Home floods are expensive, time consuming, and can destroy precious family memories. Thankfully, there are a number of steps homeowners can take to prevent the most common home flood causes: ice dams, burst water heaters, burst pipes, clogged gutters, and poor maintenance. Follow the simple home maintenance tips below to prevent serious water damage in your home.
1 – Prevent Ice Dams
During cold winter months, heat can seep out through your home’s roof causing accumulated snow to partially melt. As the snow melt runs down, it can refreeze again once it hits a colder area of your roof. Over the course of a few weeks or sometimes just days, this ice can build up and cause water to pool up on your roof. The end result is a dangerous and damaging ice dam. The standing water that results from ice dams can cause severe damage as it soaks into the roof.
To prevent ice dams, make sure that your home’s attic is thoroughly insulated; escaping heat is what generally causes ice dams in the first place. Additionally, you should keep an eye out for the most common sign of an ice dam: large icicles hanging from your roof. While icicles look great, they are a sign of a major problem and require immediate attention.
2 – Maintain Your Water Heater
A poorly maintained water heater is a flood waiting to happen. A faulty TRP valve, built up sediment, or unchecked leaks can cause serious damage. Most of the time, yearly water heater maintenance, which can be performed by you, will prevent major problems from arising unexpectedly.
If you’d rather rule out the possibility of a burst water heater altogether, check into replacing it with a tankless water heater. A tankless water heater is just what it sounds like: a water heater without a tank. Instead, water is instantaneously heated on demand. Besides eliminating the risk of a flood, a tankless water heater is also more energy efficient and ensures that you’ll never run out of hot water.
3 – Insulate Exposed Pipes
As the temperature outside drops, water in exposed pipes can freeze. If the flow of water is blocked, pressure can build up until the pipe explodes. A burst pipe can cause a serious amount of damage in just a short period of time as water gushes out.
To prevent this problem, walk around your home and check for pipes that aren’t insulated. This process is especially critical in unheated parts of your home. Special jackets can be wrapped around these pipes to keep the cold air out. For a better solution, check with a plumber about redirecting these pipes to a better location.
4 – Keep Gutters Clean
Cleaning out gutters isn’t exactly on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. For this reason, far too many homeowners allow leaves, animal droppings, sticks, and other debris to build up and block the gutter. When this happens, the rain water and snow melt will have no where to go; instead it will simply sit on your roof. Overtime, the shingles will become damaged, wood can rot, and mold can grow. If left long enough, serious structural problems can occur. If you’d prefer to reduce the number of cleanings necessary, keep trees trimmed and don’t let them hang over your roof.
5 – Don’t Ignore Small Leaks
A minor leak is tempting for many homeowners to ignore; however, out of sight shouldn’t be become out of mind. Frequently, a small leak can be a sign of a much larger problem. All homeowners should look out for the following: a musty smell, discolored walls or ceiling, mold or mildew, water pooling, and peeling paint. If you find any of these in your home, call a plumber right away to check out the problem.