How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

Although water is one of the necessary building blocks for life, in the wrong context, it can be a destructive force. Excessive moisture can lead to warped floors, discolored and peeling paint, mildew, mold, and insect infestations. Extensive water damage could cause serious structural damage and force you out of your home. Here are a few tips to prevent and avoid water damage.

Common Water Intrusion Locations

Certain areas of the home are more prone to water intrusion than others, including:

  • The roof: Leaks are common around attic vents, plumbing vents, and chimneys. Repair shingles that allow water into the roof sheathing. To trace a ceiling leak, measure its distance from the nearest outside wall. Using a measuring tape, locate the same point in your attic. Water can run along rafters, an attic floor, or a truss before getting through your ceiling.
  • Windows and doors: Check the edges and corners of your doors and windows for leaks. Peeling paint is a good sign of water penetrating the wood. Check for discolored paint or caulking, water stains, and swelling in the materials surrounding doorframes and windows.
  • Exterior walls: Check your exterior walls for cracks, paying close attention to areas where pipes or wires extend through the walls. Use a caulk or sealant to fill up any cracks or holes.
  • Termite damage: Wood that has sustained termite damage can lead to moisture intrusion or further termite infestation in the future.
  • Plumbing: Check all your plumbing systems. Leaking faucets, sweating pipes, faulty water drainage, and clogged drains could lead to potential water damage. Your water heater should not show signs of rust or leak water on the floor. Replace rubber washing machine hoses with stainless steel braided hoses—they last longer.

Maintenance

Practicing good home maintenance is the best way to prevent water damage. In the process, you’ll ensure that all your utilities are in proper working order and save a bit on your utility bill.

  • Humidity: Keep the humidity in your home under 55 percent. The ideal range is between 30 and 50 percent. Musty smells, stains on the wall and ceiling, and frequent condensation on windows all point to high humidity levels.  Your air conditioning system can not only cool your home, but it can also properly dehumidify the air.  During hot showers, turn on your bathroom’s exhaust fan.
  • Attics: Make sure your attics have enough insulation to keep your home’s heat from escaping. Not enough insulation can lead to ice dams, which collect around the lower edge of your roof. When it rains, the ice dams will force the water under the shingles and into your home. Normally San Diegans don’t have to worry about ice, but with our record lows lately, and especially if you live in a higher elevation, this could become an issue.
  • Landscaping: Keep any trees around your home well-trimmed. Branches should be at least seven feet away from the exterior surface of your home. This prevents insects from getting into your home via tree and prolongs the lives of your roof and siding. Avoid keeping vines on your exterior walls. Vines can open up cracks and allow water and pests into your home.

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