21 Tips to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

Prevent costly water damage to your home with a few of these tips.

1. Check the grade, be sure the lot slopes away from the foundation.(See Figure #1)

Exterior grades can prevent or contribute to basement & foundation flooding

Figure #1

2. Grass next to your foundation, because it sheds water… flower beds absorb water.

3. Be sure any paved surfaces near the home structure are sloped to direct water away. (See Figure #2)

water leaking into basement

Figure #2

4. Regularly inspect your roof for any signs of age or damage.

any flashed area poses a potential roof leak

Figure #4

5. Check interior (attic, ceilings, walls) for any signs of water entry.

look for water stains on the roof sheathing to find a leak

Figure #6

6. After source of leak is found, dry out surfaces thoroughly with a fan, and repair.

7. Be sure your attic is well ventilated, so moisture doesn’t build up causing mold, rot, and other moisture related issues.

8. Be sure no leaves, twigs, or debris block the roof drainage slots.

9. Never install two vapor retarders in the same wall, water moisture can get trapped and cause damage.

10. A common source of water damage is entry through tile joints and tile/tub cracks.  Grout tub and shower joints often with flexible silicone or latex caulk.

a common source of water damage to tiled walls is water entry through the joins or at tile/tub cracks. Grout tile joins often and use a flexible silicon or latex caulk to seal the joint between the tile and tub.

Figure #10

11. Keep tub and shower surfaces dry between uses by drying with a towel.

12. When going on a trip, and leaving your home for a number of days, shut off water at the main valve.

shut off water at the meter

Figure #12

13. To prevent indoor humidity that leads to mold and mildew, check all plumbing for leaks.

14. Insulate water supply pipes to prevent condensation, that leads to dripping.

15. Cover sumps and keep toilet lids closed to prevent excess moisture in your home.

16. If you have rubber water supply hoses connected to your clothes washer, inspect them often for age and wear.  Replace before they fail.

17. To prevent water condensation from dripping down your toilet tank or bowl and damaging your floor, insulate the tank with a styrofoam insulation kit inside the toilet tank, or buy a terry cloth cover for the tank to warm the tank to reduce condensation and prevent dripping.

18. To eliminate plumbing drain back up, use strainers at all sink/tub/shower drains to keep them free of clogging debris, such as food, hair, soap pieces, etc.

19. Run kitchen disposals often with lots of water to prevent blockage.

20. Set up a regular drain cleaning schedule to clean your main sewer drain, to prevent possible future disasters.  Contact your city utilities dept. to see if this service is available.

sump pump is shown here with cover in place. Open sumps, toilets, or any standing water can add humidity to the house.

Figure #15

Have a pro clean the main drain periodically to avoid major sewer backup

Figure #20

21. Before you experience a flood, check your insurance coverage to know the limits of flood coverage.  You may require a special amendment to your policy or a separate policy.

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