You don’t have to live near a body of water for your home to be at risk for receiving flood damage. In fact, many home floods are the result of a burst pipe rather than a natural disaster. By taking a few extra precautions you can minimize your risk of sustaining costly flood damage to your home.

The Cost of Water Damage

When a flood occurs, even a few inches of water could result in costly repairs. The worst part is, most homeowners insurance won’t cover damages if your home should fall victim to flooding. When it comes to water damage, there are two main sources: natural and accidental. Natural sources of flooding include hurricanes, snow melt, heavy rains and flash floods. These powerful disasters often cause large amounts of water to invade a home. The accidental sources of flooding come from burst pipes or other plumbing malfunctions. These instances of flooding don’t always carry with them the same volume of water, but the repairs can be just as costly.

Securing Your Home

Your basement or lowermost floor is at the greatest risk for flooding. Installing a flood sensor will alert you any time water begins to accumulate there. These sensors are especially useful for cellars that you don’t use very often. A sensor will alert your phone even if you are hundreds of miles away, bringing your attention to the problem so you can address it quickly. Often, it is not the initial flooding that causes the most damage but the ensuing standing water that remains in the house. This can cause mold growth and destroy rugs and carpets.

How to Check Your Home Plumbing

In addition to adding flood sensors in high-risk areas of your home, be sure to check on your plumbing regularly. By being proactive you can prevent a flood before it starts. Do a visual check of your pipes and shut off the water to your home before taking an extended trip. Sometimes leaks are small and hidden, but these tiny holes in your pipes can quickly turn into huge problems. Use a pressure gauge to detect if your plumbing has sprung any hidden leaks.

At night, before you go to bed, attach a pressure gauge to a hose bib on the building side of your water system’s shut-off valve. Then, engage the shut-off valve, effectively trapping whatever water is in your pipes. Check the reading on the pressure gauge and then wait. The wait time can last anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight – the longer you let it sit, the smaller the leak you will be able to detect. After you have waited a sufficient amount of time, go back and check the pressure gauge again. If your pipes are leaking water then the pressure inside will go down. However, if the pressure gauge shows no change then your pipes are sealed tight. In order for this test to be accurate, make sure your shutoff valve is watertight, as it is important to not allow any more water into the system once you begin testing.

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Cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons