When you think about all the pipes, hoses, gutters, and openings throughout your house, it's no wonder that water poses the one of the greatest threats to your home -- and your bank account. Sure, after your deductible, a high-quality insurance policy will typically pay for sudden and accidental water damage, but the inconvenience, and possibility about insurance not covering "lack-of-maintenance"-related water issues should make us to take this threat seriously and do what we can to prevent problems in the first place.
Inside Your Home: A water leak can occur anywhere in your home — most often in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room — and cause big-time damage to both your home and personal belongings. In addition to making sure everyone in your house knows how to turn off the water shutoff valve, there are several other specific steps you can take to lessen your risk.
In the Kitchen: To reduce the chances of a water leak, regularly check under the sink to see if the water connection supply line to the dishwasher is secure. Also, check around the base of the dishwasher for evidence of leaks. If your refrigerator has an icemaker, check the hose connection to make sure it is securely attached to the water supply line. Finally, inspect the caulking around sinks and check the pipes under the sink for signs of water leaks.
In the Bathroom: Check any caulking where walls meet the floor or the bathtub, looking for cracks or mold. Discolored or damp areas around floors and walls near showers, bathtubs or toilets are a good indication of a leak. If the shower walls or floor are tiled, a leak may develop if the tile grout develops cracks or there are areas of missing grout. If either situation is found, clean and remove loose material and apply new.
Laundry room: Inspect washing machine hoses regularly for dampness around hose ends and for any cracks or fraying. If any problems are found replace the hose. As a preventative measure, replace the hose every 3-5 years with metal braided hoses.
Outside: A leaky roof, poor drainage and clogged gutters or downspouts can lead to significant water damage inside a home and lead to damage to a roof or siding. Keep your roof and downspouts free from buildup of leaves, twigs and other materials that prevent proper drainage, and keep trees trimmed to prevent them from rubbing against the roof.
What to do when damage occurs: If water damage occurs to your property, such as with a storm, it is important to dry all wet areas and provide air circulation to aid in the drying process. Also, cover any exposed areas of the dwelling with a tarp to prevent further water damage. Covering exposed areas along with drying and dehumidifying wet areas can help minimize the possibility that mold will form due to the water damage. Always contact your insurance agent immediately to discuss whether it makes sense to start a claim.
Don't forget -- flood damage is NOT covered by your homeowners policy, as many folks in Franklin TN sadly realized only after the May 2010 flood. You need separate flood insurance, available through insurance agents, but provided by the U.S. Government, if you think there's a potential threat.
Hope you're having a great summer!
David Yates – Farmers Insurance
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Phone 615-778-1816 Fax 615-778-1817