Monday, March 11, 2013
Water Damage in the Summer
Summertime is almost here in Southern California, and we all know what that means: sunny days, ice cream and very hot weather. Of all the times for water damage, you would expect summer to be the rarest time of the year as the soaring temperatures make flooding seem an unlikely prospect. But don't get caught off-guard by the weather! Water damage may not happen from natural disasters as it does in other parts of the country, but that doesn't mean your home is not suspect to flooding when you least expect it.
The most common cause of water damage in the summer months is when families go on vacation. With the entire house empty for days, weeks or even months, any kind of leak will be left unchecked and cause substantial damage by the time it's noticed. It's important to safeguard your home beforehand so that the possibilities of a leak are minimalized or eliminated. Here are a few basic steps you can take for your household:
1. Turn off your water main. When leaving your home for extended periods of time, shutting off your water main will help keep water pressure from building up in your pipes. This can eliminate a lot of the potential causes of a leak, as they tend to develop when a stoppage is in the pipes. Over time, a clogged drain or pipe will lead to pressure causing damage to a weak section of the plumbing system. While this obviously won't fix that potential problem in your pipes, it can help mitigate the damage from a burst pipe as you can address a potential leak as it develops, instead of letting it run for days.
2. Drain the pipes. After shutting off your water main, you can run the faucets in the home to let all of the built-up water out of the pipes. This will further relieve the pipes of pressure. Additionally, if there does happen to be a leaky faucet or fitting, removing the water from the pipes will ensure that the excess moisture doesn't drip and cause problems. Remember that mold can develop very quickly from just a small amount of moisture, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Turn off your water heater. Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, it's a good idea to shut it off during your vacation. Not only does this save energy, it prevents the possibility, however small, of a water heater malfunction. Granted, a water heater bursting doesn't tend to happen very often these days, particularly with proper maintenance. But the power savings alone makes it worthwhile, and as stated before: better safe than sorry.
4. If you plan to be gone for a really long time, such as a month or two, have someone check your home regularly. Leaving for a few days isn't too bad, and a week or two should be fine as long as the above steps are followed. But if you plan to be gone for a while, having someone check up on your property should be a given. Even if you take all the necessary precautions, sometimes an event will occur completely beyond your control and leaving it unattended until you return will just exacerbate the problem. Be sure to leave all necessary contact information, including your own, and your insurance company's, so that if anything does occur you can handle it promptly.
These are just some of the basics of making sure your home is safe from the unexpected. Southern California summers may be hot and dry but that doesn't mean your home will necessarily be the same, so take a little time before you leave and you may be surprised as how long it goes.