5 tips to help prevent water damage

5 tips to help prevent water damage

Water damage can do more harm to your home than you think, causing unhealthy mould and plenty of financial and logistical headaches. Here are some tips to help you stay one step ahead.

1. Your water heater won’t last forever!

A water heater has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Replace it after 10 years or be prepared to keep a close eye on it!

Protect it against variations in temperature, which can make the base rust out when sitting directly on concrete. Set it in a plastic basin made specifically for hot water tanks.

Inspect it every year for rust, especially the greenish-blue verdigris that forms on brass and copper fittings.

Don’t empty the tank unless it’s to change the heating element.

2. Ah, cool air! But careful…

Do you have a wall mounted air conditioning unit?

  • Install it to slope slightly away from the wall – and not to the inside – to prevent water from seeping into the wall.
  • Make sure the drain hose is properly installed so that water doesn’t run down the outside wall.

Do you have a portable model?

  • Install it in a low-traffic area so it doesn’t get tipped over and the drain pipe stays where it belongs in the reservoir.
  • Empty the reservoir often so that it doesn’t overflow.

3. The roof can be a source of problems too!

Each time there are high winds, check your roof. If any tiles or shingles are missing, replace them as quickly as possible. If part of the roof appears to be missing, check around your lawn or at the neighbours for fallen tiles or shingles.

In fall, clean the gutters to keep water from accumulating during mild spells in winter or in spring. If they aren’t cleaned out, leaves and other debris will keep the water from draining properly. This can lead to ice forming (ice dams) and backing up under the shingles, and then when it melts to leak into the house.

And remember to check the roof itself:

  • Flat roof – granules and pitch? If you see any cracks or joints that seem dried out, patch them.
  • Asphalt shingles? Make sure the shingles are flat and that they are still well covered in grit.

In winter keep your roof shovelled if it lacks slope and/or there is too much snow accumulation.

Make sure air can circulate in the attic – check the number of vents, and the amount of insulation as well as how it’s installed. To make sure air circulates well, don’t cover the soffits, with insulation or anything else.

4. Window wells

At installation, make sure the window clears the top of the well.

Before winter, remove the leaves and other debris that has accumulated in the wells to help the water drain properly.

Remove snow to keep access to the window clear and reduce potential problems when the snow melts in the spring.

5. Handle your pipes with care

Does your house have outdoor taps?

  • If there’s a valve, close it in the fall.
  • Remove the watering hose.
  • Empty the hose and store in a dry area.

Does your fridge have a water dispenser?

  • Have it installed by a plumber.

Check the water intake tubing often. Moving the fridge for cleaning and the heat produced by the compressor can damage it.

Check flexible pipes and other tubing regularly. Variations in water pressure along with other factors such as faulty installation can lead to leaks over time.

Don’t put corrosive products near flexible pipes to avoid corrosion or cracking.

Planning to move? Don’t forget to use Teflon tape when you hook up your washing machine and dishwasher.

Don’t leave water leaks to chance. Get a leak detection device installed.

Water is a vital source of life, but it can also be a source of major problems. Do your homework!