Did you know that water damage is the leading cause of personal property claims in Canada? Water damage can occur in a number of ways from pipes breaking, leaky plumbing, sewer backups, basement flooding and more. Although there is no way to fully protect your home against all forms of water damage, there are some precautions that you can take which will significantly decrease the odds of it happening.
What to Do Outside Your Home
Regularly inspect the exterior of your home to ensure that:
- Sewer grates and eaves troughs are clear of debris
- Wastewater lines are not blocked or clogged by tree roots
- Roofing doesn’t have any loose shingles or broken shingles
It is important to have your septic system pumped and serviced regularly. Set a reminder on your fridge or in your smartphone’s calendar so that you will remember. As far as your landscaping, making sure that your lot is graded to aid drainage away from your home is one of the most helpful preventative measures you can take to avoid water seeping into your home.
Downspouts should be redirected at least 6 feet away from your home’s foundation to ensure that there is proper drainage from the roof. There should also be 8 inches of clearance between the ground level and bottom of the downspout. If you do not have this much clearance, consider installing window wells.
What to Do Inside Your Home
There are a few ways that you can help prevent water damage in your home, from installing monitors to just simply routinely inspecting items in your home. The best ways you can help prevent water damage are:
- Regularly check water supply lines for loose connections or leaks.
- Grout and caulking around bathtubs and showers should be regularly checked and retouched when needed.
- Check appliances and plumbing fixtures for old or worn rubber hoses and replace with steel braided hoses.
- Install a sewer backup prevention valve on the main line of your home.
- Invest in water monitors which can be installed to alert you if a leak occurs and shut off the main water supply automatically if a leak or moisture is detected.
Also, get in the habit of not pouring grease or fat down any household drains which can wreak havoc on plumbing and lead to water damage. Replacing old plumbing before it breaks can also save your home from a water disaster.
Foundation and Basement Considerations
Often, the most significant and expensive water damage occurs in your basement as a result of cracks or leaks in your home’s foundation. While a tiny surface crack may not be a major cause for concern in your foundation, major cracks will easily allow water to seep into your basement. While routinely inspecting your foundation for cracks and immediately sealing can prevent most water damage, you should also still check your basement after a rapid thaw of snow or a heavy rainfall to ensure no water has seeped inside.
Finally, always make sure that your sump pump (located in most basements and used to remove water which has accumulated in a basin) is in good working order. Slowly pour water into the sump tank to ensure that it is clean and moving properly.
Talk to Your Insurance Broker
Another important step to protect yourself is to talk to your insurance broker to make sure that you have enough water damage coverage. Often, endorsements are needed to be added to your existing homeowner’s policy to ensure that you are protected against flooding, sewer backup, and overland or groundwater damage.