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Water Damage To Your Home

Although water is a necessity that helps sustain life on planet Earth, if not monitored and controlled, it can be a very destructive force that can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home or office. Remember, prevention is a lot cheaper than having to pay for repairs or having something replaced.

Water can damage every area of a building from the roof all the way down to the foundation. It can short out electrical wiring, destroy appliances and fixtures, damage walls, ceilings, carpet, flooring and tiles, cause wood to dry rot and disintegrate and create the right conditions for the growth of mold and mildew.

The damage can be instantaneous or it may take years of slow seepage to become visable. It can come from natural elements such as rain or snow or from leaking pipes, old or wind damaged roofs, open windows, or it may seep into basements or ground floors.

As a homeowner, it is very important that areas of water damage are identified and corrective actions are taken to fix them. If not, the longer you let the problems persist, the worse they will become and the more it's going to cost to repair.

Most water damage is preventable but no one can predict when a pipe is going to burst, how hard it's going to rain, sleet, or snow, if a property is going to be able to withstand the next heavy storm, or if there is going to be a flood or heavy runoff.

Tips on preventing water damage:

1. Signs that something might be amiss include droplets of water here and there, damp musty odors, brown or gray stains that form on ceilings and walls, damp carpet, buckling floors, mold and mildew, and other evidence that water is showing up where it shouldn't be.

2. Watch for signs that there may be a leaking pipe, faucet, or dry rotted seals around the toilet and other fixtures. Over time, pipes rust out or become clogged with grease, hair, or other objects that may cause a blockage. If a sink, washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet backs up, it is a reason for concern.

3. Periodically check your ceiling and walls for water stains. In buildings with two or more stories, waters stains on the ceiling of lower floors may mean busted pipes in an upstairs bathroom or toilet but this does not rule out a leaking roof. Sometimes water will travel in a meandering route to get where it comes out. This means that water from a leaking roof may travel between walls to get to lower levels of a home while totally bypassing higher floors.

4. Inspect your roof periodically for missing, loose, or damaged tiles and shingles. A leaking roof can cause untold damage to a home if it is not repaired or replaced quickly. They cause beams, boards, and other wooden attachments to become water logged, weak, and they eventually dry rot. The damp wood also causes fungus to grow, attract termites, and may cause the roof to sag, thereby causing structural cracks and possible damage to the foundation.

5. Drainage around your home should not be taken lightly. Make sure that your property is graded properly and water is channeled away from your home. If not, if there is substantial rain, the water may back up or flow into your home, especially if you have slab flooring or a basement.

6. Sprinklers heads should be directed away from your home, driveway, garage, and other structures. Gutters should be cleaned often and replaced when necessary and the end spouts positioned away from the home at least 8 to 10 inches.

If you notice any of the problems listed above, don't hesitate to either repair them yourself or contact a contractor. It may cost you to have the problem repaired right now, but if you wait and it gets worse, the costs will be much higher.

To protect your property from water damage, it is imperative that you think ahead, not just in terms of replacing your roof or pipes, but in terms of buying the right insurance coverage, whether it's homeowners insurance or flood insurance. Flood insurance may be a good idea even if you don't live in an area that is prone to floods because a strong weather event can cause flooding or mudslides almost anywhere.

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