5 tips to prevent water damage

Here are five suggestions to help you prevent water damage to your property.

1. Clean out roof gutters

Gutters that are full of dead leaves, birds’ nests, branches or other items will be less effective in getting water off your roof. On a rainy day, a blocked gutter can send water through the roof, into the basement, or into your home’s foundation. This can lead to serious water damage! Next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure your gutters are clean and that downspouts extend at least 1.8 m away from your home’s foundation wall. Make sure that water does not flow toward your house or your neighbours’ houses. It should flow away from your home toward the street, your backyard, or the back alley.

If your gutters are too high, aim for safety and hire a professional to check them or clean them, or both.

2. Check appliances regularly

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, periodically check and maintain appliances such as your washing machine or dishwasher to prevent leaks.

Hoses should be inspected at least once a year and replaced if there is any sign of deterioration (cracking, bulging, corrosion). Even if hoses are in good condition, they should be changed every 10 years.

Ideally, replace old hoses with braided steel hoses. These are stronger and less likely to swell or burst than the standard rubber hoses provided with the appliance.

3. Do not let pipes freeze

Water, pipes, and cold are a bad combination. If your property is unheated, if your pipes are exposed to the cold, or if water remains in outdoor water hoses throughout the winter, ice blocks can form that can seriously damage your pipes. When your pipes are damaged, they may release water that will damage your walls, your floors, your ceilings, and your belongings.

Before winter comes, drain outdoor hoses and turn off outdoor faucets. Throughout the winter, keep temperatures warm enough in every room in your house. If you are away for more than four days in winter, make sure that someone visits your house, or drain your water supply lines.

4. Keep your plumbing in good condition

If you notice leaks, increased humidity in some places, or even mould in your home, act quickly to carry out necessary repairs.

Never pour grease down your kitchen or bathroom sink. If your drain gets clogged, use a drain snake to unclog it instead of chemical products that can damage your pipes.

If you have a sump pump, have a plumber check it periodically. If possible, add a battery-operated pump that you will be able to use if there is a power failure.

A backflow valve prevents water from the municipality’s main sewer from backing up into your basement. If you live in an area where there is a risk of sewage backup, it might be a good idea to install one. If you already have a backflow valve, have a plumber make sure it is in good working order.

5. Carry out your landscaping with care

Some plants and trees, such as weeping willows, have invasive root systems. If you’re not careful, these roots can easily take over your drainage system, your pipes, or your septic tank. Before you plant, make a plan to keep roots away from any water lines.

You should also make sure that the ground around your house slopes in the right direction, so that water flows away from the foundations of your home, toward the street or the furthest part of your yard.