Some water damage is caused by a force of nature. There is, realistically, nothing you could have done to stop your neighbor’s tree from crashing into your house, or the river from flooding. Most water damage is not caused by a catastrophe, however. Most water damage that homeowners face could have been prevented if they hadn’t made some of these simple mistakes.
1. Don’t Let Their Faucets Drip on Cold Nights
Burst pipes are a major source of water damage. You don’t control the weather, but you can control how vulnerable your pipes are to the cold temperatures. In addition to wrapping exposed pipes and adding insulation to your house, you want to be sure to let your faucets drip when the temperatures dip into the record lows. Moving water is much less likely to freeze, and in the unlikely event that your pipes freeze anyway, the open tap allows the ice to expand that way rather than having nowhere to go but out.
2. Don’t Maintain Appliances
If your old dishwasher hasn’t seen a day of maintenance in ten years, you’re begging for a disaster. Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your appliances, and also put off the day they belch water out all over your kitchen floor and you have to deal with the water damage. Any appliance that draws water has the potential to ruin your day–get them checked up at the first sign of trouble, and consider scheduled maintenance to be sure nothing’s sneaking up on you.
3. Let Grout Cracks Go Unfilled
Cracked grout in your kitchen or bathroom is more than just an inconvenience. It can lead to a widespread moisture problem. A little missing grout can allow water to seep in under your tile. Germs and mold can flourish and spread.
The good news is grout maintenance isn’t difficult. Keep a jar of your grout handy and learn how to apply it yourself. Tackling a crack right when it happens is much easier than dealing with a large break (plus water damage) down the line. You don’t have to be a handyman to keep your house in great shape!
4. Plant Heavily Irrigated Plants Close to Their Walls
A lush garden is a dream for many, but how you organize it can impact your foundation’s health. If you’re going to be planting anything that needs a lot of water, keep it away from your walls. Drenching your foundation regularly can lead to it warping or cracking over time. While it won’t happen overnight, it’s the kind of thing to keep in mind when you’re designing or redesigning your landscaping.
5. Habitual Carelessness
At the end of the day, it’s the little things that you don’t tackle that will catch up to you. Letting a “little” leak in the roof remain because it only leaks when it’s really raining hard. Not wiping up puddles on your kitchen floor because it’s just a little water, no big deal. Simple things like not checking if you closed the attic window until after a big storm can add up. Make a checklist of the most commonly forgotten areas in your home and make sure you’re checking on them regularly.
Don’t put off fixing things around your house. A little leak today could be a flood tomorrow. Water damage gets worse the longer it goes on, so fix problems as they occur. A dab of grout and a little dishwasher maintenance can keep your home water damage free for a long time.