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Top 10 Causes of Water Damage in the Home

What Causes Water Damage

Water damage in homes can be a costly and disruptive problem. In over 25 years in the disaster restoration industry, we have seen it all, from frozen pipe bursts to water heater leaks and beyond. As a homeowner, the first line of defense in water damage is the knowledge of what to look for. Be aware of the most common causes of water damage in the home and act fast when you find a leak. Addressing these issues promptly and implementing preventive measures can help mitigate the risk of further water damage. Here's a look at the most common causes of water damage in residential properties, along with potential solutions:

  1. Leaking or Burst Pipes: Leaks can occur from joints or connections, or wear and tear over time. Frozen pipes can burst due to freezing temperatures. Insulate exposed pipes in cold areas like basements and crawlspaces to prevent freezing. Regularly inspect pipes for signs of corrosion or wear and promptly repair any leaks. Consider installing a leak detection system that can alert you to potential issues before they escalate.
  2. Plumbing Issues: Plumbing fixtures, such as faucets, toilets, or water heaters, can leak and cause water damage. Schedule routine maintenance to check for leaks or malfunctions. Replace worn-out seals or faulty components promptly to prevent water damage.
  3. Roof Leaks: Damaged or missing roof shingles, flashing, or improper roof installation can lead to water seeping into the home during rain or melting snow. Regularly inspect your roof for damaged or missing shingles. Repair any issues promptly to prevent water from infiltrating the home. Consider applying a waterproof sealant or coating to extend the life of your roof. After a winter of heavy snowfall, ice dams may pose a problem. Help prevent ice dams by keeping your gutters clear and properly insulating your attic. 
  4. Appliance Malfunctions:  Malfunctioning washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, or water heaters can cause leaks or overflow, resulting in water damage. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance and inspections of appliances regularly. Replace worn-out hoses or seals on washing machines and dishwashers to prevent leaks. Install overflow pans beneath water heaters to contain any leaks.
  5. Clogged Drains or Gutters: Clogged gutters or downspouts can cause water to accumulate on the roof or around the foundation, leading to water damage. Clogged drains can cause backups and overflows within the home. Clean gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure proper drainage. Use drain guards to prevent debris from clogging indoor drains and causing backups.
  6. HVAC Issues: Air conditioning units and HVAC systems can produce condensation or leaks if not properly maintained, leading to water damage. Schedule annual maintenance for HVAC systems to ensure they are functioning correctly and not producing excess condensation. Replace filters regularly and inspect ductwork for leaks or damage.
  7. Sewer Backup: Sewer lines can become clogged or damaged, causing sewage to back up into the home. Install backwater valves or check valves on sewer lines to prevent sewage backups into the home. Regularly inspect sewer lines for clogs or damage and address any issues promptly.
  8. Foundation Cracks: Cracks in the foundation or basement walls can allow water to seep into the home, especially during heavy rainfall or when the water table is high. Seal any cracks in the foundation or basement walls to prevent water seepage. Ensure proper grading around the home to direct water away from the foundation. Consider installing a sump pump to remove excess water from the basement.
  9. Storm Damage: Flooding from heavy rains, hurricanes, storms, or melting snow can lead to water intrusion and significant damage to homes. While some natural disasters are unavoidable, there are steps homeowners can take to minimize damage. Elevate electrical systems and appliances in flood-prone areas. Install flood barriers or flood vents to prevent water from entering the home.
  10. Improper Home Maintenance: Lack of regular maintenance, such as failing to repair leaks promptly or ignoring warning signs of potential water damage, can exacerbate issues and lead to more significant damage over time. Stay vigilant for signs of water damage, such as musty odors, dampness, or water stains. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from escalating into more significant problems. Regularly inspect your home's exterior and interior for potential sources of water intrusion.

By taking proactive measures to address these common causes of water damage, homeowners can protect their property and minimize the risk of costly repairs. Regular maintenance, inspections, and prompt repairs are key to preventing water damage and maintaining a safe and healthy home environment. Odds are, you will experience a water damage loss in your lifetime. When you do, we can help. We understand that disasters are a time of uncertainty. Since we've experienced it all before, we're proud to help guide our customers through these unsettling times. Our project managers provide support from beginning to end, helping customers to navigate the solution that's right for them. Contact us for water damage restoration services, 24/7/365.