A Homeowner’s Constant Challenge: Water Damage

Water damage is a constant challenge faced by property owners across the country. Despite the presence of basic water control devices, unexpected problems can arise, ranging from minor flooded backyards to serious mold growth inside walls. To avoid costly repairs, it is recommended to schedule an annual maintenance check of all items related to water damage prevention.

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Water damage is a battle that every property owner faces in nearly every location across the country. While not as frightening as wildfires or earthquakes, the costs related to water damage over time can be much greater. As many homeowners have experienced during recent heavy rainfall, water can have devastating impacts on homes.

Common Water Damage Problems

Even with basic water control devices in place, such as gutters, downspouts and drainpipes, unexpected problems can occur. Sometimes the issues are minor, such as flooded backyards that don’t affect structures. Other times they can become serious, such as the extensive growth of mold inside walls, which can result in costly repairs.

Prevention Measures

The following offers a summary of some of the more common water damage problems and steps you can take to prevent them in your home:

  1. Leaks in pipes, roofs, windows, and other parts of the home can lead to dry rot and mold growth. Regular inspections of pipes, faucets, and roofing for signs of leaks will allow for prompt repairs.
  2. Dampness and excessive humidity can lead to mold growth and other health problems. Proper ventilation helps prevent dampness and mold.
  3. Excessive water around a home’s foundation can lead to settling, cracking, and other structural issues. Directing rainwater away from your foundation and proper drainage minimizes the risk of water damage.
  4. Sealing even small cracks around windows, doors, and chimney flashing will prevent water intrusion into the structure.
  5. Water heater corrosion or leaks may indicate it’s time for replacement. A leaking water heater, especially inside the house, can be a major problem.
  6. If your house is in a location prone to flooding or runoff, a French drain will keep the water away from the structure. A sump pump provides added protection if there is a high water table or if water has entered the foundation area.
  7. Roof systems are a major component of water intrusion. Regular inspections can detect sub-optimal conditions before they lead to leaks or wood rot damage. Issues to look for include missing or damaged shingles, improper flashing, degraded roofing materials, clogged gutters, and growth of mold.
  8. Hiring well-recommended, licensed, and insured roofing contractors for annual inspections will ensure quality maintenance.

Importance of Prevention

Even if you don’t think your home is susceptible to water damage, be aware that many homeowners who felt the same way have regretted it later. Some have incurred costs ranging from $20,000 to $60,000 because they didn’t pay attention to water intrusion issues.

Scheduling an annual maintenance check of items such as flashlights, smoke detectors, emergency lanterns, furnace and air conditioner filters, and fire extinguishers is important for preventing water damage and maintaining a safe home.

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