Angie's List: Water Damage

Now that we've had an early spring thaw, it's time to do an assessment.

You need to make sure water damage isn't washing away your most important investment, your home. The solutions are usually simple and inexpensive, but waiting too long can be costly.

Time is of the essence when you have water coming into your house. It can quickly lead to wood rot, structural damage and mold.

Angie Hicks, Angie's List, explains how checking your house is important to do, "Checking your house regularly for any signs of water damage is important because if it's left undetected in can lead to mold which can lead to health problems. So, any signs of water should be addressed right away."

There are certain areas to check when looking for potential water damage.

Angie explains some problem areas to check first, "There are simple things you can do around your house to make sure you avoid water problems. Check your roof periodically for leaks. Also, clean your gutters? Check the grade around the foundation of your house to be sure it's grading away from your house. All of these things will prevent potential problems."

If you don't have one already, it may be a good idea to get a sump pump for your basement or crawl space.

A sump pump, normally operated by a float mechanism, detects water and pumps it outside, away from the house, if the water reaches a certain level.

Make sure you're prepared if you lose power as well.

Brad Isley, Plumbing Company Co-Owner, explains why a battery backup is important, "Battery backup is important if you have assets you want to protect. So if you have a basement whether its finished or unfinished and you have something in there you want to protect then you need a backup sump pump of some version."

Check your homeowner's insurance policy to make sure it includes a sump pump failure clause.

Have your gutters cleaned and inspected twice a year to minimize your risk for water damage, usually in the spring and fall. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause major water damage and quickly.

Content:
Time is of the essence when you have water coming into your house. It can quickly lead to wood root, structural damage and mold. And depending on the extent of the damage, repairing water damage can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

If you haven't already, check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if it includes drain and sewer backup coverage

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews , asked highly rated plumbing companies for tips to keeping your home dry.

Gutters & Downspouts
• The goal of your gutters is to collect rainwater and help direct it away from your house. If they are damaged or clogged, water could overflow during heavy rains and create problems at the foundation. Check your gutters and downspouts a few minutes following a heavy rain. If you see any water overflowing, you have a problem.
• Have your gutters cleaned and inspected twice a year to minimize your risk for water damage. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause major water damage and quickly. • Have your gutter system installed correctly with correct number of downspouts of the correct size and extended at least 10 feet from the house and away from your foundation.
• A gutter or roofing professional can inspect your roof for signs of potential leakage issues like damaged shingles, popped nails or cracked rubber seals.

Sump Pumps
• A sump pump protects a home's crawlspace or basement from water filtration from the outside. An automatic pump, normally operated by a float mechanism, detects water and pumps it outside, away from the house, if the water reaches a certain level.
• Sump pumps usually run on electricity. Installing a battery or water-powered backup sump pump can help protect your home flood damage, should you experience a power outage from a storm.
• Keep the pit free of debris. Test the pump's operation on a monthly basis by manually pulling the float up to engage the motor. Another way to test is to fill the sump pit with water and go outside to make sure the pump is actually discharging water. You can eliminate any build-up in the system by periodically pouring white vinegar through the unit.
• Check your homeowner's insurance coverage to ensure it includes a sump pump failure clause.
Landscape & Foundation:
• The landscape around your home can have a major impact on whether or not water will cause damage. Design your landscaping grade so water slopes away from the home's exterior, rather than towards it.
• Take a walk around your home and look for cracks and holes in your foundation/walls and seal them if necessary.


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