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  • Writer's picturejoseph retcho

Water Damage Precautions While Away

washer and dryer

You probably associate water damage with torrential rain and other storm-related losses. However, the majority of water damage experienced by homeowners is the result of leaks in pipes and connections, which are frequently caused by maintenance issues. This can be especially disastrous if it occurs while you are away or on vacation.

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid heartbreaking property damage or loss:

Only Run Your Appliances When You're Home and Awake

Appliances, as well as their supply lines, can fail at any time, and turning them on before leaving the house puts you at risk.

Consider your water-related appliances in the same way you would consider your stove or oven. Just as you wouldn't leave your oven on when you leave the house, don't start your appliances before leaving the house, whether it's your dishwasher, washing machine, or something else.

Install Sensors for Leak Detection

Leak detection sensors can be a simple and inexpensive way to receive early warnings of potential water problems throughout your home, allowing you to avoid major damage. While more comprehensive models necessitate professional installation, there are a few products that you can install yourself. These are strategically placed in areas where water releases may occur. For real-time updates, alerts can be sent to your smartphone.

Configure automatic shut-offs

When a leak is detected, some leak detection systems have automatic shut-off capabilities, which are designed to stop water flow.

Locate your shut-off valves (understand how to turn off the water to individual appliances).

It's critical to know the location of your main water shut-off as well as the individual supply shut-offs for your appliances and fixtures, such as your washing machine, dishwasher, toilets, and sinks. You'll want to know where the shut-off valves are so you can isolate a leak and help minimize damage to your home if one occurs.

Leave the Heat on if You're Going Away in the Winter

If you live in a cold climate (or it's just winter), keep the heat on even if you'll be gone for a while. Pipes in exterior walls can freeze if your home's heat is not properly maintained. Set the thermostat to 55°F or higher to keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities, where the water piping is likely to be found, above freezing.

Pipes are under pressure, and water damage can occur quickly when a frozen pipe thaws. Water follows the path of least resistance, so leaks on upper floors will damage floors below.

If you'll be gone for an extended period of time, consider turning off all water.

Many homeowners overlook this, but if you're going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, consider turning off the main water valve before you leave. Just make sure to consult a professional before turning off your main water valve or taking any other precautions if you're going to be gone for an extended period of time. If you are unable to turn off the main water valve, consider turning off individual water valves for major appliances and fixtures.

Keep Your Appliances and Fixtures in Good Condition

The older the house and plumbing system, the more likely a water-related loss. The majority of water-related damage is caused by general wear and tear. For example, you should replace the supply lines and valves around your sinks and toilets on a regular basis.

Some supply lines are only intended to last five or ten years, but some people keep them until they fail, which may be many years later. These parts are relatively simple and inexpensive to replace.

Conduct Visual Inspections on a Regular Basis

If you notice a drip, signs of a leak, or other potential plumbing issues, contact a professional right away. Inspect exposed pipes and plumbing parts on a regular basis for corrosion, cracks, deposits, discoloration, and other signs of wear and tear.

If you notice anything unusual, have a professional inspect your home. It could be an indication that you should conduct a more thorough examination of your other plumbing components, as they could be just as old or as faulty as the failed component.

Exercise Caution When Performing DIY Repairs

Some small plumbing parts can be replaced without the assistance of a professional, but if you do this, make sure to carefully follow the instructions. Some of the installation requirements for various fittings are surprisingly specific. Water loss is often caused by overtightening or improper installation.

A Home Water Safety Checklist to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

Are you going to be gone for an extended period of time? Experts recommend doing this before you go to help prevent water damage:

  • Turn off the main water valve. Alternatively, turn off the valves for individual appliances such as your washing machine and toilets. Always consult a professional before closing your main valve.

  • Make sure your thermostat is properly set. If it's cold outside, make sure your house has constant heat while you're gone (a minimum temperature of 55°F).

  • Install intelligent leak detection sensors. These will notify you if there is a water leak while you are away. Make sure you have a neighbor or friend on speed dial in case this occurs.

  • Examine the condition of your sump pump pit. Before you leave, make sure your sump pump is in good working order.

  • Perform a visual inspection of your exposed plumbing. If you notice any discoloration, cracking, deposits, or other problems, contact a licensed professional right away.

Water does more than just cause damage to your home.

At the end of the day, it's critical to remember that plumbing issues do more than just harm your home and its contents. When severe exposure occurs, it has the potential to uproot your life as you know it. You may have to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired, and you, your loved ones, and your pets may be displaced for an extended period of time.

Be proactive in protecting your home, understand how to maintain and care for its systems, and exercise extreme caution when leaving the property, even if only for a few days. Finally, contact your local independent agent to ensure that your home insurance coverage is adequate in the event of damage.

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