Tips to Avoid Water Damage
As the old rhyme goes, April showers bring May flowers. But sometimes those April showers bring a bit more than you bargained for. That’s because spring is a prime season for water-caused property damage in many areas of the country.
According to Jennifer Kolah, a senior underwriter with Desjardins General Insurance Group, many different types of weather events can lead to water damage in homes and other properties. Some examples are:
• A heavy rain in a short period of time
• A snap thaw or a seasonal snow melt after a particularly snowy winter
• An increase in the water table from a prolonged wet period
But Kolah says there are relatively inexpensive ways that you can protect your property from costly water damage. In the situations listed above, it is very common for water to back up from an over-taxed sewer line into the basement.
“The best way to prevent that from happening is to install a backwater valve that complies with your municipality’s standards and bylaws,” says Kolah. “In the case of a sewer backup, the valve will close automatically if the water starts flowing back into the home.”
Similarly, installing a sump pump at a low point under the house will help ensure water does not find its way into the basement by keeping the area under the house dry. Basically, it pumps water away from the house so the basement or crawlspace stays dry.
According to Kolah, water damage can also be maintenance related and occur at any time of the year. Staying on top of maintenance issues around your house is a good way to prevent plumbing-related water damage.
• Be aware of leaks in faucets, pipes and hoses. Aim to fix any issues right away.
• Sometimes a leak is a sign of a larger problem. Make sure you check the condition of your home’s water tank for example, which should be replaced every seven to 10 years (depending on the water hardness).
• In the spring make sure your roof is in good condition and that there is no cracking around your foundation. These are key areas where water can get in and cause a lot of damage. In the fall, remove leaves and debris from your gutters and downspouts. And just before winter starts, make sure to turn off all outdoor water taps.
Other common sense tips
• It’s a good idea to show everyone in your family where to find the shut off valves that control the water supply to the different areas of your home. In case of an emergency, they should know how to shut off the water main, water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, sinks and toilets
• And before you go on vacation this summer, remember to turn off your water to prevent any kind of unexpected water damage that may occur in your absence.