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5 Preventable Water Damage Scenarios & How to Avoid Them

By Teri Dormer

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When it comes to water damage, there are often more questions than answers. Water damage repair can be complicated, depending on the various scenarios that have caused leaks to occur in the first place.

And then there’s the added confusion of when you can expect your homeowners insurance to step in and help cover the cost of the damages

While you may be left wondering does homeowners insurance cover water damage at all, it’s worth noting that the best-case scenario may be to take preventative measures to avoid water damage altogether.

You can’t control the weather or a storm surge, but when it comes to water damage that originates within your own home, there are steps you can take to help prevent these accidents in the first place. 
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5 Water Damage Scenarios You Can Avoid 

Here are five of the most common ways water damage can happen to you, and simple steps you can take to escape the expensive repairs associated with leaks, cracks, and faulty appliances. 

1. Frozen Pipes 

In the dead of winter, you should be just as passionate about keeping your pipes warm as you are about your own body temperature. 

When water is left running through pipes that are easily exposed to the elements, it’s far more likely that they may freeze with that water inside them.

If the water continues to run, the buildup of pressure can cause your pipes to burst, exposing almost every area of your home to water damage.  

How to avoid water damage repair from frozen pipes

There are plenty of ways you can avoid burst pipes and the leaks they cause during the winter. The easiest way to prevent an icy disaster is to shut off running water you don’t need (including to your lawn sprinklers), especially when it’s connected to an outside pipe.

You can also add extra insulation to your pipes to help keep them as warm as possible when turning off the water isn’t an option. 

2. Backed Up Gutters 

The buildup of natural debris in your gutters can lead to blockages and ice dams (particularly in colder months). In the event of rain, these blocked gutters can easily become a major hazard for water damage. 

How to avoid water damage repair from blocked gutters

At least twice a year, make a point of thoroughly cleaning out your gutters to remove any standing detritus that could stop water from flowing naturally and can cause water to become congested and leak instead of draining properly. 

3. Leaky Appliances 

It’s hard to predict when your appliances are going to stop working altogether, but if for some reason a malfunctioning appliance starts to leak in your home, the damage can be extensive and costly to repair. 

How to avoid water damage repair from faulty appliances

The manufacturer of your appliances likely has guides on how often you should be checking for signs that leaks may occur.

Additionally, it doesn’t cost much to regularly swap out old hoses attached to your washing machine, and this extra step can help save you thousands of dollars in damages. 

4. Malfunctioning AC Units 

When a major appliance is stored outside, there are any number of things that can go wrong. Your HVAC can be sturdy, but you still need to keep an eye on it to ensure water isn’t building up unexpectedly. 

How to avoid water damage repair from your HVAC

Flushing out the drain line from your AC unit is cheap and easy – and you probably already have everything you need. Don’t hesitate to clean out your AC lines at least once a month. 

5. Fire Sprinkler Leaks 

If you have a fire alarm system in your home, it can be a life-saving tool, but it can also cause costly leaks that go undetected for weeks and months at a time. 

For some homeowners, the signs that you have a hidden leak somewhere in your house isn’t the buildup of water, it’s the sticker shock you’ll get when the water bill arrives and indicates you’re expelling more water than you even realize.

How to avoid water damage repair from your sprinklers

Despite being recalled in 2011, there are still more than 35 million o-ring sprinklers in homes and buildings across the country. If you have sprinklers in your home, check the type and manufacturer to make sure yours aren’t damaged or faulty. 

Where to Turn for Water Damage Repair 

For most families, water damage is a nightmare that can go on for months. Not only are the repairs often expensive (and sometimes not covered by your homeowners insurance), you may lose priceless possessions in the process. 

Preventing water damage may not be guaranteed, but these simple steps can do more than you may realize to avoid major accidents before they have a chance to evolve into expensive repairs and claims.