Each year, water leaks cause millions of dollars of damage to homes. Most water leaks can be prevented. According to the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), there are five areas of the home that may lead to leaks need a closer look, and if necessary, simple maintenance to prevent leaks.
- Roof: Check this from the inside and out. Examine the roof for missing or curling shingles or excessive loss of granules, then look at the underside of the roof from the attic if possible. Water spots are a good indication of a water leak that needs to be fixed.
- Window and door seals: Water leaks may show up as peeling paint, streaks below windows, or swollen and soft drywall. Make sure caulking around the exterior of windows and doors is in good shape and replace if needed. Repair flashing around windows. Replace damaged siding, wood or drywall.
- Exterior walls: Make sure exterior walls are well-painted and sealed to prevent water leaks. Seal any cracks or openings around pipes or vents that penetrate the exterior wall.
- Gutters and downspouts: Check that these are clean and stable to ensure proper drainage and lessen the chance they will become flying debris in high wind. Make sure downspouts slope away from the house and carry water at least five-feet away from the foundation to avoid water leaks into your basement.
- Yard and landscaping: The yard’s grading can change so make sure water drains away from the home and doesn’t pool against walls. Don’t place compost or mulch against outside walls and make sure sprinklers do not spray the house.
IBHS recommends checking water sources inside the home, too. A recent IBHS study of damage from washing machines, plumbing supply systems and plumbing drain systems found more than half of all washing machine failures are caused by the supply hose. Prevent these leaks by replacing the supply hose with a steel braided hose. Plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water leak claims, and the number of claims dramatically increases for homes more than 21 years old.