Water damage leads to billions of dollars of insurance claims in Canada every year and causes anxiety and headaches for the affected homeowners. Fortunately, certain types of water damage can be prevented or the damage to your property can be minimized. Here’s a summary of good routines to adopt according to the La Capitale blog :
Outside your home
- Inspect your property to identify any correctives needed for preventing water seepage
- The land around your home should slope slightly downward for about six feet so that water drains to the outskirts of your property and not toward your home’s foundations.
- Have any sunken sidewalk, patio or parking space repaired to ensure that they don’t cause water to flow toward your home.
- Check that your gutters direct water six feet or more away from your home. If they don’t, install flexible extension pipes, gutter splash guards or a rainwater barrel to prevent water from flowing toward the foundations or at least six feet away from them.
- Plant vegetation that is suited to the Quebec climate close to your home to avoid soil erosion. But beware! The roots of certain trees can damage your foundations if they are too close to the house. Do your research to make the right choices!
- Every spring and fall, clean out the leaves and debris from your gutters and window wells for good drainage of rain water and snowmelt water. This will reduce the risk of seepage through the roof, windows and foundations. It will also prevent excess weight that could damage your roof.
- At the end of fall, drain the exterior taps if they are not equipped with a freeze-proof mechanism (available on recent faucet models). The exterior water supply should be closed with the valve located in the house. Then turn on the exterior faucet until all the water is drained out. Turn off the faucet and cover it.
Inside your home
- Never leave the dishwasher or washing machine running when no one is home, and once a year check the pipes of these appliances.
- Redo sink, shower and bath joint sealings when they are damaged and unclog them when water doesn’t drain well.
- A water heater works well for 10 to 12 years, then it should be replaced. You also need to immediately replace it if rusty water comes out of the taps or if your water heater drips or leaks. Follow the manufacturer’s requirements when installing your new water heater so that the warranty is valid if it should turn out to be defective. Lastly, install it in a water retention pan with a drain so that damage is limited in the event of a leak.
- Immediately call a plumber if your pipes make unusual noises such as knocking when the taps are turned off or the toilet is flushed.
- Install a non-return valve in the basement if you don’t already have one to prevent back-ups caused by overloaded public sewers.
- Don’t store valuable property in the basement.
- Keep your home well heated during the winter and if you have a garage, keep it minimally heated to prevent pipes bursting.
- If you leave your home for several days in winter, turn off the water supply and drain the pipes before leaving. You can lower the heat a bit, but make sure you heat it enough to ensure that pipes don’t burst if the temperature drops. Ask a trustworthy person to regularly check if the heat is working and if everything is going well.
Home insurance doesn’t cover all types of water damage, and certain coverage limits may apply. A good tip: take time to discuss with your Damage Insurance agent so he or she can advise you based on your needs and let you know about coverage that you can add to be adequately protected.
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