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In a recent article, we talked about some of the immediate steps you can take in dealing with a new water damage claim to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that most, if not all of your losses are covered. Now we’d like to share some helpful tips and products for prevention and early detection that may reduce the risk of a water loss event taking place. It should be noted, however, that none of these methods or products can replace the need for a careful eye and regular maintenance of all your appliances and fixtures. 

Some of the most common culprits of water damage in the home include, but are not limited to:  

  • Appliances and HVAC Systems
  • Pipes and Drains
  • Roofing/ Gutters/ Exterior Trim

The age of your appliance is a major factor in the likelihood of a new water loss happening in your home. The likely suspects include refrigerators (especially if there is a water line attached for making ice), dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and air conditioning units. Check these appliances regularly for excessive rusting that may lead to potential leaks, or any ruptures or cracking in the water lines themselves. Also, be sure that the drip pan beneath the plenum of your A/C unit is draining correctly, as this pan can fill and overflow without you ever knowing. Water losses from these appliances, if left unchecked, can suddenly allow hundreds of gallons of water to escape, causing significant damage. 

Your plumbing is vulnerable to blockages that can lead to backups and potentially massive amounts of water damage. Sometimes, these backups are caused by a problem with the town water and drainage system, and in that case there may be little you can do in the way of prevention. Grease buildups in kitchen sinks, lint accumulation in washers and frozen pipes are other typical causes of water damage. Be sure to clean your drains regularly, and wrap your pipes and disconnect exterior hoses if you know a freeze is coming. Remember that it only takes an eighth of an inch crack in a pipe to unleash 250 gallons of water a day!

Old, missing, or damaged roofing materials can allow water and moisture to get inside the protective barrier your roof is supposed to create, causing damage to ceilings, walls and eventually floors if left unattended. If you think you may have weak spots in your roof, have a licensed roofer inspect and instruct you on the best plan of action. Also, make sure that you have the right amount and grade of insulation in your attic, as poorly insulated attics can speed up the aging process of roofing materials. Having the proper amount of insulation and ventilation in your attic can actually extend the life of your roof, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Clean your gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure that all excess rainwater is carried thoroughly and safely away from the roof, walls and foundation of your home. 

A final preventative measure is having a leak detection system installed in your home. These devices come in two forms: active and passive. A passive LDS sounds an alarm when a potential leak is detected and is typically a battery-operated stand-alone unit that can either be mounted to your wall or the floor in certain areas. These are typically inexpensive units and should be checked regularly with a schedule in place for changing the batteries. Active leak detection systems not only sound off when a leak is detected, but they also have the ability to stop the flow of water. These units can work for a single appliance or for the entire property, utilizing control of the main shut off valve for the water supply in the event of a sudden leak. Some of these whole-house systems can even be installed directly into the fire or security alarm system and will send a message to an off-site monitoring company. Naturally, these units are a bit more expensive and should be installed by a professional. An active LDS for a single appliance may cost $50 to $100, while a unit for the whole property typically runs in the $500 to $1,500 range, depending on the size and labor involved.   

When you consider the average cost of a water damage claim (roughly $2,000 to $5,000 nowadays), you can see that the time, effort and money invested in preventative and early detection measures more than pays for itself in the long run. Keeping a regular schedule for maintenance and inspection of interior appliances and exterior sheathings can greatly reduce the risk of costly insurance claims. Your local qualified contractors may also have other suggestions for maintenance, prevention and early detection. 

Our team at Enviro-Clean Services, Inc. is qualified through formal training and experience to remove excess water efficiently, promote efficient evaporation, and establish proper dehumidification conditions. If you suspect water damage in your home or business please do not hesitate to contact us.

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