Keeping your house safe from water damage is relatively easy. Our InsuraMatch research team found the best tips out there to prevent water damage (along with some entertaining videos to boot).
Here’s our very Sweet 16 list of things you can do to keep your house free of water damage.
Tip 1: Clean your gutters: Ensure they are free from debris that can clog and cause water damage. See Lowe’s Home Improvement video on cleaning and maintaining your gutters:
Tip 2: Check your downspouts: Your downspouts should be directed 5 to 10 feet away from the house. See how to clean debris from your downspouts:
Tip 3: Slope your yard: Keep water flowing away from your house, not into it. Ensuring that the landscaping flows water away from the house is essential. View a YouTube video on how to check the gradient near your home:
Tip 4: Check your sump pump: You want to make sure that it's working so, at minimum, test it at least once a year. Having a backup sump pump on standby (in case the first one fails) doesn't hurt either. How to check your sump pump:
Tip 4 1/2: If you don't have a sump pump, you might consider getting one. If you're handy and would like to install a sump pump, check out this "How To Video" from This Old House:
Tip 5: Look for leaky pipes: Make repairs before a small leak turns into a big one. Here's how to make a temporary, but quick, fix:
Tip 6: Watch where you plant: Some plants and trees have invasive root systems that will compromise your drainage system, water lines, septic tank, pipes or foundation.
Tip 7: Ceiling and attic check: Make sure you don't see any wet spots on above. They will eventually spread below.
Tip 8: Repair old, tired caulking: Check doors and windows, along with bathtub and sink fixtures to ensure that your caulking isn't cracked. How to caulk windows and doors:
Tip 9: Water bill anomalies: Double check your water bill. If it's skyrocketed for no apparent reason, it may be due to a leak.
Tip 10: Inspect the roof: Look for missing or damaged shingles that can cause water to leak into your home. Here's how to inspect a roof:
Tip 11: Use a drain snake, not chemicals: A clogged drain is a nuisance but did you know chemical drain cleaners can eat away at your pipes? Try your luck with a drain snake first. Here's how to use one:
Tip 12: Don't pour grease or fat down your sink: Pour old bacon fat and grease into an empty can and throw it away. Your pipes will thank you. And here's a totally useless video from a guy who stores his bacon fat in a jar instead of dumps it down his drain.
Tip 13: Inspect washing machine supply lines: Check out the cold and hot water supply hoses and look for cracks and other wear and tear. It's recommended that you replace hoses every five years.
Tip 14: Check the floor around your toilets, tubs, showers, and sinks. Look for any soft spots or moisture. You might need a plumber to fix any leaks. Here's a video on how to check a toilet for leaks:
Tip 15: Check your hot water heater: Schedule a plumbing inspection, look for signs of corrosion, and check your maintenance instructions. You may want to flush the tank every six months to remove sediment. This video shows you how to flush a hot water heater (assuming you feel comfortable doing it yourself):
Tip 16: Measure the humidity levels: Do you regularly have condensation on your windows? The relative humidity should in your home should range between 30- and 50-percent. A humidifier may correct sporadic humidity fluctuations but ongoing high-humidity levels may be a sign of a more serious issue that could lead to mold and mildew that may require a professional. Here's more information on humidity levels within a home:
Do you have another tip? Use the comments box below to suggest one and InsuraMatch staff may add it to our list.