The most damaging substance to buildings of all types is WATER. Whether it’s from rain or your plumbing system, water getting into the wrong places can cause havoc, and quickly.
Today we’ll discuss how your plumbing system can be your biggest enemy. Awhile back I asked my insurance agent what the 3 biggest water claims were for. His answer: leaking shower stalls, burst washing machine hoses and leaking icemaker valves/water line. I’d bet money that leaking water heaters is #4 !
It’s easy to avoid all 3 but few people ever take the time. Leaking shower stalls have become less of a problem because since about 1990, builders have been installing 1 piece molded plastic or vinyl shower pans instead of having them site built and tiled over. The majority of these which were going to leak, have, and been replaced.
Most people never replace their washing machine hoses for the life of the machine which could easily be 20 years. More and more homes have high water pressure (80-100psi) these days which causes premature hose failure, especially on the HOT water hose. I recommend the stainless steel ones over the basic black rubber type.
More and more people are putting wood type floors in their kitchen. If the icemaker or dishwasher starts seeping water, they won’t know till the floors start to buckle ! (the water will get UNDER the floor before you see it on top…). Now, the house will have a WATER claim on it which may cause problems when you sell. Do what I did, put a water sensor ($12 at Lowes plumbing dept.) behind the fridge and under the dishwasher which will beep when it gets damp. I also put one of these in the drainpan of my attic mounted water heater and a/c for the same reason.
Speaking of water heaters, most people wait till theirs fails before replacing it. This is dumb. Once it fails, you’re not only out of hot water for at least 24 hours (ever try to get a plumber out same day?) but now you have water damage and possibly a LOT of it, even if your tank is in the garage. My advice is to replace it if it’s at least 15 yrs. old.
Finally, let’s not forget about the /c, which produces lots of water every day. Units which are in the attic always have a backup drain or automatic shutoff switch to protect against an overflow. Units in closets rarely do unless they’re relatively new. Do yourself a favor, pay your a/c man $100 to install a float switch in the drainline. Then, if it gets clogged, the switch will shut the equipment off. You’ll come home to a hot house but not one with wet floors or water dripping out of the ceiling.
Now, go out and do the right thing !!!