3 Ways to Prevent Water Damage Inside and Out

water damage restorationWater damage is one of the most common disasters affecting homes and can be the most expensive. Let's look at three main areas where you can prepare for or prevent the damage entirely:

Exterior preparation

Take a turn around the outside of your home. Check the roof for worn or missing shingles, cracks and other damage. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris, and not just in the Spring. Debris can collect in them at almost any time and cause runoff to pouring onto your foundation or onto a part of your house that's not designed to handle water flow. Look carefully for cracks in your siding and places where it's come loose. Make sure all flashing—metal stripping used where two different building materials meet—is secure. These areas are especially vulnerable to water. Inspect every opening into your house, from windows to dryer vents. Seepage often appears at the corners of doors and windows. Flaking or peeling paint on a window or doorframe may indicate the wood is swelling from water. Pay special attention to any window or door that's suddenly difficult to open or close; this may also be due to water swelling. Make sure all vents have a hood to prevent water from entering. If pipes or cables pass through exterior walls, check that the openings are properly sealed and there are no cracks. If you find some, an inexpensive off-the-shelf sealant from your local hardware store can usually solve the problem. Lastly, check your landscaping. Make sure no tree branches are close to or touching the house or roof. Water can run along them and so can insects and animals such as ants or squirrels. If you use sprinklers, check them as well to ensure they aren't causing water to pool against your foundation or spray into vents or other openings.

Interior preparation

As you look inside your home, check for discoloration (especially on ceilings) and be aware that if water is leaking in through your roof, it may travel for some distance along a truss or duct before it reaches a ceiling or wall. Also check your floors for deformations and color changes. Be aware of the smells around you; you may detect a musty smell well before structural or mold damage becomes visible. Check under each sink and around each toilet for possible leaks. Also check near your washer. Check the water line into your refrigerator if it has one, and check your dishwasher carefully for leaks. The dishwasher's position under a counter can sometimes hide a leak for months. Check the hoses and lines at each appliance and plumbing fixture for leaks or damage. Where you can, replace rubber hoses with steel braided lines. It's a good idea to check your water heater for leaks and rust, especially if it's been a few years since it was installed. Make sure you're familiar with all the water shutoffs in the house, from the main shutoff to the hot water shutoff on top of the water heater to the individual line shutoffs for each sink and toilet. Getting these turned off in a timely manner if a leak breaks out can save a lot of hassle and expensive repairs. Speaking of shutoffs, make use of them anytime you go out of town. If an appliance leaks or a pipe bursts while you're away, it could go unnoticed for days or weeks and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Before you leave home, turn off the main valve. If for some reason (such as an irrigation system) you need the water on while you're away, find and shut off supply valves between the main and various parts of the house, or use the individual shutoffs.

And if the worst happens...

Keep your insurance information in an easily accessible place so you can call your agent immediately. If you experience flooding, a pipe leak or other water damage, it's important to respond quickly to the disaster. It's also important to have a professional cleaning and restoration company, like LDR Cleaning and Restoration, chosen well ahead of time so you can get them on the job as soon as possible. Make sure you choose one with excellent references, extensive experience and up-to-date technology so they can get your home back to normal in short order. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold remediation, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


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