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Protect Your Home From Water Damage
Water damage in or to your home not only can destroy your property and your memories, it can cost you a bundle in the process. According to the AIG Private Client Group, one of the insurers with which The Bensman Group works, water damage is a factor in more than 40 percent of the claims filed by its homeowner's policyholders. AIG suggests some things you can do to prevent or minimize the five leading sources of interior water damage:
Plumbing supply systems. Problems with the lines that bring water into your home and the drains that take it out of your home are more likely the older your home is. If your monthly water bill increases significantly without any obvious explanation or if you see rust stains, moisture on the walls or floors, or signs of erosion near your foundation, you should have a professional check for problems.
During cold weather, make sure that your thermostat is set at 60 degrees or higher. You also can insulate pipes and, if it gets bitterly cold, leave a faucet dripping in the highest level of your house.
It also is possible to install a whole-house leak-detection system or shut-off system for further protection.
Water heaters. More than 75 percent of water heaters fail before they are 12 years old, so check the age and warranty of your water heater and consider replacement if it is old. Maintaining your water heater properly -– including flushing sediment and inspecting the anode rod, which protects the water heater against corrosion -– can extend its life expectancy.
You also should check valves to make sure they are operating properly, and use ball valves rather than gate valves where possible.
Washing machines. Don’t overload your machine, and don’t run the washing machine when no one is home.
Check the hoses for cracks or other signs of wear at least once every six months. Replace them at least every five years; it is best to use braided stainless steel hoses.
If you are going to be gone for an extended period -– such as on a trip -– turn off the hot and cold water supply to your machine.
Toilets. Most toilet-related water damage is caused by faulty supply lines, toilet flanges, fill valve assemblies or clogs. When you flush, wait for the tank and bowl to fill to ensure that there will be no overflow. If it looks like the bowl is going to overflow, turn off the water to the toilet immediately.
Replace the fill valve assembly if your toilet is running constantly or intermittently. And consider replacing your toilet supply lines with braided steel hose.
Sinks. Check under your sink at least once every six months for dampness or signs of corrosion that could be evidence of a leak in the supply line. Look for kinks in copper or plastic lines, and make sure that the shut-off valve works.
Note: If you are uncertain about how to perform any of the maintenance suggested here, you can call a professional. Or you can check for an online source, such as YouTube, that provides step-by-step instructions for doing it yourself.
At The Bensman Group, we are happy to offer you suggestions on how to avoid home losses. We also can help you make sure you have sufficient protection against any losses that do occur. You can contact us at 847-572-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.