Published by Marie Nitto
Water damage claims can be extremely costly and devasting – especially because one’s home is often their largest asset.
Imagine arriving home to find your front-load washing machine door wide open while water continuously rushes out onto the floor of your laundry room, throughout the kitchen and down into your basement. You then realize that the washer had been running for the 3 hours you were away from home. While the damage is not particularly severe, it is still costly and time consuming.
The good news is most water damage claims are preventable. Knowing some of the most common causes for water damage may save you money, time, and energy.
Inspect your plumbing system at least once a year. Plumbing pipes have a long lifespan, but still can fail, especially in older homes. Pipes should be inspected for signs of cracks, bulging and moisture. Check for water spots on your ceiling or floors, as they could be a sign of a much larger issue. Higher than usual water bills can also indicate a hidden problem.
Inspect supply hose connections for washing machines. Improper connection can cause water to spill out hundreds of gallons of water in the span of an hour. Hoses wear out and should be replaced at least every 5 years.
Refrigerator water supply lines are often culprits of water leaks, as supply lines can wear out or drain lines become clogged.
Aging Water Heaters
Water heaters typically have a life span of 8 to 12 years and tankless water heaters up to 20 years. It is best to replace the unit before it develops a leak, especially if it is in an area that will cause a lot of damage.
Freezing temperatures are often the cause of bursting pipes. Proper insulation, especially for pipes that run against exterior walls, is critical. Using heat tape or pipe sleeves can help insulate against the cold temperatures. If you plan to be away from home for a long period of time, never let your home thermostat drop below 55 degrees.
A Solution – Water Leak Detection System
Even when following these tips, water damage is never entirely failsafe. Another way to better protect against a water leak is installing a home water leak detection system. Once set, this type of system can monitor the flow of water through a pipe; if the system detects abnormal behavior it will automatically shut off the water supply. Water leak detection systems are typically installed at the entry point to your home as to not allow any water to flow from appliances, thus protecting home from massive water damage and an expensive claim. This type of system can also connect to your smartphone, sending you alerts to allow you to protect your property remotely.
Not only do these systems prevent very costly water damage claims, but most insurance carriers also allow a credit to your homeowner policy, consequently saving you valuable premium dollars. There are several different systems to choose from, so finding the right one for your home should be easy. The typical cost is between $500 and $1,500, depending on the size and type of system you purchase. Reach out to Pritchard & Jerden’s risk advisors for a list of water leak detection systems for your home and to discuss ways to mitigate against potential water damage.