Need help keeping your home safe from water damage? Knowing what kind of water damage can happen in your home or building will help you take preventive measures to keep water from causing severe structural damage, ruining your furniture, and causing mold and mildew growth.
alpharettawaterdamageremoval.com gathered information about common causes of water damage in a home and what you can do to prevent it.
What is Water Damage
Water damage is any physical damage caused to property that has come into direct contact with water. It can originate from natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or torrential downpours. Other causes of water damage can include leaky plumbing, burst pipes, or even a leaking roof. Consider the following water damage causes and how to prevent them:
1. Severe Weather and Natural Disasters
Natural disasters, like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, can cause significant water damage to your home (inside and outside). While you cannot prevent natural disasters, you can take proactive steps to minimize the damage. Consider the following preventive measures:
- Keep your gutters and downspouts clean and in good condition
- Install flood sensors and alarms to alert you to potential flooding
- Consider purchasing flood insurance to protect your property
Tip: Flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and is available in participating NFIP communities. Read more at fema.gov/flood-insurance
2. Human Error
Human error, like leaving a faucet running in a basin with poor or stopped drainage, can cause significant water damage to your home. Consider the following measures to prevent human error:
- Educate yourself and your family on the proper use of plumbing fixtures and appliances
- Make sure everyone in your home knows how to turn off the main water supply in case of an emergency
- Consider installing automatic shut-off valves to prevent water damage from human error
Tip: When faucets become challenging to shut off, call a professional plumber to fix the problem or replace the faucet entirely.
3. Leaking or Burst Pipes
One of the more common causes of water damage is burst or leaking pipes (most frequent during frigid winters). This can occur from old age, corrosion, freezing temperatures, or improper installation. Consider the following preventive measures to prevent burst or leaking pipes:
- Schedule regular maintenance and inspections of your plumbing system
- If you notice any signs of leaking or dripping, like discolored walls or ceilings, musty odors, or damp spots, call a professional plumber immediately
Tip: If you live in a region that frequently experiences freezing temperatures, have your plumbing well insulated or equipped with warming strips.
4. Basement Floods
A basement flood can occur due to various factors, like heavy rain, melting snow, or a malfunctioning sump pump. Consider the following to prevent basement flooding:
- Ensure your basement is adequately waterproofed
- Install a sump pump with a backup power source to prevent flooding during power outages
- Ensure your basement windows are sealed and in good condition
- Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water backups
- Elevate the furnace, water heater, air conditioner, and other utilities
Tip: Keep your basement well-ventilated and conditioned to prevent moisture buildup and mold or mildew growth.
5. Leaking Roof
Roof leaks commonly cause water damage, especially during heavy rainfall or snowfall. Such leaks can be caused by damaged or missing shingles, clogged gutters, or improper installation. Consider the following to prevent roof leaks:
- Have your roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor regularly
- Keep your gutters clean and clear of debris
- Replace any missing or damaged shingles immediately
Tip: Regular roof inspections should occur in late spring and fall or after severe weather events. Consult your roofer to develop a maintenance program that suits your needs.
6. Water-Based Home Appliances
Water-based appliance malfunctions, like a broken washing machine or dishwasher, can cause significant water damage to your home. Consider the following to prevent appliance malfunctions:
- Schedule regular maintenance and inspection of your appliances
- Check for leaks, cracks, or other signs of wear and tear
- Replace any worn-out hoses or connectors
Tip: Watch for pooling water on your counters or floors. Leaks often begin slowly before erupting into a complete malfunction.
7. HVAC System Malfunctions
HVAC system malfunctions can cause significant water damage to your home. This can occur from clogged drain lines, faulty condensation pumps, or improper installation. To prevent HVAC system malfunctions, consider the following:
- Schedule regular HVAC maintenance and inspection
- Clean or replace your air filters regularly
- Ensure your condensation pump is functioning correctly
Tip: Many air filter manufacturers and HVAC companies strongly recommend changing your air filter every 90 days (3 months).
Water Damage Causes
In this article, you discovered some of the most common causes of water damage and how you can keep them from being so destructive.
Understanding how water damage can happen in your home will help you stay on top of preventive, routine, and seasonal maintenance to prevent it.
Failing to maintain your appliances, roof, HVAC, and other potential sources of water damage can leave you with severe structural damage and costly repair bills.