Water damage is something that no one wants to think about or ever thinks will happen. Some may be lucky enough to escape this inconvenience, but almost everyone in Seattle experiences a water loss at some point. You don’t need to be an expert, but there are a few things that should be kept in mind to prevent water damage. With some effort you can ensure a flood doesn’t become a bigger disaster than necessary.
Water Damage Prevention
It may sound trite, but it is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are a number of easy steps to minimize your risk of a flood and prevent water damage before it happens:
Water Heater Replacement
Make sure that your water heater is replaced every ten years. This is not to say that a well maintained water heater can’t last longer, but almost every water heater that fails is at least ten to fifteen years old. This is especially critical in an apartment or condominium, where many water heaters are in close quarters. Chances are even greater that a failed water heater may become more than the owner’s problem. A good tip is to get all residents of a condo association to replace their water heaters at the same time in order to get a bulk rate for the service.
Water Heater Pan Alarm
If your water heater does not have the option for a pan with a drain, it is still a good idea to install your water heater in a pan with a water-sensing alarm. Most water heater leaks start out slow enough that nobody notices until they flood a whole room. An alarm will allow you to know that there is a problem soon enough to allow you to turn off the water supply valve to the water heater.
Making sure that your gutters and storm drains are clear and functioning properly will help to ensure that you are not charging the ground water hear your home. This is also important to make sure that you are able to ride out a sudden flash flood. Homes with finished basements are particularly susceptible to this problem since the ground water can often leach through the concrete walls. An easy way to spot trouble in your basement is to look for calcification on your basement walls.
Protect Your Home
Keeping within your home or building’s budget may be important, but never at the risk of protecting your investment. You don’t always need to buy top-of-the-line fixtures, but it is a bad risk to buy cheap. Plastic valves and Flow Guard pipes are brittle and never last as long. All too often someone accidentally disturbs such a fixture and ends up breaking it, resulting in either a dramatic pipe burst or even a slow leak that isn’t detected for many days. Of course, it is critical to obtain both homeowners insurance and flood insurance to protect your home.
Lastly, encourage those around you not to leave appliances unattended. It may be hard to get everything done in your day, but it is best to schedule your laundry and dish washing when you are home. When such and appliance fails it is always when it is running. Being home will allow you to minimize damage by turning your flooding appliance off.
Dealing With a Flood
If all else fails and a flood happens anyway, DON’T WAIT TO ACT! The first 24 hours of a flood are very critical. If you have flood damage from a clean water source, such as a broken water supply line or a roof leak, you may be able to salvage everything. If a carpet and pad can be dried in under 48 hours, you won’t have to dispose of them. Drywall also has a short shelf life. If drywall isn’t dried in seven days it is at high risk for mold growth. Complete drying can often take a few days, so if you wait until the fifth or sixth day to act, it may be too late.
Another time-sensitive material is hardwood floors. When hardwood floors get wet, they will “cup” and or “crown”.