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  • Writer's pictureDoron Yaniv

Preventing Water Damage to Your Home



Home

Water damage, whether from leaks or condensation, can lead to more than just unsightly stains in your home. It can result in permanent structural damage and weaken the integrity of the building.







Roof

Start With The Roof


It's common to overlook your roof, but it can lead to water damage from leaks. Protect your home by preventing leaks. Various factors like corrosion, wind or hail damage, or improper installation can cause roof leaks.

Regular inspections and maintenance are crucial to avoiding issues. Check your roof for punctures, cracks, or breaks. Clean and patch any damages. Annually inspect rain gutters, downspouts, and extensions for leaks. All types of roofs, whether shingled, metal, vinyl, or fiberglass, should be checked yearly.

Distribute your weight on rafters to preserve roof seals and seams. Use a plywood sheet on bowstring or low-pitch rafters. Remove debris from the roof and gutters to prevent punctures.

Seal metal roofs with a commercial coating every other year, especially in certain climates. Apply coating around vents, seams, and the drip edge. Cover screw heads, fasteners, and other potential leak areas. Inspect and seal around vents and chimneys. Repair damaged shingles, vent caps, nail heads, or any other issues promptly.


Outside Walls, Doors, and Windows


 and Windows

Inspect the exterior walls, doors, and windows twice yearly, in the spring and fall, to check for any unusual wear or tear. Failure to maintain these areas regularly can result in water and moisture penetration. Replace or repair any damaged caulk, weather stripping, glazing, window seals, door seals, or other exterior components affected by normal wear and tear or damage. Evaluate the condition of your exterior siding and replace any missing or damaged fasteners or screws. Address any punctures in the siding promptly.

Don't forget to examine the underside of your home for signs of sagging, tearing, or water stains on the bottom barrier. These issues could indicate inadequate or damaged insulation, potentially leading to frozen water lines or leaks. Please pay attention to your home's pneumatic storm door closer and safety chain, ensuring they are secure and functioning correctly to prevent the door from blowing open and causing water damage. Regularly check wooden exterior doors for wear, tear, and cracks.

Additionally, inspect weather stripping, seals, sill, and threshold for any indications of leaks or damage. Review the putty or caulking around metal windows, removing any cracked or dried-out material and replacing it with a more effective sealant or caulk.


Eliminate Excess


Construction

Modern, well-constructed, and well-insulated homes can retain excess moisture and condensation indoors, particularly if ventilation is insufficient. This excess moisture can manifest as musty odors, rusty stains near light fixtures, damp and sticky floors, mildew along the ceiling, walls, and baseboards, dripping pipes, condensation on windows and cold surfaces, and mold and mildew growth.

Regular preventive maintenance is essential in addressing many moisture-related issues. Ensure proper air circulation indoors by using vents and fans to prevent condensation. When showering, utilize exhaust fans in the bathroom. Installing an exhaust fan in the laundry area and using it during laundry activities is also recommended. Additionally, ensure that your dryer is properly vented to the outside.

Repair any leaking faucets and dripping toilets promptly. In colder regions, water draining under the house may freeze, leading to water backup through drain lines into the home. Consider investing in a quality portable dehumidifier with a humidity control feature that automatically shuts off when the collector pan is full.

Opt for storm windows to enhance energy efficiency and prevent window condensation. Another advantage of storm windows is their ability to reduce heat loss.

Ensure that the skirting around the base of your home allows for proper ventilation, enabling free air circulation to prevent excess moisture from seeping into the sub-flooring of your manufactured home.


Inside Your Home


Refrigerator

To prevent water damage in your home, it's essential to identify potential issues proactively. Keep an ear out for unusual hissing sounds, as they could indicate a small leak in a water line hidden within a wall or floor. Regularly inspect hidden areas around water heaters, sinks, and washing machines. Don't forget to check your refrigerator's ice maker lines and filters.

Watch out for discolored floor coverings or subfloors, as they often signal a leak. Water stains and dampness can result from loose or damaged plumbing fixtures. If you notice moisture around the base of a toilet, it may be due to a worn wax ring that can be easily replaced. Address any interior water damage promptly, and if you cannot fix it yourself, seek help from a qualified professional.

If your water pressure exceeds 80 pounds, consider having a professional install a pressure regulator to prevent high pressures that could lead to leaks or line ruptures.


Emergency Tips


Floor Cover

If you notice water accumulation on the floor, detect standing water in your residence, or encounter significant, sudden, and unintentional water damage, it is essential to initiate the ventilating and drying out of your home promptly.

Here are some initial precautions to take until assistance arrives:

  • If feasible, turn off the water source.

  • Prevent further damage to your belongings by making temporary, reasonable, and essential repairs, such as using plywood or plastic covers to shield roof or wall openings.

  • Transfer household items to an undamaged section of your home or cover them with plastic. Remove as much water as possible by mopping, blotting, or using a wet vacuum.

  • Avoid placing books, magazines, or colored items on wet carpeting. Take out oriental or other colored throw rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting. Extract the pad from beneath saturated carpets and position wood blocks or aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpeting.

  • Wipe off excess water from wooden furniture. Unseal drawers and cabinets to facilitate quicker drying. Open windows to expedite the drying process.

  • In hot weather, switch on the air conditioner or fans for optimal drying, ensuring it is safe to utilize electricity.

  • Create small openings in sagging ceilings to release trapped water. Place a pan or bucket below to collect the water before piercing a hole. If the ceiling is wet, refrain from turning on a ceiling fixture to prevent mixing water and electricity.

  • Eliminate any wet insulation and substitute it with new, dry insulation.

  • Swiftly address minor mold growth by using a solution of one cup of chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Allow this solution to sit on the mold for approximately 15 minutes to eradicate the mold spores. Take necessary precautions when handling chlorine bleach.

Once you have executed temporary repairs and are prepared to commence the restoration process, remember to:

  • Ensure flooring and carpets are completely dry before starting any repairs or replacements.

  • Engage a professional to clean and reinstall your carpet once the carpet pad has been replaced.

  • If you detect mold during the cleaning process, consider enlisting the services of a professional cleaning company, as certain molds can pose health risks.


Clean-Up Cautions


Ensure your safety during the cleaning process. Avoid using your regular vacuum cleaner to eliminate water. Refrain from operating any appliances while standing on wet surfaces. Do not leave damp fabrics in position; dry them promptly. Elevate wet upholstered cushions to facilitate thorough drying.

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