Each year, about 1 in 50 homeowners will file an insurance claim to repair water damage at their house. While insurance companies can and will help pay for the cost of repairs, no homeowner wants to have to pay the deductible to initiate that claim.
Believe it or not, water damage is something that’s relatively easy to prevent in most cases. You just need to know how to protect your home the right way.
Use these simple tips to help you keep your house safe from water damage throughout the year.
1. Check Your Roof for Damage
Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. When it’s damaged, water and moisture can soak into the materials and eventually make it into your attic.
The best way to protect your home from water damage is to inspect your roof after every severe storm. Walk around your yard and look for any missing roofing materials. If you notice bare patches on the roof or see that your shingles aren’t lying flat against the roofline, call your roofer.
If the damage gets fixed quickly, you won’t be at risk for water damage.
2. Get Your Plumbing Inspected Annually
Leaks don’t just happen in your roof. They can happen inside your walls and those hidden leaks can do serious damage long before you catch them.
The best thing you can do is get your plumbing inspected at least once a year. During these appointments, your plumber will check the condition of your pipes, the fittings, and the water main to make sure everything is in good shape.
If they notice any damage or weak points, they’ll be able to make the necessary repairs before the damage turns into a major leak.
Keep in mind that you’ll still want to call your plumber anytime you discover an active leak or clog in your pipes. Trying to fix the damage yourself could end up making things worse.
3. Be Mindful of Cold Temperatures
Your pipes should have some type of insulation against the cold weather, but that insulation may not be enough to keep them safe when the temperatures drop. Start paying attention to the overnight lows and take the necessary precautions to protect your pipes from cold weather.
Keep your thermostats set at least to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and wrap any exposed outdoor pipes with blanket pipe insulation. This will help keep the water inside from freezing.
According to the experts at this Cincinnati water damage company, frozen pipes can explode and release gallons of water into your home. Ruptured pipes can do hundreds of dollars of damage to your home’s exterior.
Though your homeowner’s insurance policy will likely help cover the cost of the repairs, you’ll still be without water to your home for a few hours at least. Keeping an eye on the weather will help you avoid those costly water damage repairs throughout the colder months.
4. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters catch runoff from your roof and send that rain and snow to a designated drainage area away from your home. But those gutters also catch whatever plant matter is on your roof.
Over time, they can fill with debris, creating clogs. When they’re clogged, water won’t flow through the gutters and away from the house. Instead, it will fall down the siding and can soak into the walls and roofline.
Make a point to clean your gutters once every season. If you’re not comfortable doing it on your own, contact your roofing contractor for help.
5. Make Sure Your Drainage System Works
Even unclogged gutters won’t work properly if the drainage spouts direct water in the wrong direction.
After a rainstorm, head outside and pay attention to where the runoff is going. Ideally, the downspouts should send water away from your home’s foundation. If you see puddles forming around the base of your home, call your contractor.
By adjusting the downspouts, they’ll be able to keep water from soaking into your foundation. This helps you avoid issues like cracks in the cement and mold or mildew growth indoors.
6. Seal Your Windows
Your windows protect your home from the elements, but they can and will shift in their frames. This creates small gaps where both drafts and moisture can make it inside.
Take a moment to inspect the windows throughout your house. Do you see any gaps between the window frame and the glass? Are there gaps between the frame and your walls?
If so, use caulk to fill the cracks and let it dry. This will keep your windows water-tight and should protect your home from water damage in the long-run.
7. Pay Attention to Your Water Bill
Some leaks are so slow or small that you won’t notice them until they’ve already done a lot of damage to your house. But that doesn’t mean they’re undetectable.
Each month, monitor your water bill. This should be fairly consistent from month to month and if you notice your bill going up without reason, call a plumber.
Small increases shouldn’t be cause for alarm, but even minor leaks can blow through several gallons a day. If your usage is significantly higher than it was at the same time last year, you likely have a leak.
8. Know Where Your Water Main Is
Severe leaks can happen at any time and the faster you shut off the water supply to your home, the less damage they can do. Make sure you know where the water main is at your property and how to shut it off in an emergency.
Your plumber or general contractor should be able to show you what to do.
If a pipe bursts, shut the water off immediately. And if you leave town for an extended period of time, consider shutting off the water supply. This way, you won’t have any surprise water damage to deal with when you get back home.
Use These Tips to Protect Your Home Now
Keeping your home in good condition is always a priority. These simple tips will help you protect your home from water damage whether you’re at home or away.
Even better, you’ll save money on those unexpected repairs year after year.
Looking for more helpful tips to keep your home looking its best? Check out our latest posts.