Preventing Water Damage In The Home

Sometimes, in the event of a flood or burst pipe, water damage is unavoidable. However, many homeowners have water damage simply because they don't take the necessary preventative measures to keep their home safe from common moisture threats. You can safeguard your family against the health problems and inconvenience caused by water damage by taking the following precautions.

1. Properly vent the bathroom.

Many people, especially those in older homes or homes that were not renovated properly, don't think much about the moisture in the bathroom that builds up during a steamy shower. Modern homes have vents in the ceiling to direct moisture outside, but older homes may simply have a window. If you don't have a vent in your bathroom to draw the moisture out, you should ALWAYS leave the window open when you're in the shower-- even during the winter months. The heat and humidity from the warm water allows mold to grow behind the tiles and walls of your shower, and it will spread quickly if the room does not ever dry thoroughly. If you are tired of leaving the window open, it's time to contact a contractor about installing a modern ventilation system.

2. Reduce humidity in key areas.

You probably don't think that steam from cooking or from washing your dishes in the dishwasher has enough of an impact to cause damage to your house, but there you would be wrong. It's important to turn on fans in the kitchen and in the laundry room whenever water is being used (or evaporated, in the case of a dryer). Steam from boiling water will condense on the cabinets, eventually marring the finish and starting mildew growth. The walls behind a dryer or dishwasher can start to mold if the moisture is not directed away from the house properly. 

If it is excessively humid in the area where you live, fans may not be enough. You might also need to install a dehumidifier to help control moisture levels in the home. 

3. Notice leaks and take them seriously. 

A little water pooling from underneath your dishwasher or outside the shower enclosure may not concern you much, but it should. Leaks that can be seen are usually signs that there are more serious leaks going on behind the scenes. If your shower, pipes, or appliances are leaking water, and you can see the water, you should always assume that there is more water seeping in places that you won't see.

4. Clean and repair gutters.

Another source of water damage comes from rain and snow that starts to affect your roof and foundation because gutters and drains are clogged or damaged. When gutters are not working properly, water can pool up underneath the edge of the roof, rotting the wooden surface that is usually protected by shingles. This type of water damage can be hard to spot at first, because the rot may not be immediately visible and will have time to spread, leading to costly repairs.

Gutters also help to direct water away from the house. If rainwater is simply allowed to pour off of the roof without being directed away, it seeps into the ground and can lead to basement flooding, especially if the basement does not have extensive waterproofing or if basement windows are not installed with good drainage. 

Moisture control trouble in the home is usually the main reason for mold growth and other consequences of slow-acting water damage, including structural damage and illness. If homeowners take the steps to make sure the home stays clean and dry, the changes of needed water damage remediation will be reduced.