Water Damage and Possible Prevention

Water damage can result from many different causes: storms, flooding, broken water pipes and lines, leaking washing machines, and more. This can lead to mold and odor problems, and worse. If left unmitigated, water damage can eventually cause structural damage, which can entail significant costs to repair and can even affect a home’s value.
Prevention is the first defense against water damage. Here are some basics on preventing water damage and its effects:
Condensation is a big problem at this time of year.  Especially this year, with hot humid weather and thirty days over 30C outside ,  the basement is the coolest spot in the home.   Warm air infiltrates around the sill plate, doors and windows and at night especially will reach dew point behind the vapour barrier.   Purchasers may think the basement is leaking,   it is not it is condensation.
A basement dehumidifier is needed to dry this up,   caulking the exterior around doors and windows will reduce air infiltration and foam insulation on the interior sill plate will stop air infiltration.

Water supply lines to and from washing machines and dishwashers should be regularly checked for leaks. Both the hoses themselves and the connections should be examined. Even a small leak can cause water damage over time, so any leaks should be repaired immediately. If the laundry room is located on the main floor or above, damage to the floor and ceiling below can be especially problematic.  Recommend these water lines be turned off when you are on holidays and most insurance companies require the home to checked every three days.
Tank-style water heaters are prone to leaks, especially after several years of use. Over time, the bottom of the tank can rust out, causing a serious leak. Ideally, an overflow valve should be installed that will conduct leaking water to a pipe that drains either outside or to an appropriate interior drain.  If your tank is 12 to 15 years of age it is probably time to replace it.
Another common source of water leaks is the icemaker supply line; this should be checked as well. Plastic lines can be replaced with copper lines.
Be aware that pipe leakage can occur inside the walls or ceiling and may be impossible to detect visually before damage has already occurred. Proper equipment such as an infrared scanner can be used to detect signs of moisture.  Where pipes are exposed pipe wrap will hel with condensation and sweating water pipes.   Unlined toilet tanks can be replaced with a lined toilet tank to reduce condensation and water damage behind the toilet
Gutters and downspouts should be checked to ensure that water is flowing away from the home’s foundation. Make any adjustments, and check the flow again using water from a garden hose.  Downspouts are the number one reason for water penetration in the basement as a huge amount of water is discharged in a small area.
Water leak detectors can be installed at floor level near water heaters and interior air conditioning units. Simple, inexpensive wireless models are widely available and will sound an alarm when water is detected on the floor near these appliances.  I recommend these for all sump pump and sewage ejectors in country homes.
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