Have you ever thought about the fact that you are living under the constant threat of pressurized water finding a place in your home where it can burst forth? It most often occurs at a time when you least expect it. Water damage is a leading cause of homeowner insurance claims. Is it any wonder, when we consider all the sources where water can break out of its bounds in most homes? There’s the very common leak under the sink, the water line to every toilet, the aging water heater, the splitting hoses on the back of the washer and that flimsy little plastic tube that feeds the ice maker in the fridge, to name a few!
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to lessen the odds of a water damage situation in your home. Here’s a short list to get you started:
1. Know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home and make sure it is in working order.
2.Replace the rubber hoses on the washing machine, dishwasher, supply lines to toilets and the icemaker in the fridge with steel-braided hoses. The cost is minimal and it greatly reduces the risk of escaping water.
3. Inspect your water heater at least annually for signs of corrosion or leaks. Aging water heaters can weaken over time, increasing the likelihood of a large rupture.
4. If you have a sump pump in your basement, make sure it is in good working order and consider installing a battery backup.
5. Monitor your water bill. A bigger bill could mean your crawl space is becoming an unwanted reservoir!
6. Keep your gutters and downspouts clean and clear, so that water can move through them properly and drain away from your home’s foundation.
You wouldn’t think of going without working smoke alarms. Did you know there are a plethora of water sensing alarms available on the market today? With many of these options, you can almost completely eliminate the risk of experiencing a costly and inconvenient water damage situation!
There are a number of water leak detectors that produce an auditable alarm when they sense moisture. These often come in packages of four to six sensors which can be placed under kitchen sinks, behind toilets, water heaters and washing machines. The cost is very reasonable. Many options can be found on-line and at home improvement centers.
Water leak detectors are great, but someone has to be around to hear the alarm and take action! If you want the very best in leak detection, there are a number of systems that can notify you remotely of a water leak and actually turn the water off for you! Some of these systems connect to your wi-fi and communicate with a central device or send a notification to a smartphone when they encounter moisture. Others include an option to actually shut off the main water supply if an abnormal water flow is detected. These systems are more expensive, but still much less than your homeowner insurance policy deductible. Even more, they eliminate the headache of suffering a major disruption in your life, which usually costs thousands of dollars and several months to repair! Give us a call if you want more information or have questions. We predict that in the not too distant future water sensor systems will be as common in homes and businesses as smoke detectors are today.
Dan Buck is the owner of Shaffer-Buck Insurance Inc. in Caldwell, Idaho. The firm is an independent insurance agency representing several regional and nationwide insurance carriers. It offers customized insurance protection for homeowners, small businesses and farms. Lines of coverage include auto, homeowner, renter, recreational vehicle, small business, life, health and disability insurance.
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