Water damage is a primary cause for claims against homeowners insurance in Arizona. Even a paid claim cannot adequately compensate you for the time and aggravation of dealing with water damage, so we want to help you avoid this issue.
Let’s start by addressing potential water damage to the exterior of your home, or your neighbor’s home- during rain season.
The major factor in avoiding exterior water issues is the slope of the ground surrounding your house. Six inches in slope for every 10 feet, or a grade of -2% to -5% is considered ideal for drainage, but you must make sure your excess water does not drain into your neighbors’ yards.
Another factor affecting drainage is the amount of concrete around your house in the form of driveways or patios. Water that hits concrete has got to drain off somewhere, so you need to control that flow. A good solution may be to replace some of that concrete with pavers. Lay drainage pipes underneath the pavers, or install French drains. Always consult with a licensed contractor to make sure your renovations meet codes.
See that your roof is in good shape. An inspection every two to four years is adequate unless there has been severe weather, in which case you should have someone look at it right away. Damaged shingles or missing flashing indicates the need for repairs. Go up to the attic during the day to look for spots of daylight coming through the roof. Water spots on room ceilings or walls call for an immediate roof inspection.
Finally, see that your home is equipped with gutters and downspouts. Not only do they safely channel excess rainwater, they protect landscaping and add aesthetic appeal.
Now let’s look at how to head off interior water damage.
1. Monitor water use. This sounds elementary until you realize that a significant amount of water damage is caused by overflowing tubs, toilets and sinks. Make sure that sinks are equipped with overflow drains. Always supervise children in the bathroom and kitchen.
2. Fix malfunctioning appliances immediately. A constantly running toilet is a disaster waiting to happen, and when it finally gives, it will do so in the middle of the night. Water heaters that are 10 years old or older should be replaced. Not only will you head off a sudden 50 gallon deluge, you will enjoy the savings of new energy efficient models. Inspect your dishwasher door’s seals or gaskets, and replace them if they are hard or cracked. Periodically check your washing machine’s drain hose to see that it is clear and uncrimped to the stand pipe (you’d be surprised what sometimes happens to those missing socks).
3. Dehumidify wet basements. Control minor seeping with an oil-based masonry waterproofing paint. Major seeping problems may have to be addressed with a French drain or other pressure relief systems. Get expert advice on this.
4. If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, protect your pipes by covering exterior spigots and allowing interior faucets to drip during cold spells.
5. Know where your home’s water shutoff valve is located and how to operate it. Should you experience sudden flooding from a water supply line failure, shutting off the water quickly will mitigate damage.
Contact any one of our insurance agents, they will be glad to help.