Spring has sprung, which means warmer temperatures, the arrival of bluebonnets along Texas highways and … the beginning of the rainy season. April and May are high time for flooding in Texas, and while we can’t stop spring storms, we can take steps to prevent flood damage from other sources in your house.
From the top of your roof to the lowest level of your home, here are six tips to help prevent the most common types of water damage to — or in — your home.
Install and Maintain Gutters
Your roof is a major structure that can collect a massive amount of rainwater. That water needs to be directed away from your home, especially the foundation. A gutter system is a simple yet effective way to channel that unwanted water off the roof and away from your house.
When doing home maintenance, make sure your gutters are clean. A good rule of thumb is to have them cleaned once during spring and once in the fall. Debris, like leaves, can pile up, leading to clogged gutters. Overflowing gutters increase the risk of rainwater entering your home and causing mold growth.
Clogged gutters can also warp and sag. Outfit your gutters with gutter guards. You’ll be able to dedicate less time to clean out your gutters, which also means less time on a ladder — a major falling hazard.
Learn More: Tips to Prevent Water Damage to Home Exteriors
When gutters and gutter guards work properly, they can keep water from:
- collecting at your home’s foundation
- causing damage to siding
- causing damage to the roof
- leading to landscaping damaging
Rainwater can damage your home’s foundation and lead to headaches like expensive repairs and mold growth. Install new gutters — or inspect your current ones — before the spring rains hit to ward off a home flood.
Inspect Your Attic
Your attic may be out of sight, but don’t keep it out of mind. Routinely check your attic for any roof leaks or appliance failures, as they can cause extensive water damage and compromise the integrity of your home.
- Make sure that your attic is properly insulated. (Check existing insulation to make sure it’s dry. Replace any wet insulation immediately.)
- Look for discolored wood, indicating water damage.
- Appliances, like HVAC equipment, need to be checked to ensure hoses are in working condition. Make sure connections aren’t loose, as they could leak or raise humidity levels.
- Household appliances should direct air through vents to the outdoors and not into the attic.
Learn More: How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Attic
Prevent Water Damage in Your Bathrooms
Take a quick look around your bathroom to assess messes or potential plumbing problems. Just a few minutes of cleaning and observation could prevent major water damage.
- Make sure showerheads aren’t pointed toward the door or near drywall, allowing water to escape the shower.
- Immediately soak up any puddling water on the floor.
- Don’t allow water from the sink to splash and then sit on top of your countertops.
- Check under the sinks to make sure no pipes are leaking, which could damage your cabinets and also leak to a lower level of your home.
- Make sure overhead fans are working properly to move excess moisture out of your bathroom during a shower or bath.
- Check the base of your toilet for any water, which may mean your toilet’s wax ring needs replacement.
Learn More: 10 Ways to Prevent Water Damage in Your Bathroom
Beware of the Basement
Given the state of Texas soil, few homes in the Houston area have basements. But if your house does, that’s a prime spot for flooding.
- Use waterproof paint and/or caulk to fix small cracks.
- Call in the experts, like a basement waterproofing company, to access larger cracks you may discover.
- Install sump pumps to pump water away from your basement. Routinely test already-installed sump pumps to make sure the pumps are working properly.
Make sure the slope of your property carries water away from your foundation. Are gutters failing and allowing water to creep into your basement? If rainfall causes standing water around or near your foundation, it’s an indicator of a real mess that could occur after a huge rainfall.
Weatherproof the Garage
When water collects around your house, it may also find its way into your garage, damaging tools, household items, and even keepsakes. Keep the floodwaters out by:
- Sealing or patching any minor cracks
- Making sure your gutters aren’t clogged, and that they’re properly diverting water away from the foundation.
- Replacing failing weatherstripping on your garage doors.
- Installing flood vents or French drains to divert water away from your garage door and its foundation.
Learn More: How to Prevent Mold in the Garage
Prevent Appliance Mishaps
Washing machines, refrigerators, and dishwashers use a lot of water, so when a leak occurs, it has the potential to cause extensive damage to your home. Whether the leaks are small and go undetected for a long time, or a dramatic overflow happens, any type of leaking appliance incident could be costly.
- Don’t overload your machine. Only fill your washtub about three-quarters full.
- Don’t use too much detergent, or you could create too many suds.
- Check hoses for damages like kinks, and replace kinked or plastic hoses with durable braided stainless steel.
- Inspect the copper line for your ice maker. Pull your fridge at least four inches from the wall to reduce the risk of the line crimping.
- Inspect and replace faulty supply lines.
- Inspect and replace a faulty or aging hose.
- Clean the drain gate of food particles to reduce clogging.
- Don’t overfill the detergent dispenser.
Keep an eye on all water-related appliances’ hoses and connections. You may be able to spot a problem before it causes home flooding.
By taking the time to look at your home with an eye for prevention, you could save yourself a lot of financial and emotional stress. Flooding from natural disasters can and does happen, but a majority of home flood causes may be avoided with a little time and preparation.