Hopefully this article hasn’t reached you too late and instead you are being a responsible homeowner and want to know how to prevent your house from flooding. Or perhaps someone you know recently had a water damage incident in their home and now you are trying to avoid it from happening in yours. Well that is what I will be helping you with.
I decided to write this article after we experienced quite the stormy week here in Vancouver. Strong winds and rainstorms were causing power outages throughout and properties were being damaged by the events.
The local news station contacted me for an interview on how this storm was affecting people’s homes and how they could better handle the situation.
After the interview I realized I should put together some kind of preventative tips list that could save you money and avoid going through the property restoration process.
The following tips will not only apply during stormy weather but also the day to day things you can do to prevent water damage issues.
These tips are derived from my experience and what I see being the most commonly occurring issues, as last year my company handled over 600 water damage jobs. That’s almost 2 per day, so after a while we begin to see the same issues reoccurring and thus that is how my list of tips is derived.
Tips For Preventing Water Damage/ Flooding In Your House:
Proper Winterization – This means getting your home ready for the colder season. When it gets really cold out it can cause pipes in your home to freeze and break, resulting in water damage. Pipes in the exterior walls of your home and poorly insulted piping are the most vulnerable to the cold.
- Ensure your home is properly heated throughout the winter, if you go away on holidays do not turn off the heat while you are gone as your home will drop in temperature allowing for the cold to get to your piping.
- Insulate and cover up exterior water taps. You can buy these covers at your local Home-Depot type shop. They are relatively inexpensive and can really help prevent them from freezing up.
- Again proper maintenance of your home will help, shovel any snow away from the home do not let it pile up, and break up any ice buildups. The key is to get as much snow and ice away from the home including, gutters, windows, doors, roofs, etc. so it has less chance to cause damage once it melts.
Washing Machine/ Appliances – Any appliance, machine, or unit that operates on water in your home can be a primary source for water damage.
- Do not run your washing/dish washing machine when you are not home! This is a real common one; you throw a load of laundry in the washing machine and you leave to go grocery shopping. While you are gone there is an issue with the machine (overflow, broken feed line, etc.) and water begins to pour of it, flooding your home. So that being said, make sure you are home when you are running your water based appliances so that you can stop any damage or water spillage as soon as possible.
- Showers and bath units are another big source for water damage issues. If you see the tiles, grouting or caulking begin to look old or worn down or even broken, that is a sign for fixing it as soon as possible. If you leave it be then I will assure you that you will encounter a water damage issue at some point and likely even mould growth as well.
- Toilets are probably in the top most wanted list for causing water damage. I will put this very simply; do not flush anything that is not meant to be flushed in the toilet! This includes paper towels, actual towels, fish, kitty litter and the list goes on. If you stick to this rule you will hugely reduce any chances of having a water damage issue resulting from your toilet.
Proper Maintenance of your home – It sounds simple enough but this is another common source for water damage.
- Ensure you clean out your gutters and exterior drains to allow all that rain water to properly drain away from your home.
- Extend the downspouts around your home, you want all the water to funnel as afar away from the house as possible.
- Ensure your roof is in good condition so it can handle the rain throughout the year, older roofs or even new roofs that are faulty will make it easier for rain water to penetrate through to your indoor space.
- Be cautious while doing repairs and renovation in your home. Be mind full of pipes whithin walls, for example before you start to mount your big screen tv on the wall check to make sure there is no piping were you plan on drilling.
Keep an eye on your house – What do I mean by this? Well many times I find, particularly in larger homes, that certain areas of a home are ignored or not lived in as much.
- Obviously crawlspaces and attics are not lived in but even basements and guest rooms are not visited as often. These areas get less attention and thus it is harder to catch any leakage or property damage occurring.
- Part of keeping an eye on your home could include installing power outage alarms or a battery back-up which are important if your house operates on a sump pump system. If the power is out on your sump pump then that will increase the chances of having a sewer back up in your home.
- There are also flood sensors you can install in those areas of your house that need the extra attention or are more susceptible for water damage. The alarms will warn you when water is sensed so you can act quickly and avoid large damages.
So there you have it, of course there are countless other ways in which water damage can occur that you have little or no control over such as a broken water line inside the wall in the middle of summer. However, the above mentioned tips are things you can actually do to help prevent flooding in your home, potentially saving you tons of money and the associated headaches.