Every year, 1 in every 50 insured homeowners file a house water damage claim with their insurance company. Some of the claims for water damage restoration are attributed to leaking plumbing pipes. Another common cause of water damage is rainwater.
Thankfully, you’re not powerless against water damage. If truth be told, there’s no shortage of simple tactics you can use to keep your home snug and dry regardless of what Mother Nature—or your pipes—throw your way.
Common Causes of Water Damage
Water damage can occur when water finds its way in places it’s not meant to be in, whether inside your roof or walls or within a room. Several situations can result in water damage. Some of the most common include:
- Severe floods, storms, and other extreme weather
- Burst or leaky pipes
- Malfunctioning washing machines or dishwashers
- HVAC system problems
- Cracks in your walls or foundations
- Cracked flashing, missing shingles, and other roof damage
- Drainage problems on your property
Water Damage Warning Signs
Water damage is easy to spot when caused by a flood. However, there are instances when water damage is challenging to spot. If you have no idea what to look out for, you can easily miss water damage signs until it becomes a massive problem. Look for the following red flags if you suspect likely water damage at home:
- Warping of floors
- Strong and musty smell
- Sagging in your ceiling or walls
- Mold growth (can look like some dark discoloration) on some surfaces in your home
- Discolored patches or stains on your ceilings and walls
- Water pooling in the yard after a storm
Effective Ways to Prevent Water Damage
Examine and Assess Your Roof
Your roof is continuously exposed to precipitation and sunlight. As soon as it begins to deteriorate, roof leaks can develop without your knowledge. Ensure you can spot small roof issues early by inspecting your roof on a routine basis (especially after a big storm).
You can also use a pair of binoculars to check for any missing or broken shingles or cracked flashings. If you notice anything that’s out of the ordinary, check with a certified roofing contractor. Ideally, it would be best if you don’t handle the repairs yourself.
Caulk and Seal Your Windows
Caulking and sealing your windows regularly is one of the best ways to safeguard your home from water damage. It is also a good idea to apply caulking to drains, faucets, bathtubs, ceilings, and plumbing fixtures. Doing so can help ensure water does not seep in where it does not belong.
How to Apply Caulk Properly
- Pick the right caulk. To ensure a long-lasting seal, opt for caulk that’s 100 percent silicon, which is flexible, shrink/crack-proof, and permanently waterproof. Refrain from using acrylic caulk as it can crack and shrink over time and lead to water seepage.
- Make sure the surface is clean. Remove any loose particles or old caulk using a caulk-removing tool.
- Prepare the tube and seal. Insert the tube of caulk into the caulking gun. Ensure you seal around the cracks. Squeeze using an even and consistent pressure so you can effectively control the amount of caulk you can apply.
- Smooth the seal. Once the caulk has been applied to the desired areas, use a caulk-smoothing tool or your finger to even out the bead.
Clean Your Gutters
Ensuring you have good drainage is crucial to protecting your home from water damage. Poor drainage can weaken your foundation and lead to cracks where the water can find its way inside.
Ideally, your gutters should be cleaned twice each year (in spring and fall). You can also consider throwing in an extra cleaning after a big storm to remove branches, wet leaves, and other debris that can clog up your sprouts and gutters.
How to Clean the Gutters
- Start by cleaning near a downspout.
- Remove any large debris (twigs, leaves, etc.) using your hands or a garden trowel.
- Flush downspouts and gutters using a garden hose.
Install Gutter Guards
Gutter guards can be used to protect gutters from leaves and other debris. There are various types of gutter guards, including nylon, mesh, and curve. Prices can vary depending on the kind you get and the feet of gutters you need to cover.
Check Your Pipes
Inspecting all the pipes in your home at least once a year is recommended. Over time, pipes can rust, decay, and corrode. If you live in a cold climate, installing an emergency pressure release valve is recommended. Doing so might save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
If you want to protect your home from water damage, you have to be extra vigilant. Applying the steps above is already a massive step in the right direction.