk water sources including toilets, sprinkler system water softener, air conditioner, ice machine, etc. If you shut off the main water valve to your home and the meter is still moving, the leak may be between the shutoff valve and the water meter.