If you own a home, you might be startled to find that the majority of water damage is not caused by natural disasters or flooding. It is really owing to unresolved plumbing concerns on the property, such as slow leaks, rusted pipes, and deteriorated valves and supply lines. Even your water makeup might be a source of contamination. Fortunately, many of these problems are avoidable with simple, proactive home care and regular maintenance. You can even take a step further and implement preventive measures like electronic water leak detection devices and exterior or interior basement waterproofing.

How Regular Home Maintenance Can Help Avoid Water Damage

Know where your main water shutoff valve is located

In the case of a burst pipe or other water emergency, knowing how to turn off your main water valve is vital. The valve is usually positioned on an external wall of the house, in the garage, or in the basement. If you have city water, the main water valve is usually on the street side of your home. If you have a well, the main water valve is usually on the same side of the home as your well. To turn off the main water valve, just spin the valve handle clockwise until it comes to a halt. Being able to quickly shut off the water can be the difference between a leak and a flood. Locating the main water shutoff can stop the water from a burst pipe from filling a room and In the event of a leak or a repair, closing the valve should cut off all water supply to your property.

Inspect your roof

Inspect your roof every season for loose, missing, damaged, or cracked shingles. You can, if the space provides it, view your home from a distance, you can easily notice missing shingles from your roof if strong winds have blown them off or they have reached the end of their lifespan. Water damage may undoubtedly occur if your roof is not weather-tight. Even if there is no substantial water damage, roof systems can leak in a variety of ways. Use a ladder to access your roof before the possibility of harsh weather. Inspect the area to look for any shingles that may enable water to enter the home. Overgrown moss might also be an issue since it can develop beneath the singles. Assess your roof for damage caused by falling branches after severe weather.

Visually inspect your pipes regularly

You do not have to be a skilled plumber to spot probable pipe problems. It is a good idea to walk through your home on a regular basis to inspect any exposed pipes, fittings, valves, or supply lines. Some exposed pipes and valves to look out for are under the sink, and underneath the toilets, and if your basement is unfinished you can locate many of the pipes and fittings from the floor above. Once you have located these pipes you should search for evidence of damage. This can include discoloration on metal pipes which can turn blue, green, yellow, or white. The pipes can also appear to be giving off deposits or rust-like build-up. The metal material on braided supply hoses can appear frayed and show signs of discoloration as well. In the event that you spot any of these issues, it is highly recommended in having a licensed plumber inspect and possibly replace the part. If left unchecked the problem areas can easily lead to bigger and more costly repairs in the near future.

Ensure your sump pump is functioning

Since sump pumps are usually found in basements or crawl spaces, they are the final line of defense in the case of interior flooding or rising groundwater. As the water level in the sump pit increases, the float activates the engine, signaling it to begin pumping water out of your home. Essentially, it eliminates unwanted water. Check that your sump pump turns on and removes water when it should, and that it is linked to a working electrical outlet. Arc-fault protection circuit breakers might fail, so make sure the breaker connected to the sump pump GFCI is turned on. As needed, replace defective breakers. A sump pump might accidentally tip over, so make sure it’s upright and that the float is operating. Any easy maintenance chore to ensure the proper function of the sump pump, you can pour water into the sump pit to confirm that it is properly moving water.

Monitor the water pressure

It is best to not just pay your water bill every month without first examining it. Examine your use history for any unusual patterns. Compare these water supply requests to previous invoices to see whether they make sense. You may also buy an electronic water leak detection device and place it directly on your home’s main water supply line. Water flow, temperature, and pressure will be monitored by the sensors. This technology detects leaks and burst pipes before they cause irreversible harm. When leaks are detected, some systems will even turn off the water supply completely which can be a major helping factor.

Check and repair any leaks in the basement

Included in your home maintenance checklist is checking the basement for any signs of leaks or water damage. Any signs of damage should be repaired immediately to avoid further issues. Out of your entire home, your basement can be the driving force for leaks and water damage based on a number of reasons. One reason is that many of your home’s pipes travel to and from the basement through either the water main or the drainage. As previously stated pipes have a lifespan and without proper maintenance, they can burst or leak over time. Another reason that basements can harbor the majority of leaks and water damage in a home is the fact that it is below ground. When it rains or when the snow melts the ground around your home absorbs the water and without proper runoff, the water can stay trapped around your basement walls. With the natural process of erosion, given enough time cracks could form around your basement eventually leading to leaks or water damage. From these scenarios, you may want to consider basement waterproofing.

Some signs to look for are water accumulation, discoloration, wall cracking, and mold. Water accumulation is one of the most evident indications of water damage in your basement. You must act promptly if you have standing water or water spilling into your basement. Experts will be required to determine where this water is coming from and to ensure that none of your belongings are affected. Another telltale symptom that you have water damage in your basement is discoloration. Water damage may be identified by brown stains on your walls, peeling drywall tape at seams, and peeling paint. Your paneling may also show signs of stains and discoloration.

Another sign to look out for cracks in your basement walls. It may be difficult to spot if drywall is concealing them, but a home inspector will be able to reach the crawlspace and unfinished portions of the basement to check for wall cracking. If water is leaking through gaps in the walls, you will need to hire a professional water damage restoration business to fix the damage. Lastly, Mold development is one of the ugliest and most harmful indications of water damage. Mold often takes several days to grow, so the water damage may have already caused damage to your property by this time. Due to the dampness, you may also detect a terrible, musty odor. Mold thrives when moist areas are not thoroughly dried off, and incorrect cleaning will leave residue or spread mold spores. If you detect mold forming in your basement, call a water damage restoration firm for help.

If you are unfamiliar with your plumbing system or have worries about it, get it inspected by a certified plumber for any problems or signs of impending ones. Ask the plumber to label your main water valve, as well as any other key plumbing valves with a red flag or piece of tape, for example. In an emergency, this can help you find them faster.