6 Ways to Prevent Water Damage

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even if you think that water damage will never happen to you, it is worth it to take these easy steps to prevent water damage from happening.

1. Keep Your Basement Clean and Organized
Basements are the lowest point of your home, close to your sewer main, and home to your hot water heater. When water damage occurs, it is usually in your basement. If your basement is a cluttered mess (like most peoples are!), then all of that mess will get drenched if flooding, backups, or leaking occur. Once a year, go into your basement and sort through everything. Get rid of items that you don’t really need.

Items in your basement should be kept off the floor. Put them in storage bins and then on shelves. Never keep them in boxes on the floor.

2. Have Your Plumbing Inspected
One common cause of serious water damage is leaks in plumbing. Because most of your plumbing pipes are located inside walls, you won’t be able to notice when they are old and in need of repair or replacement. Oftentimes, small pinhole leaks slowly drip water until that water accumulates into a big, moldy spot of damage. Rather than paying for your walls and floors to be demolished, invest in a plumbing inspection. The plumber can inspect the inside of pipes using a video camera.

3. Know Where Your Off Valves Are
When a pipe bursts or a leak occurs, you need to get the water off FAST. You don’t want to run around looking for the off valve while the water gushes out! Take some time to learn where all your off valves are. Also learn where the electrical breaker is, as you will need to turn off the electricity for safety reasons during water damage.

If you don’t use your water off valves often, they can get rusty. Then it will be VERY difficult to turn them. Once a year, spray some WD-40 on them and practice turning them on/off so they won’t be impossible to turn off in a water damage crisis.

4. Put Valuable Items up High
Keep all valuable items, especially electronics, up high off the ground. If important items must be kept on the ground, then keep them in plastic storage bins.

5. Be Careful Where You Plant
The most common cause of sewage damage is from a clogged sewer main. This often occurs because tree or shrub roots have gotten into the sewer main, causing a massive clog. The waste water from your home won’t be able to exit through the sewer so it will come back up through your drains. Gross! Keep plants away from your sewer main. Call a plumber at the first sign of a clogged sewer main, such as problems with multiple drains or air bubbles coming from your toilet.

6. Clean Your Gutters
Gutters are important for preventing weather-related water damage because they channel rainwater away from your home. When gutters get clogged, the rainwater will fall in torrents on the side of your home and down around its foundation. You end up with bad water damage and, unless you have special flood insurance, your homeowner’s insurance won’t pay for this damage.