Wise maintenance can protect homeowners from water disasters

Although we tend to think of extreme weather events like hurricanes or torrential rains when it comes to property damage from water, the reality is ordinary household plumbing systems, appliance failures and maintenance neglect can be just as destructive.

According to the New York City-based Insurance Information Institute, about one in 60 insured homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year. The average home insurance claim for such damage is $11,098.

A standard homeowners insurance policy does cover some costs associated with water damage, but not all. Contact your insurer or agent for specific details.

The institute offer tips to mitigate your risk. 

Inside Your Home  

Inspect hoses and faucets. Check hoses leading to water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerator icemakers annually. Replace those with cracks or leaks, and replace them all every five to seven years.  

Inspect showers and tubs. Check the seal and caulking around showers and tubs to make sure they are watertight.  

Shut off the water supply to the washing machine while away on vacation, and never leave the house while the washer or dishwasher is running.  

Know the location of the main water shut off valve in your home. A damaged hose or a burst pipe can send water racing into your home.  

Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect against the increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.  

Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately.  

 Outside Your Home  

Caulk and seal windows. Preventive maintenance will guard against water seepage.  

Inspect your roof. Look for missing, damaged, and aging shingles.    

Check your downspouts. Remove debris that may have accumulated in downspouts and rain gutters. Position downspouts so that they direct water away from the house.  

Check sprinklers and irrigations systems. Be sure sprinklers and irrigation systems are not damaging the walls and foundations of the house; Turn off and drain outside faucets to protect against frozen pipes.  

Install gutter guards. Gutter guards are devices used to protect the clogging of the roof gutter so that the water from the roof may flow easily and accumulation of water does not take place on the roof but away from the house. ∞