When any structure is left vacant for a period of time, there is a higher risk of property damage. While the first concern to cross one’s mind is an unauthorized intruder, the most common intruder is much more unsuspecting: water. Every year, leaking pipes and appliances cause millions of dollars worth of property damage.
Between 2004-2008, water damage was the second-most frequently filed homeowner insurance claim. Whether it’s a vacation home, vacant unit/building, home remodel project, or a family residence with its occupants out of town, there are many times when properties are left unoccupied and left at higher risk of water damage.
Water damage can be caused by a leaky roof, plumbing problems, incomplete drying of flooring materials, and flooding (caused by an indoor pipe or water seeping inside from outdoor weather). Even a slow leak can lead to severe damage to walls, flooring or foundation.
Aside from the direct damage caused by the water, mold can begin to grow in less than 48 hours. Mold may not always be visible, and can grow in hidden cracks, behind walls, and in corners. The moisture in the air from a leak or broken pipe settles on walls, building materials, furnishing and household belongings. The indoor air quality are magnified when elevated levels of mold are present, which certainly impact the value of the property and form health concerns.
The good news is that water damage in a home can be prevented. With these quick tips and guidelines, you can protect your home and significantly reduce the risks associated with water damage:
1. Check for leaks
– Check all the pipes under the sinks, the water heater for any cracks or rust, inspect hoses that connect to major appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerator ice-makers
2. Clear all obstructive debris
-make sure there are no blockages in the gutters, downspouts, or sump pump
3. Insulate any exposed piping
– This will keep them from freezing in the winter; rubber, heating tape, or fiberglass sleeves can be found at your local hardware store
4. Leave cupboards under the sink open
– This will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes
5. In colder climates, don’t turn the thermostat off
– Instead, set it to at least 55 degrees F
6. Turn off the water at the main
– If no one is able to check on your house, drain the pipes to keep them from bursting or freezing
7. Ask someone to periodically check your house
– Show them where the thermostat and water main shut-off valve are located
In addition to the tips listed above, use extra caution when examining the following usual culprits for water leaks:
• Ice makers
• Water heaters
• Washing machines
• Showers and tubs
With these guidelines, your property will be better protected against water damage and its associated complications. Airtek Indoor Air Solutions is here to help you assess your property, respond to emergencies, and assist in the remediation associated with the damage caused by water, including ensuring protecting your home’s indoor air quality.