How to Handle Water Damage in the Home

Dominique Dragon |

Having water where it's not supposed to be can be one of the biggest threats to your home. Water damage can be caused by many things, including faulty plumbing, leaking appliances, or just bad weather. A smart homeowner knows how to check for water leaks and other issues, and what to do if there's a problem.

Common Water Issues:

If there's a leak or pipe problem somewhere in your home, it won't always be readily apparent. That's why it's a good idea to regularly inspect areas where water damage often occurs. Here are some places you should survey on a regular basis:

  • Openings such as windows and doors, where water can sneak in if there's a problem with the seal or with the opening itself
  • Washing machine and dishwasher hoses and areas
  • All plumbing and pipe systems
  • Roofing and siding
  • Bathrooms, toilets, and shower/bath areas
  • Under carpet and flooring
  • Hot water heater
  • Attics, crawl spaces, basements, and any other areas that are not used as often.

Take your time and check for leaks or water stains all around your home at least a few times a year. In addition, you should always do a thorough check of your home after a major storm or other weather events.

Ways to Prevent Water Damage:

Reviewing your home regularly for water damage is a good place to start, but there are also things you can do to prevent major damage from happening in the first place. These include:

  • Have your plumbing, appliances, roof, and other major areas professionally inspected to identify potential problems.
  • Use insulation and other measures to prevent pipes from freezing in the winter.
  • If you notice a leak, or if your water bill is unusually high one month, investigate right away.

Insurance and water Damage:

In many cases, your homeowner's insurance will cover damage to your home and property if pipes burst or something else unexpectedly goes wrong. But if you haven't taken the time to maintain your water systems, appliances, and other areas where damage can occur, then your insurance policy may not apply. In addition, damages caused by flooding are usually not included in a standard homeowner's insurance policy. If you live in an area that's at high risk for flooding, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing a separate flood policy.

Make sure you understand exactly what type of damage and property is covered by your insurance, what your responsibilities are as a homeowner and always report potential claims right away.

Whatever you do, don't ignore water damage. Sometimes, what seems like a small problem might be masking a larger issue. Even if it's not, water damage left unfixed can cause an extremely hazardous situation that will be much more difficult and expensive to repair later on.