Posted by: Lara's Services Group LLC on October 1, 2022

Practical Water Damage and Prevention Tips for Your Home

Whether you have issues with your water system malfunctioning or a pipe burst, dealing with water damage is challenging and sometimes expensive. The good news is it can be prevented when homeowners take the proper steps to avoid it. The following valuable tips can help with preventing water damage in your home.

Remove Debris from Spouts and Gutters

Keep your spouts and gutters clean. Flooding isn't the only cause for damage. Structural damage can happen when gutters and spouts collect debris such as leaves and water from rain. The combination of debris and moisture can damage roofs, gutters, and even contribute to foundation cracks if gutter spouts don't drain properly. Areas near your home or garage that collect water due to debris is also at risk for structural damage.

Be Aware of Where You Grow Plants

Gardening is a great hobby, and it helps your front and backyard look appealing. However, it is essential to be mindful of where you plant things near your home. Some plants have roots that spread as they mature, which could be problematic. You could be dealing with clogged pipes affecting your drainage and sprinkler systems. Consider planting further away from the home if the plant has roots that could spread into a water source. Even though water gets absorbed by the soil and plant takes it in for nutrients, the roots can take water from other sources such as pipes.

Keep Your Lawn in Good Condition

Water it to keep it moist, especially during dry weather or drought. The soil contracts and shrinks when it's too dry. Openings and gaps result in around your lawn. Water damage is possible when the ground gets too dry and cannot reabsorb water. Adding a slope to your lawn can help direct water away from your home.

Know How to Switch Off the Water in Your Home

Are you familiar with your home's water system? It's good to know where the main switch is in case you need to turn it off if a pipe bursts. It also helps you understand how your home's pipeline is set up. If a pipe bursts, it can contribute to water damage. Plus, you'll gain control of the situation quickly if a pipe bursts without waiting for a professional to turn it off for you.

Keep an Eye on How Your Appliances Perform

Appliances that use water, such as the washing machine and dishwasher, could malfunction when you least expect it. When it happens, clean up any water immediately. Water from a malfunctioning machine can increase the chances of water damage and mold. Keep your water-dependent appliances clean by removing debris or anything that could clog up and slow down water flow. Debris could also reduce the performance and effectiveness of your appliances. Keeping them clean reduces the risk of flooding, leaks, and water waste. If any of these problems do occur, it helps reduce their severity.

Inspect Leaks When You Notice Them

Whenever a leak is found in your home, inspect it immediately. It can be a leak from the roof, pipeline, or basement. Ignoring it could lead to a bigger problem, such as water damage. Get the leak repaired as soon as you learn the source. Sometimes scheduled maintenance for certain things in your home could lead to a problem before it worsens. If you notice a pipe is leaking, it could be clogged. The clog can get cleared up before it results in a burst pipe.

Note Changes in Water Pressure

Burst pipes and flooding sometimes result from water pressure changes. Strong water pressure is not suitable for residential pipelines because of their design. Homeowners are encouraged to check their water pressure using a water pressure gauge you attach to an indoor faucet. Favorable water pressure for residential faucets is 40psi to 70psi. A water pressure regulator is needed if you get a reading above 100psi.

Monitor Your Water Bill

Your water bill can help you detect leaks in your home. Some leaks are not always visible, but your bill may hint at something unusual with your water consumption. Compare your statements from the last few months to recent bills. If the bill has experienced a substantial increase, you could have a leak. It could also mean you have undetected water damage, possible mold, or other structural issues. Search your home to see if you can find the source of a leak, such as under sinks and spaces where pipes exist. Hire a professional to check your pipelines.

Avoid Unclogging Drains with Chemicals

Unclogging drains at home is a challenging chore when using a plunger. Sometimes a plunger may not do the job well, and people use chemical-based products to unclog drains. While it may seem like an easier solution, it could damage your pipes if the chemicals are too strong without diluting them first. Some pipes become more susceptible to leaks when chemicals are used.

While taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of water damage is helpful, experiencing water damage is still possible. Working with the right professionals with experience handling water damage is essential to provide the best solution for your situation, including resolving other potential issues such as detecting and preventing mold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most homeowner's policies cover most water damages, but not all water damages are created equal. There can be a lot of exceptions to coverage depending on the intricacies of your policy. This is why it's a good idea to be familiar with your policy and call your agent right away when damage occurs.

A good portion of water damage can be prevented by proper household maintenance. Routine plumbing maintenance as well as sump pump and appliance maintenance are effective ways to avoid preventable damages. If you live in a cold climate, preparing your home for the winter can also help avoid damage. Finally, it's a good idea to regularly check the exterior of your home, particularly your roof, for damage to ensure water isn't unexpectedly leaking into your home.

Identifying the source of the water damage is one of the first steps in both the insurance claim process and before beginning to dry out and repair the damaged areas. After all, if you replace a sagging, wet ceiling that was caused by a roof leak but don't fix the roof, too, the next rainstorm will start the cycle all over again. The buckling to your hardwood floor could be caused by a leaking pipe. We will pinpoint the exact cause of your water damage and make sure the source is repaired. We make sure your restoration job is done right the first time.

That depends on the types of materials that were affected by water. Drywall, carpet, and hardwood floors will take longer to dry than other materials in the space. We use moisture meters throughout the process and in many different locations to gauge the moisture levels and will continue to adjust our fans and dehumidifiers to achieve an efficient but effective dry time. The bare minimum of "three days to dry" may only produce a surface dry, but can still leave behind moisture levels that create an ideal environment for mold to grow.

Water damage insurance claims depend on a few different criteria. Ultimately, that's a question you'll have to clarify with your insurance company. However, we can tell you that the viability of water damage insurance claims depends primarily on what caused the damage (storm, burst pipe, plumbing malfunction, localized flood, sump pump failure, etc.). Some insurance policies will outline scenarios that will NOT be covered without specific riders like flood insurance, or sump pump failure insurance.

Contacting a restoration contractor as well as your insurance adjuster at the same time is a good idea, because the restoration contractor will help make sure that not only will the water extraction and dry out be covered, but the rebuild process that should follow. If the full scope of the claim isn't outlined and agreed upon from the start, there may be issues down the line, and property owners may find themselves having to pay out of pocket to get the property completely back to normal.

Most homeowners start trying to remove the water themselves before they realize they'll need to contact their insurance company about a claim so they can call in a water damage restoration company. However, standing water around anything with a power cord or outlet or sagging ceilings makes the area unsafe. Also, many insurance claims require documentation of the loss BEFORE any work is done, including removing the water. Always take plenty of photos of the damage you see before taking any action to start cleaning up the mess. Your restoration contractor will be able to back up your insurance claim scope with the necessary technical documentation as well.

If the water damage involves Category 1 water (clean and free of microbes and bacteria), many of your personal belongings can be salvaged. Category 2 water would include other water sources, including rainwater, that, while not containing biohazards or sewage, still pose health risks and the potential for destructive microbial growth and mold. A water damage restoration technician will help you sort through the contents of the property to determine what can be safely dried, what can be restored by a textile/contents technician, and what can't be saved or salvaged. There are off-site facilities in the area that specialize in restoring water-damaged contents. Your restoration team will document all of the contents leaving the property for restoration or disposal for your records and also for reimbursement from your insurance company.

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