Water Damage in Your Home, In Most Cases, Is Preventable
At Mammoth Restoration, we understand that water damage is a nightmare scenario for most homeowners or property managers. In fact, just reminding people about coming home to a flooded living room raises blood pressure and anxiety levels. Fortunately, in Flagstaff and northern Arizona, we live in a relatively dry part of the country. Besides the monsoon rains and spring snow melt, a flooded home from the natural elements and weather is a rare occurrence. Leaking pipes, a broken sump pump, or cracks in your attic and roof are more likely to occur in our neighborhood.
The team at Mammoth Restoration has compiled a list of some preventive measures that you can take right now to prevent and prepare for any flooding in your home and subsequent water damage. These steps are simple in practice and can all be accomplished in the span of a Saturday afternoon. Here’s a list of things you can do inside and outside of your house to keep it free of flooding and water damage:
Outside Your House:
#15: Grade and Slope Your Yard for Proper Drainage
Sounds pretty straight-forward but proper drainage in your yard is an overlooked way to deter flooding and any potential water damage for homes. Now obviously, yard work in Flagstaff and northern Arizona can be challenging with the amount of large boulders and shallow bedrock. Fortunately there are ways to slope your yard even in rocky Arizona. By combining techniques like creating channels with rocks to steer water away and building up high points closest to your home with dirt or aggregate can be extremely effective to keep water at bay. In Pretty Purple Door’s post, “Yard Grading 101,” they’ve outlined some great ways to grade and build up your yard’s slope that would work quite well in Flagstaff and northern Arizona.
#14 Check and Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
When was the last time you checked your gutters and downspouts to see how backed up they were? If the answer is “Eh, sometime last year,” you need to get on that! It’ll be no surprise that your gutters and downspouts will be stuffed with pine needles, pine cones, rocks, and bark- this is northern Arizona, remember!
Any potential clogs can interfere with rain’s ability to properly drain through. Any clogs in your gutters or downspouts can cause water to spill over the sides or over the top causing rain to run down your home’s side. This has the potential to cause, you guessed it, flooding and water damage in your home.
So grab some gloves, a rake, and the kids to help, and get those gutters and downspouts clean!
#13: Plant Trees, Bushes, and Other Vegetation Around Your Home
If your yard is relatively flat, or you have a home that has a yard sloped into it, having a solid drainage system might not be enough to combat even the lightest of rainstorms and prevent flooding and water damage. Fortunately, plants, trees, and bushes can help improve your yard’s drainage system. Trees and bushes have long, complex root systems that can help “soak up” rainwater. In addition, vegetation in your yard can slow the flow of water making it less likely to make it to your home and cause any flooding. A final plus, adding vegetation to your yard can improve the curb appeal of your home! Here’s a list of the best trees to plant to improve the drainage of your yard.
Maple and oak trees are great options to improve your yard’s drainage.
#12: Disconnect Your Hoses
A real simple outside task- disconnect your hoses! Unfortunately in Flagstaff and northern Arizona, we have to deal with freeze-thaw with the change of seasons. Any leftover standing water in your outside hoses can freeze during the winter, expand, and burst, breaking your hoses and causes all sorts of havoc on your home. Be on the safe-side and always disconnect your hoses at the change of seasons and store the hoses away from your home if possible.
#11: Inspect Your Sump Pump at Least Once a Year:
Having your sump pump break can be another nightmare and cause water to leak into your house from the outside. It’s not a cheap fix either, with the average sump pump repair costs is $1,044. By checking the performance of your sump pump at least once a year, you will be able to spot any issues and make smaller repairs to extend its life and prevent any potential flooding due to a failure.
#10: Inspect Your Roof and Attic for Leaks or Holes
Your home’s roof and attic are often overlooked areas for water damage. It’s a clear case of “out of sight, out of mind.” But a leaking roof can cause a whole host of problems. Inspecting your roof once a year for missing or damaged roofing tiles, holes, or cracks in your roof’s flume and flashing is a great way to spot leaks before they become out of control and cause water damage. If you are noticing some damage to your roof, inspect your attic and take stock of how bad the water damage is. Hiring a professional roofing contractor based in Flagstaff or northern Arizona to inspect for water damage once a year is a great preventive measure.
Inside Your House:
#9: Check Your Water-Based Appliances
There are several water-based appliances inside your home that can cause major flooding and water damage if they fail. The biggest ones include your washing machine, kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, shower or bath tub, dishwasher, refrigerator, and toilets. If an appliance has a water supply connection and hose, check for cracks, holes, and any leaking water. If the lines are looking worn, it is time to replace them. With sinks, showers, bath tubs, or toilets, check the floors around them. If there appears to be mold growing or the area appears to be wet, it might be time to dig a little deeper and see if there are any cracks in the supply lines or the appliance itself.
#8: Fix Leaks Immediately – Don’t Wait
If you have a known leak inside your home, do not wait to get it repaired. We know it seems tempting to just throw some tape around a leaking pipe and put a full repair on the backburner, that strategy can really backfire. Because of the fluctuations in water pressure in supply lines, humidity and weather, and overall water usage, you may underestimate the size of a leak. It might be a slow drip in the morning and a flood that would make Noah nervous by night. It is imperative that any known leaks are fixed with a more permanent solution or lines are completely replaced. Otherwise you may be looking at spending a lot of time mopping.
#7: Inspect the Caulk Around Your Water-Based Appliances
Another overlooked area of your home that is prone to cause flooding and water damage: caulk. Caulk is the glue that keeps your appliances separated from water and moisture. While your caulk will not cause any large leaks, pinhole cracks can cause slow leaks and puddles of standing water that can go unnoticed…and before you know it, you’re dealing with mold damage in your home. When you are inspecting your water-based appliances for leaks, take an extra minute and inspect the surrounding caulk. If you are noticing any substantial wear, it might be time to recaulk.
#6: Check Your Water Bill for Unusual Spikes
Who likes getting surprises in your monthly bills? No one.
A tell-tale sign that something is wrong is your monthly water bill. If there’s a spike in one month compared to the previous (and there’s not a known reason), there could be a large water leak, and a subsequent flood, somewhere in your home. Time to inspect!
Start in areas that could be a culprit: your water heater, toilets, main water supply lines, your outside hoses. Chances are, you’ll find the leak pretty quick! If you don’t find a leak, and you’re not convinced it was your son brushing his teeth with the water running, have a professional team like Mammoth Restoration inspect your home for potential water damage.
#5: Monitor Moisture Levels in Your Home
A great preventive measure to take is to install a moisture meter in your home that can regular take the moisture level of areas prone to water leaks. At Mammoth Restoration, we recommend installing a moisture meter like the Lignomat Scanner near your water heater and sump pump as a start. By being alerted with raised level of moisture in these areas, you can further inspect your water-based appliances for any leaks- before any flooding and water damage occurs. At the same time, a moisture meter will also detect low moisture levels and may cause your family to look into using humidifiers in the winter and a swamp cooler in the summer.
#4: Clear Any Clogs With a Drain Snake
A very easy way to break your pipes is to use liquid drain cleaners like Drain-o to clear any clogged drains or pipes. The chemicals found in those drain cleaners can eat away at the PVC and metal causing leaks and cracks. Sounds simple, but opt for a drain snake for your next clog. Your pipes will thank you!
#3: Monitor Your Water Pressure
Similar to installing a moisture meter, using a water pressure gauge, like the Rain Bird P2A, will give you an instant reading of the pressure of your water heater, sink, shower and tub water supply, washing machine, or dishwasher. Having high water pressure to those appliances causes unnecessary strain and could cause them to leak or fail entirely. High water pressure can easily be avoided and mitigated by checking the water pressure of those appliances at least twice a year. Plus, you will save on your water bill if your water pressure is tuned to the factory settings!
#2: Don’t Abuse Your Garbage Disposal
Have you ever looked at something you were going to pour down the drain and wondered, “Is this a good idea?” Odds are, pouring leftover bacon grease, paint, egg shells, and coffee grounds is overworking your garbage disposal and can cause leaks in your kitchen pipes. In fact there are 11 things you should NEVER put down your drain. While abusing your garbage disposal won’t lead to a massive flood the same way a monsoon storm would, it’s not good for the longevity of your kitchen pipes. Be smart when pouring things down your home’s drain systems- it could lead to slow leaks and future water damage!
#1: Call Mammoth Restoration to Inspect Your Home
If you’re unsure of how prone your home is, inside and out, to flooding and water damage. Have the team at Mammoth Restoration inspect your home. We have over 15 years of experience in Flagstaff and northern Arizona with flooding and water damage and can recommend different techniques and strategies to keep your home safe. Call us today for a free consultation.