Plumbing and appliance problems can create a nightmare in water damage—including whole-house flooding. Even minor problems can turn into major headaches if they occur when you are not at home. Here are a few tips that can help add a few layers of additional protection and assurance. Problems often begin with leaks and drips so small that they could be wiped up with a sheet of paper towel. That’s why awareness of a few simple guidelines is so important.
1. Keep an eye on your water bill each month. Sudden or dramatic changes in your usage that you can’t explain can be the first sign of trouble indoors or out. It’s time to launch a full-scale investigation.
2. Significant amounts of water flow through toilets when in use. Call a plumber at the first sign of rust-colored water, backed-up toilets and sinks, and cracked or warped flooring. A tank that intermittently or constantly refills when not in use is a sign that the toilet assembly is faulty.
3. To prevent appliance hoses from kinking, leave a three-inch space between the wall and the back of the refrigerator and washing machine. Inspect all hoses and water shut-off valves every six months and consider replacing rubber hoses with “burst-free” metal-reinforced hoses.
4. Broken water heaters can dump gallons of water into your home. Do an annual inspection and consider placing a drip pan beneath the unit that you can check more often. Less hot water or cold water are signs of problems, as are unusual sounds coming from the tank.
5. The joints and pipes beneath sinks in the bathroom and kitchen should be regularly inspected for condensation “sweating” as well as drips or leaks—as often as monthly. Rubber mats, especially those with elevated side guards made for under-sink use, can go a long way in protecting your cabinetry and/or flooring from water damage.
6. Exhaust all vents to the exterior—from the dryer exhaust to gables and the attic. Dryer vents that empty into crawl spaces or the attic can leave moisture that decays wood and grows mold. Check for any degrading or cracking of the rubber seals on vent boots.
7. Excessive humidity can wreak havoc on Florida homes. Look for condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, or musty odors. Be aware of any dampness and/or mildew in places where air circulation is low like closets, behind curtains and beneath beds. Use exhaust fans for warm showers/baths and while cooking. A simple instrument called a hygrometer can measure the relative humidity. If corrective steps are needed or if your home is unoccupied for extended periods of time, consider investing in a humidistat and set it to 58 RH (relative humidity).
Florida property owners who want real peace of mind have their homeowners insurance with Olympus. Through a partnership with water damage experts Rytech, Olympus Insurance guarantees customers of a 15-minute response time—24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Call the Olympus team at 866-281-2242 or Rytech’s emergency line at 800-865-8787