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Water and Your Home

With the melting of the snow in winter and the showers of spring you should always be aware that there is a chance that water can enter your home and cause not just structural issues, but health issues for you and your family as well. But those are not the only means that water can enter your home or that you should be concerned with. Water has shaped some of the most impressive natural wonders on the planet and caused some of the most destructive natural disasters as well. So to not consider its potential for destruction and damage is to certainly invite it too. 



Water damage in your home is more than just soaked carpets, mold proliferation, and that awful musky smell. Apart from these issues, water damage can also lead to a variety of health complications and also compromise your home’s structural integrity.


One way of mitigating these potential issues is by identifying the root cause of the problem early on and taking action before it worsens. You don’t want to end up spending a bundle on home water damage repairs because you ignored the issue at its infancy. 


The following are eight common causes of water damage in homes. This way, you can act fast and identify the cause of any water damage to prevent it from getting any worse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


1. Adverse Weather Conditions


Sometimes the cause of water damage may have nothing to do with the plumbing system or any house installations. Adverse weather conditions can also cause significant water damage to your home. These weather conditions could be anything from excessive rainfall that causes flooding and extreme snow.


There’s nothing much you can do about adverse weather, except maybe take precautions to mitigate the water damage. So check your gutters, downspouts, and outside drainage if you suspect any heavy rain. As a good rule of thumb after a heavy rain check around your home for pooling to see where the low spots in the landscaping are and address them.


2. Clogged Gutters and Downspouts


Since we just talked about gutters, let's be honest most homeowners are guilty of overlooking their gutters, and only clean them when they really have to. When the gutters clog, the water is not carried away from the home. It can overflow and pool along the foundation. This can cause cracking and water intrusion of the slab, crawlspace, or basement.



3. Leaks in the Plumbing System


Water damage is often caused by plumbing issues and it is easy to see, or not see why. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s why it’s important to inspect the plumbing systems in your home at least once a year to ensure that there aren’t any problems with hoses or pipe joints. While inspecting, keep in mind that water pipes do have a certain lifespan. Brass pipes can last for as many as 70 years while copper pipes can last for more than 50 years. The average lifespan for galvanized steel pipes is often between 20 and 50 years, while drain pipes are usually made of either cast iron (which can last for as many as 100 years) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Properly maintained PVC pipes can last indefinitely. Have you noticed your water bill increasing? If it is unusually high, that might be an indication of an undetected leak.



4. Burst Pipes

During severely cold winters, pipes can freeze over and burst. That’s more likely to happen if you have certain types of pipes, such as swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and pipes with minimal insulation that run against exterior walls.


If temperatures tend to freeze in your area, be sure to protect your pipes. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes using heat tape or pipe sleeves available in your home improvement store. If you have water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage door closed as often as possible. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate. If you plan to spend some time away from your home, leave the heat on and set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees. You can’t control the weather, but you can put up a good fight to save your pipes.


5. Old and Faulty Appliances


Unless you’re doing laundry you probably don’t think twice about your washing machine. But if it breaks down, the results could be quite annoying. For example, if the supply hose is damaged or has a faulty connection to the wall or washing machine, more than 600 gallons of water could potentially spill out within an hour. Most people notice this before this amount of water is released, but we have all thrown in a load of laundry and started a project somewhere else in the home. Any amount of water could lead to significant damage, especially if your washing machine is located on the second floor of your home.


To prevent water damage, you should replace your washing machine supply hose at least once every five years. Also, resist the temptation to overload your washing machine. Constantly stuffing too many clothes into your washing machine could loosen gaskets and valves or cause cracks. Take good care of your washing machine and your washing machine will take good care of you.


6. HVAC


Your HVAC has probably gotten you through some freezing winters and searing summers, however, it could also be a source of water damage. Having an air conditioner doesn’t mean you automatically will have water damage in your home. Water damage only occurs when proper care and maintenance of your air conditioner is not done.


Your AC removes excess moisture from the air in your house and expels the water outside. If the AC drain clogs, the moisture will accumulate inside the drain pan. This water then overflows and trickles down onto the floor and damages it.


So make sure you take good care of your AC and replace the filters frequently, and check the drain pan to prevent water damage.


7. Blocked Toilets


Your toilet blocks when excess solid material goes down the toilet and clogs the drains. This causes water to overflow and flood your bathroom floor with toilet water. 


Apart from the obvious gross situation, a blocked toilet could also lead to a variety of health issues if you don’t address the issue immediately.


8. Septic Tank and Sewage Backup


If you have a septic tank, you need to be extra careful about septic backups. This occurs when the septic tank gets full, or excessive rain makes the septic tank overflow. When it does so, the organic matter in the sewage lines or septic tank backs up into your home through the drains.


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