How to Prevent Water Damage While You’re Away
Water damage, a frequently encountered and expensive problem, can occur when you’re away from home. Whether you’re taking a short vacation or an extended business trip, it’s essential to take precautions to protect your property from potential water damage caused by leaking pipes, faulty appliances, or unforeseen accidents. In this comprehensive article, we will provide you with valuable tips and insights on how to prevent water damage while you’re away, ensuring peace of mind during your absence.
Inspect and Repair Plumbing
Before leaving, it’s crucial to inspect your plumbing system thoroughly. Check for any leaks, drips, or signs of corrosion. Pay close attention to pipes under sinks, behind toilets, and in the basement. If you notice any issues, such as loose connections or worn-out seals, it’s recommended to repair them promptly. A small leak can quickly escalate into a major problem if left unattended.
Shut Off Water Supply
One of the most effective ways to prevent water damage while you’re away is by shutting off the main water supply. Locate the shut-off valve in your home and turn it off. This will prevent water from flowing into your plumbing system and minimize the risk of leaks or burst pipes. Additionally, consider shutting off the water supply to individual appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, to eliminate any potential leaks.
Drain Your Plumbing System
To further protect your property from water damage, it’s advisable to drain your plumbing system before leaving. Start by turning on all faucets and letting the water run until it stops flowing. Flush toilets to remove any remaining water from the tanks and bowls. Additionally, consider using compressed air to blow out any residual water from the pipes. By completely draining your plumbing system, you significantly reduce the chances of water-related incidents occurring.
Insulate Exposed Pipes
If you live in an area with cold climates, insulating exposed pipes is essential. Insulation helps to prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting, which can lead to extensive water damage. Use pipe sleeves or heat tape to insulate pipes located in unheated areas, such as basements, attics, or crawl spaces. Ensure that all joints and fittings are properly covered, as they are more susceptible to freezing.
Install Water Leak Detection Devices
Investing in water leak detection devices can provide an extra layer of protection against water damage. These devices are designed to alert you when they detect moisture or leaks in your home. Some advanced systems can even automatically shut off the water supply when a leak is detected, preventing further damage. Consider installing these devices near appliances, water heaters, and areas prone to leaks, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Maintain Proper Drainage
Proper drainage around your property is crucial for preventing water damage, especially during heavy rainfall or storms. Ensure that your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and functioning correctly. Direct downspouts away from the foundation of your home to prevent water from seeping into the basement or crawl spaces. Consider installing gutter extensions or splash blocks to redirect water further away from your property.
Enlist the Help of a Trusted Neighbor or Friend
Having a trusted neighbor or friend keep an eye on your property can be invaluable when you’re away. Ask them to check your home periodically, especially after storms or heavy rain. If they notice any signs of water damage, they can alert you immediately, allowing you to take swift action. Additionally, providing them with your contact information and a spare key can help address any emergencies promptly.
Consider Installing a Water Shut-Off System
For added peace of mind, you may want to consider installing a water shut-off system. These systems can automatically detect leaks, monitor water usage, and shut off the water supply if a problem is detected. Some advanced systems can even be controlled remotely through smartphone apps, giving you real-time updates and control over your home’s water supply. Investing in a water shut-off system can provide an extra layer of protection, particularly if you frequently travel or own a vacation property.
Test Sump Pump Functionality
If your home has a basement with a sump pump, it’s crucial to ensure its proper functionality before leaving. Heavy rains or flooding can put a strain on the pump, and a malfunctioning unit can result in extensive water damage. Test the sump pump by pouring water into the sump pit and observing whether it activates and effectively removes the water. If any issues arise, consider contacting a professional to inspect and service the pump.
Set Up Environmental Monitoring
In addition to water damage prevention, it’s essential to consider other potential threats to your home’s environment while you’re away. Environmental monitoring systems can detect changes in temperature, humidity, and even air quality. By installing these devices, you can receive alerts and take necessary actions if any abnormal conditions are detected. Maintaining a controlled environment within your home helps to prevent mold growth, excessive moisture, and other detrimental effects.
Prepare for Extended Absences
If you plan to be away from home for an extended period, it’s crucial to take extra precautions. Consider turning off and unplugging non-essential electronics to minimize the risk of electrical fires or power surges. Adjust your thermostat to an energy-efficient setting to save energy and maintain a stable indoor climate. Additionally, inform your trusted neighbor or friend about your extended absence, providing them with emergency contact information and instructions on how to handle any unexpected situations.
Check Insurance Coverage
While preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of water damage, it’s always wise to review your insurance coverage. Ensure that your homeowner’s insurance policy includes adequate protection against water-related incidents. Understand the terms and conditions, including any exclusions or limitations, and consider obtaining additional coverage if needed. Familiarize yourself with the claims process so that you know how to proceed in the event of water damage.
By implementing these proactive measures, you can minimize the likelihood of water damage while you’re away and protect your home and belongings. Remember, prevention is key, and taking the necessary steps before your departure can save you from significant expenses, stress, and inconvenience upon your return. If you are experiencing residential water damage. Call one of our IICRC certified specialist today (414) 263-9099.