- Replacing your gutters with a system that helps prevent blockages is one of the best ways to protect yourself from water damage.
- Installing a sump pump, smart water sensors and more will also help protect your home from water.
There is usually more to a leaky tub than a puddle on the floor. When left untreated, even the smallest water damage can lead to mold growth, water contamination, structural issues, damaged cables, odors, stains – the list goes on.
But instead of crossing your fingers and hoping your home is waterproof, take action yourself: the best way to avoid water damage is to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Not only are these ideas probably cheaper and easier than repairing water damaged walls or floors, they can increase the value of your home and keep all systems working for years to come.
Replace your gutters
“Clogged gutters allow water to spill over the sides, which can send water down to the basement where it could cause serious damage,” says Craig Gjelsten, vice president of operations. at Rainbow International Restoration. But instead of climbing a wobbly ladder several times a year to clean up leaves and bugs, replace your gutters completely.
While there are a plethora of gutter systems and materials available – like open-faced versions or those with screens, mesh toppers, and hoods – Good Housekeeping recommends those from LeafGuard, a GH seal holder of 15. years. Experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have rigorously tested LeafGuard’s one-piece, debris-shaking system, which will prevent you from cleaning gutters again and helps prevent clogs from accumulated debris to reduce the risk of water damage.
“LeafGuard gutters are curved and feature a built-in hood to keep leaves, dirt and other debris out,” says Rachel Rothman, chief technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “This unique patented design lets rain in while everything else just slides over them and falls to the ground below.”
LeafGuard gutters are stronger and more robust than other gutters on the market, and their scratch-resistant finish helps prevent chipping, peeling and cracking. Plus, they’re built to withstand harsh weather conditions and can handle up to 32 inches of rain per hour – far more capacity than you’ll ever need (that number is more than 3 times the precipitation record. never recorded by the US Weather Bureau).
Pay attention to what and where you plant
Gjelsten explains that tree roots “can be incredibly invasive,” so it’s important to know the location of underground pipes, septic tanks, and sprinklers before you plant large specimens near your home. The roots can also damage the foundation, which can lead to a host of problems, including water damage.
Blue Sky Plumbing lists a large number of popular plants with potentially problematic root systems: willow, oak, magnolia, poplar, citrus, and birch, as well as boxwood, holly, and climbing varieties of ivy. If you are considering any of these in your landscape, be sure to measure correctly and plant the appropriate distance away from your home; the maximum distance for the height of a plant is the same as you should leave for the roots.
Add smart water sensors for the home
Each washing machine connection has a manual valve that allows you to shut off the water supply when you are not using the appliance, but are you actually doing it? I do not think so. Instead, deploy simple smart home technology paired with automatic valve control to shut off water to specific devices, or the entire house if needed. “These devices give you peace of mind and significantly reduce the risk of water damage to your home,” says Gjelsten.
In addition to detecting the presence of water, many of these sensors also detect changes in humidity and temperature, which is especially useful if you live in an area where frozen pipes are a problem. Dipping into the world of home tech can be intimidating, but look for a wireless sensor, so it can be placed without the need for an electrical outlet nearby. Here is Best Good Housekeeping Picks.
Install a sump pump
Basements are, of course, the first place to flood when a big storm hits, so if you live in a rainy climate, invest in a sump pump to prevent basement flooding. These devices pump water that rises from the ground to the outside to keep your basement and the rest of your home dry.
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a sump pump is $ 1,204. Keep in mind that these are one-time charges. Without a sump pump, you could pay anywhere $ 1,500 to $ 8,500 to drain, dry and clean your basement whenever it gets flooded.
Upgrade to reinforced pipes
A very simple and inexpensive way to avoid water damage is to replace the supply hoses in your washing machine and dishwasher.
Gjelsten advises regularly checking these pipes “to make sure they are not kinked, blistered, bulging or cracked. When they show signs of wear, replace your existing hoses with reinforced stainless steel versions, which are stronger and last longer than rubber or plastic hoses. “
Take good care of your pipes
Homeowners abuse their plumbing systems in ways they don’t even realize. Gjelsten has four rules for keeping your pipes in top condition:
- Use a drainage snake instead of bleaching chemicals when a sink begins to back down. Yes, reaching for the bottle of liquid cleaner is much easier (and much less disgusting) than using a snake, but it can corrode the pipes.
- Never pour grease or oil down the drain. Do you know how the remaining oil freezes and hardens in the pan after cooking? This is also what is happening to him in your pipes.
- Set the thermostat to at least 60 degrees and open the cabinet doors under the sink on cold nights. This way, hot air can circulate around the pipes and help keep them from freezing.
- Test your water pressure. High pressure can damage the pipe fittings and cause blowouts in the appliance supply lines, resulting in flooding. You can buy a pressure gauge at your local hardware store for under $ 15.
Be a getaway detective
Early detection can help keep water damage to a minimum, so even if you have multiple water sensors installed throughout your home, it’s a good idea to do a manual leak audit every few months.
Here is Gjelsten’s method: “Examine your water bills and your water meter: If you notice a sudden and unexplained increase in the costs of your monthly bills, you might have a hidden leak. Go outside and read your water meter. Do not use water for two hours. Read the meter again. If it has moved, you have just confirmed that you have a leak somewhere. “
Then, he says, go through your house and check wherever possible for the leak. “Anything that contains water is likely to leak. This includes sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, ice maker, dishwasher, and washing machine. »Examine light fixtures and fixtures for damaged rubber tubing or loose fittings, and check the surrounding area – including the ceilings and walls of rooms under bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms – for water stains, cracked pipes and mildew.
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