Jan 23, 2013

Will your home will spring a leak?

Into each life, some some rain must fall ... and into each home, some water may fall too.

Water damage to a home can be costly if not detected quickly. Whether it is a burst hose from a washing machine hose or a toilet overflow, the damage costs can soar into the thousands. However, there are ways to help avoid leaks before they become expensive.

The folks at the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) have come up with their predictions of the likelihood of leaks from a water heater or shower. According to the IBHS, homes more than 20 years old are 37% more likely to have a shower leak than newer homes.

But the biggest concern is usually the water heater. When a water heater is 5 years old, the chance it will leak or burst begins to increase dramatically. About 75% of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years old. Good reason to have it in the garage or ensure the drain pan is clear of debris on a regular basis.

There are ways to avoid leaks and there are products on the market that can detect a leak if it occurs and stop the water before serious flooding. Here are a few tips to help keep your home puddle free:
  • Hoses, such as the supply connections to the dishwasher or ice maker, should be inspected annually for deterioration or loose fittings.
  • Pipes under sinks can become loose over time and should be checked. Slow-moving drains are also a signal that pipes need inspection.
  • In bathrooms, check for any staining or soft spots around walls and floors that could indicate a leak. Drain pipes and shower pans are prone to leaks as they age and should be checked every couple of years. For a toilet, the sound of constant running means the flapper or fill valve assembly may need to be replaced.
  • Washing machines can leak a serious amount of water into a house. Check the hoses regularly for cracking, fraying or leaks and replace them every 5 years to keep problems from developing. There should be at least 5 inches of space between the water connection and the back of the machine to keep hoses from kinking.
  • Water heaters should be located on the lowest level of a home and over a drain pan, in case a leak occurs.
  • Every family member should know where the main water supply valve is located and how to turn the water off. I can tell you from experience that trying to find the shut off when water is flooding your home is harrowing.
  • Get a leak detection device to help detect and prevent water damage. An "active system" generates an alarm and prompts the device to stop water flow when the moisture sensor detects a leak. A "passive systems" or "water alarm" is intended to alert you to a possible leak with an alarm or flashing light. Passive systems are easy to install and inexpensive. If you are away from your home for extended periods of time, consider a whole-house system with a shut off valve located on the main water supply pipe. If the system detects a leak, it will automatically shut off the entire water supply to the home. [where: 75230]

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