Each year one of the biggest homeowner property insurance claims is water damage – and this is not just in those areas of the country where flooding is common. Many times the water damage is actually caused by slow leaks from appliances and the house’s plumbing that simply go unnoticed until it’s too late. With this in mind, here are a few water maintenance tips that in the long run could save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
Study your water bill – One of the easiest ways to detect water leaks is to pay close attention to your water bill. Major fluctuations in water usage from one month to the next could mean that you have a problem.
Check your water pressure – Experts suggest testing your home’s water pressure annually. This is easier than it sounds. Simply purchase a pressure gauge and attach it to the hose faucet. Normal results should range from 45 to 65 pounds per square inch (psi). A reading above 65 psi is considered high and could lead to problems down the line.
Inspect appliances – While much of your home’s plumbing can be hidden behind walls and cabinets, most of your appliances that use water can be easily inspected for potential leaks. Each month, take the time to inspect areas around your water heater, dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, sinks, and toilets. If any hoses or seals appear old or damaged, replace them. Take the time to inspect and repair obvious caulking and tile grout damage. It’s a small price to pay now for what could be expensive repairs later.
Find and fix leaks quickly – Make a habit of checking the main fixtures regularly so that when something out of the ordinary occurs you will notice it and take action immediately. Sometimes, however, slow water leaks aren’t very obvious. A great way to discover hidden leaks is to look for stains in areas where water is often used. For example, if you see even small stains on the cabinet floors beneath the sink in the kitchen or bathrooms, you could have a problem. Experts suggest that warm spots in the floor or tiles could also be an indication of hidden water damage.
Inspect the sewer line – Clear away build-up and roots from around your sewer line. Obstructions to the sewer line could create major plumbing problems in the future.
Take a vacation – The worst thing to come home to after a great vacation is major water damage. On your next trip, try turning off your water while you’re gone. For many homeowners there is a separate shut-off valve for the home that doesn’t affect your irrigation system.