Wow! It’s Wet In Here! How To Avoid Costly Water Damage Claims

Water Damage Infographic


Water damage claims are messy and a hassle to deal with. The best way to avoid them is to understand where the high risk areas of your plumbing are and to implement maintenance and preventative care. The Institute for Business & Home Safety identified 9 of the biggest plumbing risks in a survey of home water damage claims and offers several tips for keeping them from becoming water damage nightmares.

  1. Homes 30 years old were three times as likely to have a plumbing or drainage problem.
    • Insulate basement and attic pipes and any outdoor faucets during freezing weather.
    • Unexpected spikes in your water bill, slightly rust colored water, and frequent sink or toilet backups are sure signs that something is wrong with your plumbing system.
  2. 73% of losses involving an icemaker were caused by the failure of the supply line hose. 10% of incidents involved new refrigerators and were linked to improper installation.
    • Make sure the inlet hose for your ice maker is tightly attached, but not over-tightened.
    • Inspect the inlet hose every 6 months to ensure it is not crimped or loose.
  3. Roof leaks are the most frequent source of water damage. These are most common in areas where freezing weather and severe wind and hail are more frequent.
    • Professional roof inspections should be performed annually, especially for older roofs or after a particularly sever storm.
    • Loose or cracked shingles, deteriorated flashing, and pooling water are all sure signs that your roof needs an overhaul.
  4. Water damage from a sink averaged more than $7,000 per incident. Of these incidents, 44% were due to faulty plumbing supply lines.
    • Inspect the pipes under your sink every 6 months.
    • Check for any damp spots or loose connections as these can be indicators of an impending pipe failure.
  5. Homes more tan 20 years old were 37% more likely to have water damage involving a shower. More than half of the shower stall water damage incidents involved a faulty shower pan.
    • Watch for small cracks developing in the tub basin, tiles, and grouting.
    • Every 6 months, fill the basin with an inch of water and block the drain. Leave the water sitting for 8 hours and recheck that the water level has not changed.
  6. Power outages were the cause of 18% of water damage incidents involving a sump pump. Another 40% of incidents were attributed to things such as a clogged inlet screen or a faulty float switch.
    • Check your sump pump (if applicable) every few months. Clear any debris at the inlet and test the float valve to make sure it triggers the pump to work.
    • Installing a battery backup system for your pump is an important aspect of your sump pump system, make sure the batteries are replaced periodically.
  7. Water damage from toilets cost $2,000 to $10,000 per incident. 78% of incidents were caused by faulty supply lines, toilet flanges, fill valve assemblies, or toilets that backed up and overflowed.
    • If you notice the basin refilling when the toilet is not in use, check that the shut off float is connected properly. And that the stopper is making a complete seal.
    • Periodically inspect the water supply line and connector to the toilet to make sure they are not corroding or loose.
  8. A burst water supply line caused half of all water damage incidents involving washing machines. On average, these incidents caused more than $6,000 in damage per incident.
    • Never operate your washing machine when you are not at home or are unable to turn off the water supply if something goes wrong.
    • Replace your washing machine hoses every 5 years or is any cracks, blisters, or kinks are present.
  9. The chance that a water heater will leak or burst begins to dramatically increase when it is 5 years old. 75% of water heaters fail before they are 12 years old.
    • Have a professional inspect your water heater’s anode rod annually after the first few years. This rod will eventually corrode and lead to problems.
    • Flush the tank for sediment removal every 6 months, especially if you get your water from a well or groundwater source since more minerals will be present.

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