Water Damage Prevention

February 10, 2015 | smeditor

Water Damage is one of the leading causes for claims on home insurance.  Extreme weather, burst pipes, leaky appliances and flooded basements contribute to an increase risk of water damage.

What you can do:

Follow these helpful tips to prevent or minimize water damage to your property and protect your home and valuable possessions:

  • Know where the main water shutoff valves in your home are located
  • Check washing machine hoses for signs of deterioration and replace hoses that show any evidence of cracking
  • Check your eavestroughs and downspouts every Spring and Fall to ensure that they are not blocked
  • Disconnect any downspouts that are connected to the sewer system
  • Install window wells on basement windows at or near ground level.  Check caulking around doors and windows for deterioration
  • Consider installing backflow valves or plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections to prevent sewer backup
  • Install a sump pump to prevent ground water from entering your basement
  • Keep floor drains clear of obstruction
  • In the fall, turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets and drain the pipes

Preventative maintenance is key.  Consider hiring a licenced Plumber/Contractor to:

  • Conduct a thorough inspection, including a search for cracks in the foundation walls and/or basement floor
  • Check your weaping tiles for damage or blockage
  • Ensure that all gaps around the furnace and water heater exhaust vents have been properly sealed

Protect your home when you are away:

If you are away from your home for 3 or more days during the heating season, follow these easy steps to help prevent water damage:

  • Turn off the main water supply and drain pipes
  • If you have not shut off the main water supply, turn off the water valve leading to your washing machine, toilets and dishwasher
  • Arrange for someone to enter your home daily to make sure that it’s adequately heated
  • If you can’t turn off the water supply, or arrange to have someone enter your home, a temperature alarm can be installed and linked to your monitored home security system, as an alternative.

If you discover water damage:

  1. Turn off electrical power to the affected area and unplug and remove electrical appliances.
  2. If your home or water is heated with gas or if you have gas appliances or fireplace, check the fumes.  If you notice an odour, call the gas company immediately.
  3. Take steps immediately to protect your property from further damage: a) shut off the main water supply to prevent further damage b) move items out of wet basements and away from flooded parts of your home c) if the sanitary sewer backs up into your basemen, do not flush the toilet or turn on any taps as this will only cause further flooding
  4. Separate damaged property from undamaged property and prepare an inventory of what has been lost or damaged
  5. Take photographs of the damaged property
  6. Report your claim either to your broker and/or your insurance company

Source:  AXA Insurance Company

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