How to prevent six common homeowners claims from water damage
Water damage is one of the most common reasons people file homeowner policy claims. While homeowners policies generally provide protection if the cause is sudden and accidental (but not normal wear and tear or neglected maintenance), you’d probably prefer not to deal with the inconvenience and the mess.
Here are six examples of claims and how to prevent them:
#1 Washing machine floods
The water supply hoses to your washing machine are typically made of PVC or rubber, which degrades and overtime can crack, rot, and rupture, causing a pressurized geyser of water that will run until the valve is shut off. Tip: To avoid water leaks and possible water damage, replace them with braided hoses.
#2 Bath tub/shower grout and edge leaks
Over time, shower and tub grout or caulking can decay, or cracks can develop. If left untreated, this can lead to serious water damage to walls, flooring and paint. Tip: Frequently inspect and repair seals, calling in a professional if needed. Close shower doors and curtains. Wipe up spills on surrounding areas quickly.
#3 Toilet troubles
Toilet overflows and leaks are common problems, but can cause big trouble if not fixed quickly and properly. Tip: Be attentive.There are numerous spots where leaking can occur-check for cracks in the porcelain as well as standing water around the base. Frequent clogs, constantly running water, and problems flushing are more signs a toilet needs repair.
#4 Refrigerator problems
Water puddling under your refrigerator, a malfunctioning icemaker, or a water dispenser are never good signs. The plastic water plastic lines extending from the back of your fridge can cause extensive kitchen damage in no time. Tip: Look regularly for any leaks, kinks, or clogs in the plastic supply line and signs of moisture or leaking. If uncertain, contact an experienced professional. Be careful not to crimp a water hose or pull it loose when moving the refrigerator.
#5 Dishwasher woes
Several things can cause a dishwasher leak: a leak in the door, a hole in the tub, cracked hoses, and the results can be disastrous. Tip: Every three months, check all hoses for signs of wear and tear and replace as needed. Keep the dishwasher clean. Consumer Reports suggests cleaning the filter once a week or so and sanitize and deodorize by placing a clean bowl with a couple cups of white vinegar toward the center of the bottom rack. Then run the dishwasher on the normal cycle without detergent.
#6 Hot water heater catastrophes
Over time hot water heaters wear out and show signs of malfunction. 69% of failures result from a slow leak or sudden burst. Tip: Regularly inspect the water heater and the pipes around the unit for any signs of leakage, moisture, mold, mineral buildup, and corrosion. Flush the water heater tank twice a year to eliminate sediment buildup. Add a drip pan below the water heater that drains to the outside of the property. Many water heater manufacturers estimate the heaters will need to be replaced in 8 to 12 years, so replacing a unit when it is nearing this age can be good protection against unwanted damage.
There are also water leak detection and shut off systems that can help minimize the damage when a leak occurs. They can be appliance specific or for the whole house, alarm only or smartphone alerting, and complicated or simple. It’s an investment worth investigating.