Determining your Potential Water Damage Threat

I have long maintained that, when it comes to water damage, the best defense is a great offense.  That means going the extra mile to protect your home, business, and possessions from any sort of water intrusion.  The best time to do this of course is right now, while everything is still dry.  Take the time needed to look through your property and discover potential risks.

Floodplains and water damage

Even higher lying buildings can be flooded

If your home is located on or near a flood plain or zone, you should visit your local emergency management office and ask for information on previous flood events.  This data will give you a pretty good idea of how much water you may have to deal with if and when it happens again.  Armed with this information, you can then move valuable items in your home to a location above the projected water line or make a plan to move valuables out in case of a flood. Make sure you shut off basic utilities such as water, electricity and the gas supply. Important documents like your passport, contracts and official documents should be stored in a safe, dry place with easy access. The need for effective risk prevention must always come first.

You should also perform a yearly inspection of your plumbing and piping to make sure nothing is broken or leaking.  Remember, even the slightest leak can become a major problem if left alone long enough.  Pay close attention to your water bill; if you see a sudden increase in your monthly charges, that is usually a dead giveaway that something is wrong somewhere.  You should also insulate pipes in the attic or basement to avoid freezing.

Likewise broken door and window seals can cause condensation to develop on your windows and walls.  Condensation equals a problem – every time.  If you find condensation, take the appropriate steps to correct the problem. Homeowners usually ignore condensation issues because they seem minor, but it’s the fact that they’re ignored that causes them to create so much damage. Slow leaks that aren’t taken care of for months will result in mold growth. Take care of the small issues as soon as they’re noticed.

Photo of broken water heater

Leaking water heaters can cause serious damage

Speaking from experience, water heaters can put out a lot of water very quickly when they suddenly decide to go bad (which is usually the day after the warranty expires, or so it seems).  Have the anode rod inspected every year or so, and replace the rod at the first sign of corrosion to avoid damage.  To avoid sediment building up in the tank, have it flushed every six months.  These simple actions will ward off flood damage and get the maximum life out of your water heater.

Many homes with basements have sump pumps installed to prevent flooding, but these only work if they are properly maintained.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, whether it is running the unit every two months or making sure it is properly cleaned up before the start of the rainy season.

To properly inspect the pump, open the lid and remove any debris blocking the inlet screen.  Pour approximately five gallons of water into the pump and make sure the float valve rises.  If the unit is functioning properly, it should turn on automatically and discharge the water through the outlet pipe.  At this point, you want to inspect the outlet pipe.  Go outside and make sure it is properly channeling the water away from your home.  If the pump fails to operate correctly at any point in the process, contact a professional to come and service the unit.  Remember, these pumps are your best line of defense against water damage in your basement or other low lying areas of your home.

You should also make sure your toilet remains in good working order.  While we don’t enjoy talking toilets, the fact is that not much can do water damage like a malfunctioning toilet.  Couple that with the very real possibility of having a water spill combined with sewage contaminants makes proper toilet function imperative.

As always, your local Clean Trust certified water damage restoration professional can handle any of your water damage needs, no matter the size (or depth, or intensity, or situation).  Call 866-722-7876 today for a free estimate.

About Dan Camara

Dan Camara is the CEO of PuroClean Home Rescue in Sacramento. We have been helping the good folks of Northern California with water damage dryouts, mold removal and fire cleanups for nearly 5 years now. Connect with me on Google+
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