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9 Top Tricks to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

By Jarrod Heil

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Every day, people across the United States suffer preventable water damage to their homes.

Water can pour into your home’s foundation from clogged gutters or cracks in the exterior. It can seep into the walls from unchecked roofs and sump pumps. It takes to damage in so many shapes, sizes and forms. But one thing is all too common among water damage claims: many could’ve been easily prevented.

For homeowners, water damage is an extremely frustrating occurrence. When it comes to combating water damage in your home, taking preventative measures is the surefire way to protect your home against water damage.

Here are the nine top tips and tricks to prevent your home from becoming the victim of preventable home water damage.

1. Inspect Roof

Since the roof is the most exposed to water on a regular basis compared to any other part of your home, it’s imperative that you inspect the roof a few times a year to make sure it’s not missing any shingles, has any damage or has incurred a buildup of leaves, sticks or other non-native materials.

If your roof isn’t properly maintained, it could potentially wear down quicker than any other part of your home. Check your roof for broken or missing shingles, tiles or other material it’s made of. It’s also important to check the interior your attic during or directly after a big rainstorm. If you see any damp spots, they might be the first signs of water damage to your roof.

To ensure roof is in condition, we recommend hiring a professional contractor to inspect your roof at least once every four years. They’ll be able to determine any damage and let you know if your roof needs repairs. 

2. Clean Gutters

Clogged gutters is one of the most common causes of home water damage. Ensuring your gutters are unclogged is also one of the easiest, most important methods for preventing water damage from occurring in the first place.

All you need to do is clean your gutters (or hire someone to clean them) at least twice per year. If you live in a cold-weather climate, it’s important to clean them before the snow starts falling. Adversely, if you live in a hurricane-prone or rain prone-area, you’ll want to make sure your gutters are properly cleaned before storm season starts.

Clean them after the storms, too. Storms can leave leaves, branches and other debris inside the gutters that can also clog the downspouts.

3. Get Gutter Guards

Once you’ve cleaned your gutters of all debris, do yourself a favor and install gutter guards. Gutter guards typically go over your gutters and contain small hundreds of small holes, which let the water drain from your roof but keeps the big debris out.

Gutter guards can let in some small debris, so it’s still important to clean your gutters at least twice per year to ensure the gutters and downspouts and allowing water to properly flow.

4. Redirect Downspouts & Yard Water Runoff

Make sure your gutter’s downspouts are pointed away from your home so all the water running off your roof also runs away from your house. It’s also important to make sure the runoff from any water compiling in your yard is pointed away from your home.

If you have a constant flow of water going toward your home during each rainstorm, it will eventually find a way to seep into your home’s foundation in the form of cracks and porous holes. This is one of the easiest ways for how to protect your foundation from water damage.

5. Seal Windows & Doors

Sealing your home’s windows and doors with caulk helps to prevent any water from unnecessarily making its way into your home’s floors or walls. The water that seeps through your windows and doors can quickly become a nuisance and create damage that’s expensive to repair.

By using silicone caulk, you’ll ensure your windows and doors remain waterproof for a longer period of time. You’ll also need to clean all the water way from the cracks before caulking. Check around your home’s windows and doors every two to three years to make sure water isn’t coming inside.

6. Inspect Tubs, Showers & Toilets

Inspecting all the tubs, showers and toilets in your home to make sure they’re holding in all the water and not letting any out is extremely important. To inspect them, fill each up with water to about two inches below the rim. Then let the water stand in for four to five hours.

If the water levels change drastically, it’s time to call a professional to see if you have a leak. If the water levels have remained somewhat the same, there is likely no leaks in the surface of your tubs, showers or toilets. Keep in mind that drains can let out a little bit of water and some can also be lost due to evaporation. 

7. Test Sump Pump, Water Tank & Water Heater

Your home’s sump pump, water tank and water heater contain the most amount of standing water at a single time in your home. This means a leak or burst in any of them could result in extensive damage that isn’t easy or cheap to repair.

If you have a sump pump in your home, it’s best to check it before the storm season starts. Sump pumps are designed to prevent your basement from flooding, but they can get pretty jam packed due to heavy rains. To prevent flooding, test the sump pump at least twice per year to ensure it’s working properly.

8. Check Pipes for Leaks

You may have to call a professional out to your home for this one, but you’ll be glad you did if it prevents a small leak from becoming a big problem. Inspect all the plumbing pipes in your home once or twice a year to make sure there aren’t any leaks.

Long-term leaks can lead to substantial structural damage to your home. They can rot wood, create damaging mold and attract animals and insects into your home.

9. Take Safety Measures Seriously

The best way to prevent extensive damage from occurring is to take emergency safety measures seriously. Locate your home’s master water shut-off valve so you know where it is in the even a burst pipe occurs.

In an instance of panic due to home water damage, you can help to prevent it from becoming worse by immediately shutting off the water.

Installing an emergency pressure release valve could also save you a ton of money and from the need of filing a home insurance claim. These valves are designed to relieve pressure from your home’s pipes, which prevents freezing, clogging and bursting.

When it comes to preventing water damage, many people have to learn the hard way. But you can take the previous nine preventative measures and make sure your home doesn’t fall victim to unnecessary water damage.