You can't hope to prevent water damage in your home or office unless you first know about the causes. Some are obvious, while other causes are hidden, and difficult to detect with simple inspections performed by homeowners. Many are unpredictable, and the best way to prevent them is by repeated maintenance.
- Old plumbing equipment (hot water heaters, for example) can develop failures in joints or hose connections.
- Plumbing lines (pipes) can do this as well. If the pipe is behind a wall, it's particularly hard to find, and could cause serious damage. Other pipes may become blocked.
- Toilets and drains (especially kitchen drains) are commonly blocked by material that is too big for the line. Sewer drain lines sometimes get blocked by roots. You have to call a rooter service to unblock the lines. Periodically pouring Drain-o, or similar product, down the drains will help to keep the traps clear.
- In seasonal homes, if water pipes that run through exterior walls are not properly drained, they will freeze in winter, and then cause water damage when the water is turned back on in the spring.
- An obvious cause of water damage is the weather. Summer storms, floods, and similar disasters (like hurricanes) are notorious creators of major water damage.
- Not maintaining your air conditioning system leads to water issues. Moist cooling ducts drip condensation, promoting mold and other water-borne bacteria. If this is happening in your basement, open windows or doors periodically to get fresh air through the space. Also put a dehumidifier to work - set it at 45 to 50.
- Appliance hoses can crack after a while. Check those on your washing machine and dishwasher. Seals also deteriorate around the doors. And in some cases, the housing of the appliance can crack due to many years of vibrations. This will start as a small leak, and grow. So look for it often and catch it early.
- Lastly, your concrete basement walls can allow seepage from outside storm water or rising water tables. Those walls can also cause condensation because there is moisture in the concrete, or if humidity comes in contact with cold concrete. There should be a vapor barrier or waterproofing material applied to the interior surface of the wall to prevent this from happening.
A good understanding of the subject will not only provide you with ways to prevent water damage, but also will help you keep your house in good shape. This will both save you money and preserve the value of your home.