Flooded basements, leaky roofs, busted pipes, clogged gutters …
One of the most common, and costly, misfortunes affecting residences across the country is water damage. It accounts for billions of dollars lost each year to homeowners and renters.
There is, however, some relief.
Here are ways – both inside and outside – to protect your home from water damage.
Inspect your roof
After all, your roof is constantly exposed to sunlight and precipitation. Naturally, its surface begins to change over time. If you notice it starting to deteriorate, it may be necessary to remove and replace the shingles on your roof in order to extend its shelf life, which will thus help protect the interior of your home from water damage.
Also, check out these steps on how to find a roof leak.
Clinton J. Ford, a Gainesville, Florida native and certified general and roofing contractor with over 30 years experience, said you should never inspect your own roof.
“At a minimum, you should hire a licensed professional roofing contractor to go on your roof and inspect for normal wear and deterioration. Then make the required repairs every five years or, if reaching the end of its life expectancy, every two years.”
Clinton J. Ford, Advanced Building Consultants
Clean your gutters
Ensuring good drainage is essential to protecting your home from water damage. Poor drainage weakens your foundation, leading to cracks, uneven settling, and pathways for water to enter your home.
How often should you clean your gutters?
You should clean your gutters at least once or twice a year, or after a big storm where wet leaves, branches, and other debris could clog your gutters and downspouts. A downspout is one of the most important aspects of the gutter system.
A downspout is a pipe for carrying rainwater from a gutter. They are extended down to ground level, typically extending several feet from a home to ensure proper discharge of water away from the foundation. Gutter extensions attached to the bottom of the downspout will discharge water well beyond the foundation.
How to clean gutters
- Begin cleaning the gutter near a downspout.
- Remove large debris (leaves, twigs, etc.) with a garden trowel and dump it in a bucket.
- Flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose.
Install gutter guards
Installing gutter guards is also an option. Gutter guards are a device used to protect your gutters from clogging with leaves, as well as water and debris.
There are many different types of gutter guards, including reverse curve, mesh, and nylon. Prices vary depending on which gutter guard you get and how much of it you need.
Caulk and seal your windows
In order to prevent water seepage, it’s important to caulk and seal windows regularly. Caulking can also prevent water damage to the inside of your home when applied to bathtubs, ceiling fixtures, drains, faucets, and other plumbing fixtures.
How to caulk a window
- Choose the right caulk: For a long-lasting seal, choose permanently waterproof, flexible, shrink and crack-proof 100 percent silicon. Avoid using acrylic caulk, which can shrink and crack over time, leading to water seepage.
- Clean the surface: Remove old caulk and loose particles with a caulk-removing tool.
- Prepare the tube and seal: Insert tube of caulk into the caulking gun and seal around cracks. Squeeze with even, consistent pressure to control the rate at which the caulk comes out.
- Smooth the caulk seal: After applying the caulk to the desired areas, use your finger or a wet caulk-smoothing tool to get a perfect caulk bead.
Check your pipes
It’s a good idea to inspect all the pipes in your home at least once a year. Over time, pipes gradually corrode, rust, and decay. Failure to replace your plumbing could result in leakage, or possibly a flood of water or raw sewage into your home that could cause thousands of dollars in damage. In that case, make sure you know the location of the main water shutoff valve in your home.
Ford said one of the thing’s people neglect the most at their home when it comes to preventing water damage is the “failure to understand the required maintenance necessary to maintain a healthy habitat.”
Install an emergency pressure release valve
By installing an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system, you will be able to protect your home from the increased pressure that’s caused by freezing pipes, thus preventing your pipes from bursting.
Test your sump pump
Commonly located in the basement of homes, a sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water collecting sump basin. Sump pumps are the first line of defense against basement flooding. They send water away from a home to any place where it’s no longer a problem, such as a municipal storm drain.
How to test a sump pump
- Locate the exit pipe on the outside of your home through which the sump pump directs water from the basement. Inspect the pipe for damage and remove any clogs if necessary.
- Look over the sump pump in your basement, check to see that the electrical cord is plugged into an outlet, and remove the lid to the sump pump if it has one. Remove any debris if necessary.
- Pour approximately five gallons of water into the basin of your sump pump. Pour slowly until the pump turns on and begins to pump out water.