Water damage

Exterior prevention tips.

Water damage claims, whether covered by insurance or not are a source of great worry and inconvenience. The best protection against water losses is prevention. Below you will find some useful tips that can help you avoid or minimize the damage caused by water.

  • Roof and shingles: Inspect your roof on a regular basis for missing, curling or worn shingles. If this cannot be done safely from the ground, have a roofer do the inspection for you. Replace your roof before it begins to leak.
  • Eavestroughs and downspouts: Inspect your eavestroughs and downspouts to make sure they are clear of leaves and debris. As well, downspout extensions will take the water safely away from your foundation walls.
  • Ice damming: Ice buildup at the edge of your roof can indicate the potential for ice damming. This can result in water backing up under the shingles into the home. Heater cables are an effective remedy for this problem. A snow rake is an inexpensive deterrent.
  • Exterior grade: If you notice any areas where the earth or patio has settled and slopes back towards the house, ground water can flow back against the foundation wall resulting in seepage into the basement. These areas should be re-graded.
  • Outdoor taps: Outdoor taps should be turned off from the inside, opened at the outside tap location and the drainage valve by the inside shut off should be opened to allow the water to fully drain from the pipe.

Interior prevention tips.

  • Showers, tubs and sinks: The caulking around each of these should be monitored to ensure there are no gaps or rotting that should be re-caulked. Slow leaks from insufficient caulking can cause extensive water and mould damage over time.
  • Hot water tanks: These are tricky. They often don’t give any visual indication that they are about to dump 40 or more gallons of water into your basement. If you own your tank you should check with the manufacturer as to the lifespan, but in general 8-10 years is all you would want to risk before investing in a new one. If you rent your tank, don’t let your supplier try to convince you they are good for 20 years.
  • Washing machine hoses: Not an expensive item to replace and most should be replaced every 5 years or as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. When a washer hose lets go, it’s full blast and can cause considerable damage in a short period of time. A good prevention idea is a lever type shut off valve that is opened when using the machine and closed after.
  • Sump pump: When your sump pump fails (particularly in the Spring) this is the nightmare of all water losses. There is no stopping Mother Nature and the natural seepage that occurs in areas where sump pumps are required. Test your sump pump to make sure it is functioning properly and for extra protection look into a battery backup. Severe thunderstorms are often accompanied by power outages and large amounts of rainfall in a short period of time. If your sump pump runs on electricity the power outage is very untimely.

An ounce of prevention is worth…well, gallons of water.