Preventing Water Damage: Everyday Tips and Do-It-Yourself Maintenance that will Decrease Your Chances of Water Damage
Although water damage is often unpredictable, you can take steps to decrease the chances you’ll have a water-related emergency. It’s easy and inexpensive to properly maintain plumbing and HVAC systems. In most cases, you won’t need any tools more specialized than your eyes.
Everyday Tips For Preventing Water Damage
- Never pour grease or coffee grounds down drains, as they will clog drain pipes and lateral sewer lines.
- Avoid putting food waste larger than a pea in your garbage disposal. Trow away larger food waste or add it to your compost bin. When using your disposal, leave the water running and allow the disposal to work until the drain is completely clear.
- Only flush toilet paper down the toilet. Dispose of all other items in the trash and avoid using so-called “flushable” wipes.
- Use a drain snake instead of chemical drain cleaners if you have a small drain clog. It is more effective at removing clogs and less dangerous to your family and the environment.
Do-It-Yourself Maintenance and Inspections
- Identify and clearly mark your main water shutoff valve. Keep that area clear in case of emergency.
- Clean gutters and downspouts at least once a year. Check gutters during or just after heavy rains to ensure rainwater is flowing properly.
- Visually inspect all plumbing systems, including sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, dishwasher, washing machine, and hot water heater, for signs of leaks or damage.
- Check and repair caulking around sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets.
- Replace washers in plumbing fittings like sinks and toilets every few years to prevent leaks.
- Flush sink drains with vinegar and baking soda as necessary. Use lemon or lime juice to eliminate smells.
- If you have one, ensure your sump pump is in good working condition. Consider adding a battery backup in case the power fails during a storm.
- Review your water bill. Unexpected increases could be a sign that there is a problem somewhere.
- Contact a plumber or other professional if you notice signs of damage, wear, or incorrect operation on any of the items above.
- Have your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater professionally inspected once per year to ensure they are in proper working order.
- Sewer lines should be professionally cleaned or snaked approximately every two to three years.
- Consider having sewer backflow valves and standpipes installed to prevent sewage backups.
Steps For Preventing Water Damage While Traveling
- Turn off the water supply and drain the pipes.
- Adjust heating and cooling systems to their lowest settings or turn them off completely.
- Set the hot water heater to the vacation or away setting.
- Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member stop by your house every few days to check for issues.
Preventing water damage isn’t always possible, but these tips will greatly decrease the chances you’ll have a water-related issue.