Water damage now surpasses the risks of fire and theft as a leading source of claims.Recognizing warning signs inside and outside your property can help you avoid water-related damage to your home. Here are some important tips that will help reduce the risk of incurring water damage losses:

*Inspect plumbing lines/systems. Check for plumbing fixtures located on exterior walls of the home. These fixtures are prone to freezing and may burst during cold winter months. Make sure there are water pans under washing machines, hot water heaters, air conditioning units and waterbearing appliances located in or above finished living areas. Check under sinks for leaks and signs of water.

*Check the basement and mechanical equipment. Hot water heaters have a 10 to 13-year life span. Consider replacement after 10 years, before a problem starts. A newer unit will likely be more energy efficient as well. Sump pumps need regular maintenance and testing to ensure optimal operation. Test the sump pump by pouring about 19 liters of water in the sump hole. Also, add a battery backup to ensure operation during a loss of power. Typically, that is when the unit is needed the most. Look for water stains on basement walls and floors, and identify the source of the leak if stains are found. For tips from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction on how to reduce basement flooding, visit www.basementfloodreduction.com.

*Stay on top of interior maintenance. Inspect the caulking around bathroom fixtures and grout in tile. Missing or loose caulk or grout can lead to water seepage. Look for water stains on ceilings, walls and floors. Also look for cracks in drywall, especially around doors and windows. Look for deterioration of sills and molding around windows and doors.

*Look for points of exterior water intrusion. Visually inspect the roof for worn or curled shingles. Gutters/downspouts should be clear of debris. Water from downspouts should flow away from the foundation. Look for dry or cracked exterior caulking around windows and doors

For information on Chubb’s Masterpiece coverages, please call us at 905.459.6066 or visit [Chubb’s] newly redesigned Personal insurance website at www.chubbinsurance.com.

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