Water damage is one of the costliest problems a homeowner may encounter. Even the slightest moisture in nooks and corners that are supposed to be dry can cause molding, rotting, and even cracks in the foundation of your home. When left undetected, creeping water damage can destroy parts of your house beyond repair, or at least not without breaking the bank.
Here are some measures you can take to protect your home (and your finances) from water damage.
Seal doors and windows
Ever heard of the saying: “All the water in the ocean can’t sink a ship until it gets inside”? It’s the same for your house. If you don’t seal the spaces around window panes and door frames, water can easily seep in and wreak havoc on your home. Make sure the seals and weatherstripping around your doors and windows are always in good condition. Otherwise, there are foam sealants you can buy to close any cracks you may find around your windows and doors.
Be familiar with your main stop valve
A single rupture from one of your major water pipes can cause a great deal of water damage in a matter of minutes. It’s very important that each member of the household knows where the stopcock is located so they can shut off the water supply at the first sign of a leak. Shut off the water main every time you have to leave the house unattended for more than 24 hours. You never know what could happen with your water pipes when you’re not home, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Maintain your gutters and downspouts
A clogged gutter is one of the most common causes of water damage on your roof, ceiling, and exterior finishing. During the rainy seasons, clean your gutters — including the downspouts — at least once a week to make sure that there are no leaves or other debris that might cause an overflow. If you notice that water is still running down the side of your house even though the gutter itself is free of debris, some repairs might be in order. Never put off calling a professional gutter company whenever you notice that your gutter is in need of something more than a deep clean.
Regularly inspect the roof
Strong winds are not the only thing that can cause severe damage to your roof after a bad storm. Even nearby trees and structures can cause crippling damage to roof shingles. While roofs are generally made sturdy enough to survive up to 30 years, they do need regular upkeep to ensure that they can still keep water out of your house. Don’t wait until the next wet season before you pay the roof any mind. Proactively check for damage, because prevention is always less expensive than repair work. Having your roof inspected is just a good home maintenance habit anyway, in the event you want to look into energy-conserving renovation projects that may involve the installation of solar panels on your roof.
Manage your water pressure
Residential hoses and pipes can break under too much water pressure. Luckily, there are pressure regulators you can purchase at your local hardware stores, and they don’t cost too much money. Bear in mind that residential water systems are usually capable of holding up to 70 psi water pressure. If your water gauge is giving a reading above 100 psi, then your pipes are perpetually in danger of rupturing, so managing your home’s water pressure is absolutely necessary. If you have installed an irrigation system for your garden, make sure it is likewise equipped with a water regulator, because runoffs from the greenhouse (or even a simple lawn setup) can cause unimaginable damage to the main house.
Prevent freezing damage
Now, if your water gauge yields a reading below 60 psi, then a water regulator may not be mandatory. Still, your pipes may be at risk of bursting because of freezing water. You may use a smart thermostat to keep your indoor temperature in check while protecting any exposed pipes using snap-on insulators. Water left in a hose can also build ice blocks back into the pipe, so be sure to disconnect hoses when not in use.
Fix leaks immediately
A leaky faucet or washing machine may not seem like a big deal at first, especially if the dripping is minimal, and thus tolerable. However, mold and mildew grow quickly in damp areas before you even know it. Note that a single leaky tap can supplant more than 250 liters of water every week. Imagine how much damage that amount of water can do in a short period of time. Always check your faucets, pipes, and water-utilizing appliances for any sign of possible leakage.
Know the tell-tale signs of water damage
Here are some common signs of water damage to watch out for:
- Paint/wallpaper peeling off
- Black specks around windows/doors
- Musty smell
- Uncharacteristically high water bill
- Rot/mold/mildew formation
When it comes to the upkeep of your home, it’s better to be paranoid than oblivious. While you can’t completely predict, much less prevent rainfall, you can at least protect your home and your family from having to deal with water damage by maintaining a largely weatherproof home.