The world presented in the movie Waterworld was nightmarish. Not because Kevin Costner wore fish gills or because maniacal pirates ruled the waves. But because of the prospect of a worldwide flood.
That image of New York deluded with seawater. It’s a scary thought. But the only thing that gives me nightmares these days is a flooded basement.
And those kinds of floods can be prevented.
It really can be a nightmare for any homeowner when water creeps into your home from one source or another. Which is why it’s important to know the ABCs of how to prevent water damage in your home.
1. Prevent Water Damage By Disconnecting Outside Hoses
It really is a pain to screw a water hose back on the spigot. But, you know what’s even more of a pain? Water damage. Prevent water damage by giving yourself a pain. Disconnect that water hose from the spigot.
When you have a hose on that spigot, water can still be lurking inside. The pressure from kinks in your hose can leave water up in there.
When standing water freezes, it makes everything around it colder. And when water freezes it takes up 9% more space than the water did. This is why standing water in pipes and hoses can creep back up into a house and freeze the water inside the house. It literally grows like the blob.
2. Clean Gutters And Downspouts
Clean gutters and downspouts shouldn’t just be cleaned to satisfy your father-in-law when he comes to inspect your house. They really are important in keeping your house safe.
Water needs to flow away from your house. This protects your foundation. If water sits for too long or drains down the sides of your foundation, it will erode the cement.
Eventually, your foundation will crack and you will find yourself with a flooded basement during a downpour.
But, to prevent water damage in your basement, make sure you keep those gutters clean and have the downspouts draining onto a slope away from your house.
3. Maintain The Green Things
Your garden may be pretty, but it’s actually integral to your house safety. The reason landscapers plant at least one tree in a yard isn’t solely because of looks. Soil is made for trees and shrubs, and trees and shrubs are made for soil.
In essence, trees and shrubs keep the soil in place. And after a fire in a forest, there is always the risk of landslides and erosion.
Keeping the soil around your foundation will help with water drainage. This, along with the gutters and downspouts, will protect your foundation from water damage.
So feed your trees and shrubs and care for them because they really are important.
4. Know Thy Water Main
Know how to turn off your water main in an emergency. If you don’t know where the water comes into your house, find out. If you are a homeowner, you especially need to know this.
If some pipe in your house begins leaking or bursts, the first thing you should do is shut off the water to prevent water damage.
The logic goes like this: If no water is flowing through the leaking pipe, the less likely it is to leak. Turn off the main then get a plumber down there ASAP.
5. Check Water Appliances On The Regular
You lose one gallon of water every 15,140 drops. And with certain appliances, you may not even notice the water loss until it’s too late.
Prevent water damage by checking for leaks regularly. This will both save you the pain of having to fix water damage and it will save you money in water bills down the road.
And, remember, things like water damage from lack of maintenance are not covered by your standard homeowner’s insurance. So, you will be saving yourself a lot of money by keeping up with the maintenance there.
6. Upgrade Your Washing Machine Hoses
Rubber breaks down. It falls apart. And when you have rubber hoses on your washing machine, they will eventually spring a leak.
So, along with checking for leaks regularly, make sure you upgrade or replace your appliance hoses regularly as well. This will ensure that you never have a mess behind your machine ever again.
7. Fix Leaks As Soon As They Happen
Like I pointed out earlier. The longer a leak goes on the worse it will be for both your house and your checkbook.
There is no excuse for not fixing a leak in your pipes. Even the smallest leak can cause a lot of damage over time. And it will save you up to 10% on your water bill. Who knew!?
But, in all seriousness, if you can’t afford a plumber right away, you can always fix small leaks cheaply. Some pipes can even be fixed with just a little bit of epoxy and sandpaper.
8. Water Pressure Gauges Prevent Water Damage
You want to have some sort of water pressure gauge on your pipes. One of the reasons water pipes burst is pressure.
You can find a water pressure gauge at your local hardware store for a small price. You attach it to an outside faucet and then turn the faucet to full force.
The gauge gives you a reading on the homes water pressure.
What is an appropriate water pressure for you home? I’m glad you asked! 40-70 PSI is what your system should be designed for. It would be quite odd if someone designed a system for higher pressures than that. You might want to inquire of the builder to their intentions if you find out this is true.
But your water pressure should never exceed 100 psi. If it does, install a regulator.
9. So Do Water Detection Devices
Just like your fire alarm with smoke water detection device will sound an alarm if it comes into contact with water.
This also detects moisture levels and leaks that might go unnoticed until it’s too late.
10. Monitor Your Water Bill
You probably take the same number of showers each day. Do the same number of dishes. The same loads of laundry each month. So, your water bill should not fluctuate much at all except in the summer when you might water your lawn.
If usage suddenly jumps in a typically low usage month, you might have a leak. Go hunting.
Conclusion: Be Wise
To prevent water damage, you need to be wise. Keep a regular inspection schedule in your home. And call a plumber as soon as you notice something fishy.
What are some ways your protect your home from water damage? Let me know in the comments below.