Leaks & "wet area" water damage (and what YOU can do to prevent these issues)
Leaks and long-term water damage, frequently found in bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, are one of the most common call outs we get, and unfortunately by the time we arrive, most of the damage has already been done.
Job requests to seal up a bathtub or replace cracked tiles come through every week, however in nearly all of the cases we find that these issues are only the symptoms of serious water damage that has occurred throughout the subfloor and the walls, and our clients are left facing a hefty repair bill.
As home-owners or as property managers, there are a lot of proactive practices you can put into place to catch these issues at the earliest stage.
To understand how to prevent leaks and water damage, we need to understand how they occur:
1 - Holes in the roofing - An obvious one, but common nonetheless
Unfortunately, holes can form in roofing and in turn lead to water damage, in numerous ways.
Deteriorated, missing, or damaged roofing materials can allow water to enter through the roof and damage ceilings, walls, and floors inside your home. Inadequate roof space, insulation and ventilation can also significantly speed up a roof's decay. Exposure to wind, ice, rain, and foot traffic can also affect a roof's ability to keep water out. Other roof debris such as leaves, branches, and moss can also prevent water from properly flowing or draining off a roof.
2 - Household appliances (washing machines/dishwashers/air conditioning units:
Common sources for water damage inside the home include:
The water heater, washing machine dishwashers, refrigerators, and air conditioning units.
The age of an appliance is a major factor and over time, appliances that produce condensation often rust, increasing the chances of a leak.
Water supply hoses on washing machines and dishwashers may also develop leaks where hundreds of litres of water can escape, resulting in significant damage inside the property.
3 - Leaky pipes (walls/ceilings/subfloors)
Plumbing systems are susceptible to clogs and stoppages, which can lead to overflowing appliances such as toilets, sinks, and washing machines. Grease build-up in kitchen sinks and roots in sewer lines are some of the reasons for clogs and stoppages. In the winter, pipes can freeze, burst, and damage the building and the occupants' personal property. A small crack in a pipe can release up to 950 litres of water a day.
How YOU can take steps to prevent leaks & water damage within your homes/business:
Make sure hose connections are secure on water supply lines to washing machines, ice-makers, dishwashers, and other appliances that use water. Re-silicon and re-grout around sinks, showers, and tubs when you notice it becoming worn or loose. Repair leaking shower pans and loose or missing tiles as soon as they are recognised. Check and replace washing machine hoses every 3-5 years as part of a proactive maintenance program. Sooner if there are signs of cracking, bulging, or other deterioration. Consider replacing traditional reinforced rubber hoses with stainless steel braided hoses, for increased durability and longevity. For additional peace of mind, consider a stainless steel braided hose with a built-in auto-shutoff mechanism. Follow the recommended maintenance procedures for all appliances and equipment. This includes periodically draining a portion of the water out of the water heater to flush out the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Be sure to follow all the manufacturer's instructions. Tankless water heaters also need regular maintenance and servicing as well as water softener and water filtering systems. Regular maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor will help keep air conditioner drain lines clear of deposits that can clog the line. Regularly open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
Hire a professional roofing contractor to repair deteriorated or damaged roofing materials promptly Regularly clean gutters, eaves, and downpipes to keep them free of debris Downpipes should extend away from the building to carry water away from the foundation. Adding insulation and ventilation in the roof-space can extend the life of the roof and reduce the chance of water moving back up under roofing. The insulation should be in good shape, and checked regularly, and vents clear.
Most insulation materials can last more than 50 years, as long as they are installed and maintained well, but their thickness and material type can impact their effectiveness Adding or replacing insulation may be needed to be more efficient, especially in colder climates.
Improper installation, moisture, UV rays, and disturbance can all negatively impact the effectiveness of insulation.
If you're ever in need of advice with regards to your property maintenance, and what you should be doing to prevent issues from arising, we offer planned custom maintenance schedules for your commercial and residential properties, and we'd love to help out.
Get in touch today