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Water Damage Preventative Maintenance Tips


Don't Get SOAKED!

Water damage is a very common type of insurance claim. Many of these claims are caused by similar scenarios, all of which can be avoided by taking a few simple precautionary measures. Water losses can be costly and often are not covered by a homeowner policy. Even a small leak can lead to serious damage to your home and belongings.

Routine maintenance checks and attention to warning signs can prevent a potential problem before it has a chance to develop. Below are helpful tips to prevent water damage from occurring within your home - saving time and money!

Before starting any repairs to any of your water supply systems be sure to turn off the water supply!

Roll over the yellow objects below in the floor plan to see water damage prevention tips.




Warning Signs:

The toilet bowl is joined to the floor with a wax ring (or gasket). Over time, it can allow seepage around the base of the toilet.

If the toilet is wobbly and not secure, it could cause the toilet to leak.

Solution:

Before performing any maintenance on the toilet, make sure the water supply to the toilet is shut off.

The toilet should be installed tightly and firmly to the floor. If the toilet is wobbly, check to see if a nut is loose or the toilet is not set on the wax ring properly.

Check the wax ring and replace or repair it promptly to prevent damage to the floor and structure under the toilet.

Warning Signs:

Check under sink for signs of leaks.

Look for damp, soft or stained cabinets or floors

Solution:

Check the caulking around the sink and replace when worn.

A dripping faucet should be repaired immediately.

Routinely clear from the drain any debris that could build up.

Warning Signs:

Cracked tiles or missing grout can cause water to get behind the wall and cause water damage to the walls and floors.

Look for staining or soft spots on walls and floors.

Solution:

If there are cracked or missing tiles, replace immediately.

Replace caulk or grout within the bathtub.

Warning Signs:

Cracked tiles or missing grout can cause water to get behind the wall and cause water damage to the walls and floors.

Look for staining or soft spots on walls and floors.

Solution:

If there are cracked or missing tiles, replace immediately.

Replace caulk or grout within the shower.

Warning Signs:

The exhaust fan is not working.

There is excessive moisture on bathroom walls and ceiling.

Solution:

Clean the inside of the exhaust fan by vacuuming it. Wipe down and remove excess buildup.

Proper installation of the exhaust fan is required for the unit to work as intended.

Make sure the exhaust fan is discharging moisture outside of the home. If the exhaust fan is not working properly, it could cause extra moisture to stay in the room, thus allowing mold to grow.

Only opening a window in a bathroom is NOT a good alternative to an exhaust fan. A window will not allow the extensive amount of condensation caused by the shower and bathtub to leave the room. An exhaust fan is the best option.

Warning Signs:

Condensation can build on a toilet, windows, and pipes.

Condensation is caused by excess moisture in warm air and can occur during any season throughout the year.

Solution:

To reduce moisture in the air, use a dehumidifier, install exhaust fans in kitchen and bathroom and insulate your home.

Allowing ventilation throughout your home will help dissipate the moisture.

Warning Signs:

Check under sink for signs of leaks.

Look for damp, soft or stained cabinets or floors.

Solution:

Check the caulking around the sink and replace when worn.

A dripping faucet should be repaired immediately.

Routinely clear from the drain any debris that could build up.

Warning Signs:

Check for signs that the hoses may be aging (cracking, bubbling, wear or discoloration).

At the base of the dishwasher and nearby cabinets, look for discoloration, warping or weakened floors as these could also be signs of a leak.

Solution:

Check water supply hoses periodically. Make sure they are properly connected.

Replace aged or damaged hoses.

Warning Signs:

Look or feel for any water spots on the floor or water bubbling out of the water line.

Check for signs that the hoses may be aging (cracking, bubbling, wear or discoloration).

Solution:

Pull refrigerator away from the wall to examine water lines. Replace all aged or damaged hoses.

Check water supply hoses periodically. Make sure they are properly connected.

If a leak in the refrigerator water line has been detected, repair or replace it immediately to prevent any further damage to walls or flooring.

Before replacing the water line, be sure to shut off the water supply.

Warning Signs:

Check for water in the basement.

Solution:

Maintenance should be performed several times a year to ensure the sump pump is in working order.

Flush the pump with water and vinegar solution to remove particles and residue that built up in the pump.

Inspect the outside drainage to ensure the pump is discharging water. Clean tubing or piping to prevent water from being blocked.

Consider having a professional service your sump pump every couple of years.

Warning Signs:

Check for wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank.

Solution:

Consider having the hot water heater placed near a floor drain or have a drain pan installed.

Replace aged or damaged pipes.

A rusted tank may be a sign of a leak. Contact a professional to inspect and/or replace the hot water heater.

Warning Signs:

Check the hoses for signs of wear and tear, such as small blisters in the rubber or cracking.

Be sure hoses are not pinched.

Solution:

Check water supply hoses periodically. Make sure they are properly connected.

For additional protection, you could upgrade all hoses to a stronger material such as stainless steel.

Check the shut off valve when the washing machine isn't being used. Make sure there are no leaks and replace the valve immediately if one is apparent.

Install a drain pan. A drain pan will catch leaking water and divert it through a hose into a nearby drain.

Warning Signs:

Check under sink for signs of leaks. Look for damp, soft or stained cabinets or floors.

Solution:

Check the caulking around the sink and replace when worn.

A dripping faucet should be repaired immediately.

Routinely clear from the drain any debris that could build up.

Warning Signs:

Pipes can freeze and burst due to being exposed to cold.

Solution:

Ensure walls and pipes are properly insulated. This will help prevent condensation and freezing pipes.

Warning Signs:

Condensation can build on a toilet, windows, and pipes.

Condensation is caused by excess moisture in warm air and can occur during any season throughout the year.

Solution:

To reduce moisture in the air, use a dehumidifier, install exhaust fans in kitchen and bathroom and insulate your home.

Allowing ventilation throughout your home will help dissipate the moisture.

Warning Signs:

Pipes can burst due to cold weather in the winter time.

Solution:

Winterize your outdoor water spigots.

Turn off the water to the spigot inside, and then go outside to let the spigot completely drain.

Insulate the pipes and spigot.

Warning Signs:

When winterizing your secondary home, it is important to protect your home from leaking or bursting pipes.

Solution:

Install a temperature alarm, also known as a freeze alarm or a home sitter. This product will call you when the temperature drops or rises.

You may use a monitor for fire, power failure, high temperature, humidity, water leaks and intrusion. This system will notify you when a situation that could cause potential damage has arisen.

Temperature alarms, water and flood sensors and freeze alarms can prevent or reduce loss severity in unoccupied, vacant, and secondary housing.

Turn off main water supply and drain all water from pipes.

Warning Signs:

With a bathroom or a laundry room located on the second floor, your home is susceptible to extensive damage if you were to have a leaky pipe or overflow of a toilet.

Water could run down the walls into the first floor and even the basement.

Solution:

Remember to watch for any signs of water to prevent severe damage to the remainder of the house. If you notice a leak or any water from the washing machine or anywhere in the bathroom, shut off water supply and immediately fix the leak.

Warning Signs:

If you're going on extended vacation during the winter months, the weather could become extremely cold.

Solution:

Make sure the heat is left on during the winter months.




Don't Get SOAKED!

Purchasing an RV can be a sizeable investment. So why risk losing it to water damage? Your vacation time is precious, so we have gathered some tips on how to protect your home away from home from a loss.

Properly winterizing each fall is one of the most crucial maintenance tips that you can follow. Before the winter hits, it's absolutely necessary to follow all of the steps in your owner's manual. Winterizing your unit is vital and will help protect it from the winter cold and lack of use.

Before starting any repairs to any of your water supply systems be sure to turn off the water supply!

Roll over the yellow objects below in the floor plan to see water damage prevention tips.








Risk:

A leaky or overflowing toilet can cause considerable damage. Although its function is the same as the toilet in your home, your unit's toilet requires different maintenance and care.

Tips:

Be sure your water flush valve and gaskets are in good shape and free of hard water deposits.

After flushing the toilet, be sure it closes completely.

If your toilet bowl doesn't hold water for an extended period of time, it means the seal is not working properly and may need to be replaced.

Repair any leaks you find immediately to prevent further damage.

Properly winterize your unit according to your user/owner's manual.

Warning Signs:

Holding tanks have the potential to leak due to freezing/bursting, loosened fittings, and mechanical failure, as well as other causes.

Solution:

Check the waste water line fittings that lead to the holding tank after traveling with your unit. Fittings may loosen due to road vibrations.

Check all fittings, pipes and hoses on waste water lines when winterizing and when flushing antifreeze from the line EVERY spring.

Check for leaks. If you smell a foul odor, you may need to empty your holding tank or have it checked by a repairman.

Risk:

A water pump does just that; it pumps water throughout the RV. So if you have a water line leak or crack, or the toilet flush valve doesn't close, the water pump will continue to pump water, creating even more water damage.

Tips:

If your water pump is continuously running, shutting on/off or is making noise, it may be time to call a repairman or replace it. This could not only mean you need a new pump; it could also mean you have a leak.

Some RV owners suggest shutting the water pump off if you are not in or around the RV.

Properly winterize your unit according to your user/owner's manual.

Warning Signs:

Water tanks have the potential to leak due to freezing/bursting, loosened fittings, and mechanical failure, as well as other causes.

Solution:

Properly winterize your unit according to your user/owner's manual.

After traveling, check water line fittings from the fresh water supply line to the water tank. The fittings may loosen due to road vibrations.

Check all fittings on fresh water lines every spring for cracking or wear and tear.

Research your brand of water tank to learn its average life expectancy.

If your water tank makes noise or begins to show signs of wear and tear, it may be time to call a repairman or replace it.

Risk:

Cracked or loosened sealants and gaskets can allow water to enter your unit, causing leaks and water damage. Some areas that are susceptible to this type of loss are the roof, sidewalls, end caps, moldings, windows and anywhere else the RV was cut by the manufacturer.

Tips:

Check sealants on a regular basis and inspect the rubber sealants around your windows to make sure they're tight and not cracking.

Repair any leaks you find immediately to prevent further damage.

Use the proper sealants to make repairs. If you are unsure of which to choose, contact an authorized RV repair facility for suggestions.

Risk:

Most motorhome roofs are made of rubber, aluminum, and fiberglass, all of which are susceptible to leaks over time, no matter how well the motorhome is built or how much it cost.

The most important protection for your unit's roof is its sealant.

Tips:

Roof sealants should be checked and treated annually. This will help prevent cracking, keep out water and drafts, and prevent warping.

Inspect the roof at least twice a year, when you open and close it, and after any storms or other events that pose the threat of damage to your RV roof top.

Repair any leaks you find immediately to prevent further damage.

Cover the roof of your RV with heavy tarps for additional protection.

Avoid parking or storing your RV under a tree.

Avoid storing your RV adjacent to a steel roof building as this type of roof tends to shed large amounts of snow. This could cause your roof to leak or even worse, damage your RV.

Risk:

Cracked or loosened sealants and gaskets can allow water to enter your unit, causing leaks and water damage. Some areas that are susceptible to this type of loss are the roof, sidewalls, end caps, moldings, windows and anywhere else the RV was cut by the manufacturer.

Tips:

Check sealants on a regular basis and inspect the rubber sealants around your windows to make sure they're tight and not cracking.

Repair any leaks you find immediately to prevent further damage.

Use the proper sealants to make repairs. If you are unsure of which to choose, contact an authorized RV repair facility for suggestions.

Risk:

Pipes and hoses responsible for water delivery and storage face the risk of failure due to freezing, bursting and deterioration.

Tips:

Replace aged or damaged hoses.

Repair any leaks you find immediately to prevent further damage.

Risk:

Road vibration, wear and tear and mechanical failure are just a few things that may damage or loosen the fittings that hold the pipes and hoses in place on your unit.

Tips:

Inspect all hoses and fittings each year and replace them as necessary.

Keep extra fitting parts on hand when traveling in case one breaks on the road.

Repair any leaks you find immediately to prevent further damage.

Properly winterize your unit according to your user/owner's manual.