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Tips to prevent water damage

If you have an appliance or fixture that involves water, it has the potential to cause water damage to your property. These include:

 

  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Fridges
  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Toilets
  • Hot water systems.

 

It’s important you check all of these appliances and fixtures on a regular basis to help prevent the possibility of water damage.

Check faucets and appliance hoses regularly

Inspect the hoses on washing machines, fridges and dishwashers at least once a year and keep a look out for cracks or water leaks.

Showers and baths

Ensure that the caulking around the shower and bathtub is watertight – if you see any cracks, replace it (this is a relatively easy and cheap project you can likely do yourself).

Put floor pans under appliances

Putting a floor pan under your washing machine or fridge won’t stop a major sudden leak, but can go a long way to preventing damage from slow undetected leaks.

Check the structure of your home

If your home isn’t watertight, it could run the risk of experiencing significant water damage, either because of a sudden severe weather event such as heavy rain, or possibly, slowly over time as a result of leaks or blockages. The following steps can help you keep on top of potential damage to your home.

Take a look at your roof

Roof leaks can cause significant damage – far more than just water stains on your ceiling.

 

  • If your roof hasn’t been checked in a while, have a licenced roofing professional undertake a thorough inspection
  • Check gutters and drains for any cracks or blockages
  • Remove any debris such as built-up leaves from gutters and downspouts
  • If your home has a chimney (whether you use it or not), have it checked to see whether water could seep in such as through cracks in the bricks.

 

If you discover any damage to your roof, it’s vital you get it seen to as soon as possible. This includes:

 

  • Replacing any missing or cracked tiles
  • Trimming any tree branches that could graze against the roof (creating the potential for further damage)
  • Replacing any cracked or loose drains and downpipes.
  • Checking for rust around any skylights
  • Undertaking repair of a leaking tile or ridge capping.

 

Your Building and Contents insurance may not cover you for water damage in all instances such as if you have failed to reasonably maintain your roof.   You should check your policy to see what is and isn’t covered. By addressing minor problems before they escalate, you’ll maximise the roof life as well as potentially minimising headaches and expense.

Walls, windows and foundations

If there is a way for water to get in, chances are it’ll happen. That’s why it’s important you inspect every exterior part of your home:

 

  • Check for cracks and leaks around windows and doors and seal as required
  • Check exterior walls, joints and foundations and seal as required
  • Check for any leaky plumbing, such as dripping pipes and taps and get these seen to as required.

 

You should also look out for any water that has pooled around your home, such as puddles on patios and terraces that don’t drain in a hurry. This could be because of blocked drains or other similar causes, so get it inspected by a licenced professional.

What about after a flood or other sudden event?

Unfortunately, even with the best preparation, catastrophic events can’t be prevented. If you’ve been adversely affected by flooding, storms or heavy rains (to name just a few possible scenarios), take whatever action is necessary to stop further damage, if it’s safe to do so. This could include covering up a damaged roof with a tarpaulin, or boarding up or covering broken windows with plastic sheeting.