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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Top 5 Causes of Home Water Damage

9/26/2016 (Permalink)

Water damage is one of the worst fears for a homeowner. Just a little bit of water can create a significant amount of damage to your home. Whether a leak or some other problem, it is important to have any amount of water damage cleaned up as soon as possible as irreparable damage can occur within 48 hours of the initial incident.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) conducted a study using insurance claims to identify what the leading causes of water damage were. These are the top five causes of water damage and what you can do to avoid such a fate.

Plumbing Supply

A failure to your plumbing supply system has the ability to cost you about $5,000 after your insurance deductible. Indicators of such a problem include an increase in your monthly water bill, banging pipes, rust stains, moisture in the walls or the floors, and signs of wet soil erosion near the foundation. You can take steps to avoid such a problem by ensuring that your pipes will not freeze during the cold winter months. To keep your pipes from freezing in the cold, set your thermostat at 60 degrees, let your faucets drip to get the water out of your pipes, and insulate your pipes to keep them warm. Additionally, you can install a house leak detection system that will alert you should there be a leak in your home.


One of the most common sources of water damage is a toilet failure and one-third of toilet failures are caused by overflowing or a clogged toilet. After taking out the deductible, water damage due to toilet failure typically cost more than $5,500. To avoid a toilet failure in your home, wait until the valve has finished refilling the tank and bowl after flushing. If it looks as though an overflow might be coming, turn off the supply valve to avoid the water spilling out. Another way to prevent toilet failure is to inspect your toilet’s components twice a year. This inspection should include the supply valve, the flush valve, and the supply line. While you’re at it, you might want to consider upgrading your toilet’s supply line to a sturdier braided steel hose.

Water Heater

Most water heater failures are caused by a slow leak or a sudden burst in the tank. The next common cause of water heater failures is due to the supply line. Checking the life expectancy and warranty for your water heater will tell you whether or not you need to replace your water heater. To increase the life expectancy and delay replacing your water heater, perform proper maintenance. This includes flushing sediments and inspecting your heater’s anode rod. Inspecting the water heater’s valves will ensure that they are all in proper working order. Whenever possible, you should use ball valves instead of gate valves which will improve its working condition.

Plumbing Drain

Sewer backups are at fault for more than half of plumbing system failures with the majority of these issues occurring in the southern states. Problems with the plumbing drain system run at an average cost of $4,000 per incident after the insurance deductible. With that type of cost per incident, homeowners will want to do what they can to prevent such an event. The easiest way to prevent these problems is by refraining from pouring grease down the drain. Another way you can prevent sewer problems is by installing a backflow prevention assembly for the home’s sewer system if the home’s sewer system is connected to the city’s system. This is generally a problem for older homes. If you are considering planting trees, doing so away from lateral drain lines will ensure that the roots don’t end up damaging any piping.

Washing Machines

Washing machine hose failures are at fault for more than half of claims that the IBHS study recorded. The average cost to the homeowner after their insurance deductible came to $5,300 per incident. The reason why these incidents are so troublesome is that a burst inlet hose can cause an entire laundry room to flood in just a matter of minutes. To avoid this occurring, it’s recommended that you replace the rubber hoses every three years. If you want to go a step further, you can replace the rubber hoses with braided steel hoses. Other tips include turning off the hot and cold water supply valve when you leave the house and not overloading the machine.

Water damage can be a devastating and costly event for a homeowner. These tips will help you avoid the potential troubles that come with water damage. If you do suffer from water damage in your home, call on the professionals at SERVPRO for a quality restoration.

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