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Protect Your Home from Water Damage

Water Image
Water damage is a serious threat to homeowners. Surprisingly though, the most common cause of water damage claims isn’t hurricanes or thunderstorms but water leaks inside the home.

Last month, we highlighted the importance of keeping your pipes from freezing, however there are other trouble areas within your home, that if not properly maintained, can also lead to water damage.

Here are the most common culprits:

Water Heaters:

Water Heater PhotoAccording to a study by the Institute for Business and Home Safety1 nearly 75 percent of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years old. A leak in your water heater can cause significant damage to your home. The water supply is endless as most tanks are designed to continuously fill.

Fix: If your water heater is over 10 years old, consider replacing it. Otherwise, flush the tank to remove sediment and debris on an annual basis. You can easily do this by hooking a garden hose to the drain valve and drain the tank until the water coming from the hose is clear. This will not only help the unit heat more efficiently but also operate more quietly.


washing machine photoWashing Machine Hoses

Inadequately maintained washing machine hoses can leak or burst, flooding your home.

Fix: Replace rubber hoses with stainless steel braided hoses. While these hoses aren’t entirely leak proof, they are more reliable. Also, consider installing a washing machine valve shutoff kit. These kits have a sensor that is mounted to the floor which will detect the presence of liquid and shut off the water valve.





Clogged drains or improperly maintained drain hoses can cause water to back up and leak. Opening your dishwasher after it runs through a wash cycle to discover water remaining in the tub is alarming. While about 1 to 2 cups of water remaining in your dishwasher tub is normal, water that floods the bottom indicates the dishwasher isn’t draining properly.

Fix: No more than 1 to 2 cups of water should remain at the bottom of the dishwasher after running a wash cycle. If more than this exists, check the pump, which is in the bottom of the dishwasher, for food, paper or other debris that might beobstructing drainage. Remove anything blocking the drain. Most dishwashers drain into the kitchen sink or a garbage disposal. Make sure these drains are clear.

Other Trouble Spots:

A partial clog in your toilet or bathtub can be a problem. Make sure to keep these drains clear as well.

Don’t assume that you will see a leak whenever there is one. Sometimes leaks occur at the joints between pipes in your walls. It is a good idea to know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home so you can turn off the water source should a leak occur.


If your home does sustain water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, increasing the risk for serious health problems. Cleaning up immediately can help mitigate the health effects of those in the home as well as prevent further damage and expense for repairs.

water restoration photo

Hiring a water damage restoration company can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup.

Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for this type of water damage. Review your policy or check with your agent to make sure you understand what is covered.

Resources: 1Institute for Business and Home Safety