Preventing Water Damage Inside Your Home

NC Home Insurance

2/4/2011

Water leaks can happen anywhere in your house, but they occur most frequently in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms. Whether it’s a slow drip or a sudden burst, water leaks can cause extensive damage to your home and personal belongings.

Kitchen:
 
Dishwasher- Periodically, check under the sink to see if the hose connection to the water supply line is secure and is not leaking. Check around the base of the dishwasher for evidence of leaks. Look for discolored, warped, or soft flooring materials or water damage to nearby cabinets
 
Refrigerator- If your refrigerator has an ice maker, check the hose connection to make sure it is securely attached to the water supply line. The wet spot you see on the floor near the refrigerator may be melted ice cubes or it may be a crimped ice maker line about to burst.
 
Sink- Re-caulk around sinks and pay attention to slow-draining pipes. This may indicate a partially blocked drain. Check the pipes under the sink for signs of water leaks.
 
Bathroom:
 
Shower and Bathtubs- Discoloration or soft areas around floors or walls near showers or bathtubs may be your first indication there is a leak. Check caulking joints where the walls meet the floor or bathtub, looking for cracks or mold. If the shower walls or floor are tiled, a leak may develop if there are cracks or missing areas of grout.
 
Sinks- Check under the sink for signs of leaks from water supply lines or drain pipes.
 
Toilets- Placing inappropriate objects or too much toilet paper in the bowl can accidentally clog toilets, especially “low-flow” toilets now required in homes.  Hanging bowl deodorants are often the culprits. These objects can lodge deep in the plumbing system, and can block the line or create an obstruction that grease and other material can cling to – eventually causing blockage. In addition, some chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode some of the internal components, eventually leading to a leak.
 
Laundry/ Utility Room:
 
Washing Machine- Inspect washing machine hoses regularly for wetness around hose ends and signs of bulging, cracking, or fraying. Replace the hose if a problem is found or every three to five years as part of a proactive maintenance program.
 
Water Heater- Most water heaters last 8-15 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a problem. Water heaters should be installed on the lowest level of the home and always located next to a floor drain. If installed above or adjacent to finished spaces, the hot water heater should be placed inside a drain pan with the drain pan piped to the floor drain
 
Air Conditioning- At the start of your cooling season, have the A/C system serviced by a qualified contractor. Make sure there service includes inspecting and cleaning the air conditioner condensation pan drain line to keep it free of obstructions. Change the air filters on a regular basis 
 
Sump Pump- Sump pump systems assist in keep unwanted water out of your home. Battery operated back-up sump pumps can offer a degree of protection against power failure or failure of the primary pump. A generator can also be used to power the pump in case of a power failure. Test the sump pump before the start of each wet season to ensure it is in working order. Sump pumps are not intended to last more than 10 years and must have some components replaced or serviced within those 10 years. Sometimes water still gets in.Items stored in basement areas should be shelved or kept off the floor. Furniture should be on casters or shims arranged away from floor drains.
 
General Tips:
  • Check for hidden leaks by turning off faucets, all water-using appliances, and not flushing toilets for 1 hour. Record the water meter reading. If the flow indicator (triangular or diamond-shaped rotating button) is spinning or the water meter reading has changed while no water is being used, a leaking pipe may exist. 
     
  • Know where the main water shut off valve is located in your home and check it frequently to make sure it is operational.
 
 
 
 
 

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