What are the major causes of water damage and how can I prevent it?

Water damage to a home can come in various forms and wide-ranging damage.  From the smallest toilet overflow to the largest sewage flood, water damage can create frustrations and anxiety for any homeowner.  Here is what we have found to be the top four causes of water damage in a home.

  1. Acts of Nature.  Most flooding by natural causes in Utah occurs after a heavy rainfall or quick snow melt in the spring.  Homes situated near a body of water such as a river or dam can be subject to flooding in the basement or lowest lying section of the home when the water rises.  Water may seep into a home after a heavy rainfall due to a higher water table and small cracks in the foundation.  Sewage back-up may occur after a heavy rainfall if rainwater is drained into the sewage line.   Homes situated in mudslide zones are also in danger of extensive damage.
  2. Accidents and/or negligence.  Accidents that cause water damage are more common than people think. Leaving a lawn sprinkler system running too long with a yard that slopes towards the house, or water hose that overflows into a window well are some of the water accidents we see that happen from outside.  Sink or bath overflows from accidentally leaving a tap running, or neglected pipes that freeze due to abnormally cold weather conditions and others can also happen inside the home that will cause water damage.
  3. Defective Appliances and Fixtures.  Clothes washers that leak, hot water heaters, showers, bathtubs, toilets or basically any appliance that is defective and runs water through it can cause water damage.
  4. Faulty Construction.  Faulty construction of a home can also cause water damage to a home.  Leaky roofs and windows usually manifest themselves after a big rain or snow storm and can cause damage to ceilings and walls. During construction, accidental nails through a water pipe or poor drainage have also been causes we’ve seen of water damage to a newly constructed home.

While most of the causes for water damage are accidental or out of the control of the homeowner, there are some things you can do to prevent damage in the future.  Regular inspections of the following potential trouble spots may save you in the future.

  1. Kitchen: Check the hoses and pipes of the dishwasher, refrigerator, and sink to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
  2. Bathroom: Check the caulking around the sinks, tubs, and toilets and make sure the toilets aren’t clogged.
  3. Laundry room: Inspect the washing machine hoses for cracking, fraying, or bulging and replace it if any problems are found.  Check for wet spots around the water heater and place a drain pan under the water heater.  Change the filters on the air conditioning regularly.
  4. Roof: Keep debris out of gutters, downspouts, roots, and valleys.  Ventilate the roof to reduce moisture and heat build-up in the attic.
  5. Foundation:  Fill in low spots so water drains away from the home’s foundation.

Responding quickly and effectively to any water leak or damage is the most important factor to prevent extensive damage.   For questions about water damage check out our website or give us a call- we’d love to answer any questions.

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