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Regular Maintenance Can Help Avoid Water Damage Problems

It’s been over a month since SuperStorm Sandy slammed the northeastern United States, destroying homes and businesses, leaving people without power and food, changing the course of a Presidential election, and who knows what else? The effects of this storm will continue to be felt for years, and Sandy will probably still be brought up in conversation decades from now, joining the ranks of other legendary storms such as Katrina, Hazel, Andrew, and Diana.

Unfortunately, most of the water damage that occurs in homes every year is not attributed to major storms, but rather faulty areas of the home that are vulnerable to damage. Often by the time that the damage has been discovered, significant problems are present, problems that may be time consuming and expensive to repair.

In fact, problems such as malfunctioning water tanks and washing machines are much more likely to cause damage to your home than anything that Mother Nature can trot out. One study determined that one out of every ten water damage claims can be traced back to those sources. Also, homes are much more likely to be damaged by water than by fire, with water damage claims outpacing fire damage claims in the last few years.

Also, the recent trend of installing washing machine on upper floors has increased the chances for water damage problems, since any leak that develops is going to flow downward, affecting walls, wiring, HVAC systems, and anything else n its path. For reasons such as these, homeowners need to be vigilant when it comes to making regular inspections and looking for any signs of water leaking before it has a chance to grow into something more serious (and costly). There are a number of obvious trouble spots:

Plumbing: Loose pipe joints and hose attachments may spring leaks over time, and they are the easiest to spot and fix. Plumbing inside walls is less obvious and may not be noticed until severe damage is done.

Pipes: clogged toilets and drains along with blocked garbage disposals and rusted pipes may cause leaks and damage. Exposed pipes may freeze and burst during colder weather. Pipes should be insulated or have a little warm water running through them at all times.

Heating and Air Conditioning: air intakes or duct systems may attract moisture, causing water damage within the walls. In addition, it provides the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Attics: Warm interior air mixing with cooler air from the outside may result in condensation on the underside of the roof, which means roof and interior wall damage and potential mold growth. Attics should be sealed as tightly as possible to protect it from the elements gaining access.

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