Protect Your Home from Water Damage

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Flooded homeWater damage can happen overnight if you aren't properly prepared, and it can lead to expensive home insurance claims, which in turn lead to higher premiums. The Canadian insurance industry pays out $1.7 billion in claims for water damage alone every year, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which can damage almost any part of your home. There are several steps that you should take as a homeowner to reduce your risk of water damage, keeping your possessions safe and your home insurance affordable.

1. Move your valuables out of the basement

The basement is a common choice for storage, because it often isn't used for much else. Unfortunately, in the event of a flood, the basement will be the first part of your house to be damaged. Valuable items should be kept upstairs if at all possible to minimize your liability.

2. Look for and repair all leaks and cracks

A frequent cause of water damage is water that seeps in from rain or snow melt, according to The Weather Channel. Check your windows, doors, roof and even walls for leaks during the next rain storm and repair them promptly. In many cases, you'll find that caulk is a cheap and effective remedy for small cracks.

3. Install a sump pump

If you don't already have a sump pump, you should invest in one now, before you suffer water damage. A sump pump won't necessarily help you avoid all water damage, but it will pump out rising water, keeping it from doing additional damage to your home.

4. Install flood shields for basement windows and doors

In the event of significant rain or snow melt, you may find water draining into your basement from the outside. The best way to avoid this problem is to install flood shields around entrances to your basement that rise above the water level.

5. Control humidity

Humidity can cause serious damage to your home without ever soaking anything. Humidity causes rot and mold in the structure of your house over time, which can be extremely expensive to repair. The Weather Channel says that the humidity level in your home should be between 30 per cent and 50 per cent. Check your humidity in different areas of your home. If it is above 50 per cent, you should invest in a dehumidifier to bring the humidity down to a level that is safe for your home.

Preventing water damage isn't just about keeping your home insurance premiums low. Every year, people lose irreplaceable items of sentimental value to water damage, so take preventative steps now.