Tips to Avoid Water Damage

Anyone being smug about other people's floods should know flooding WITHIN homes is a growing issue: Old pipes and valves, worn-out hoses on second-story washing machines and faulty connections for a proliferation of water-using appliances are causing a surge in increasingly expensive damage reported to insurers. Many other types of claims - including fire - have declined in frequency. 2% of homeowners filed a water-damage claim each year between 2013 and 2017, up from 1.44% annually between 2005 and 2009 resulting in $13 billion damages for homeowners’ insurance companies in 2017. Claims average about $10,000. Here are problem areas worth evaluating:

ROOF AND ATTIC: Missing, worn or broken roofing material may allow water to penetrate. The attic should be properly ventilated.

BATHROOM: Inspect to determine that caulking is watertight in tubs and shower stalls. Watch for dripping under sinks.

KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY ROOM: Inspect water supply hoses for appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, ice makers, garbage disposals and washing machines.

BASEMENT: Know where the shutoff valve is for the main water supply. Consider shutting off your water if away from home for a week or more. Inspect visible plumbing lines and your water heater for leaks or damage. Avoid storing valuables in your basement; use racks for elevation if you do.

TERRACES: Especially in zones that freeze, shutting down water supplies should be handled professionally.