Water damage continues to be the highest source of claims cost to home insurers in Ontario. The more everyone can do to prevent water damage the better. No one wants to deal with a messy water damage claim, and fewer claims means lower home insurance cost for everyone. Please use the following Spring Checklist as a start towards taking steps to preventing a costly water damage claim in your own home.
Outside Your Home
Walk around your home looking for any storm damage. Winter can be hard on roofs, chimneys eaves troughs and downspouts.
Repair any damage that you see, including cracks or storm damage
Check the roof. You don’t need to climb onto it but should be able to see if there are any shingles missing, if the chimney is still in good condition etc.
Check the exterior walls looking for any missing siding, damaged brick or water stains. There are areas that will need attention.
Clean out and repair eaves troughs and downspouts
Ensure downspouts extend from your home by at least six feet or set up a rain barrel to catch water runoff
Repair driveways, walkways, patio deterioration and seal cracks
Paint or stain exterior trim, fences and decks as needed
Find and seal any foundation, crawlspace, or basement cracks, seepage or leaks
Check all the windows paying close attention to the caulking and weather stripping. A tight seal is the first line of defense against water entering into your home.
Wash and repair holes in window and door screens.
Ensure the soil around your home slopes away from the foundation
Inside Your Home
Check the air conditioning. Just as you made sure that your furnace was ready for the winter it’s equally important to make sure that the air conditioning is ready for the summer. Change the filter and check the hoses for any leaks.
Inspect the attic for signs of roof leaks and mold. Mold will often look like gray or black blotches or staining.
Inspect the washing machine and dishwasher hoses and clean the filters
Check the basement walls for any dampness and cracks.
Check the float of your sump pump to ensure it’s clean and moving freely by slowly pouring water into the sump tank
Check that the battery of your sump pump is in good condition by running the sump pump a second time with the power off
Leaks. It’s a good time to check for any leaky faucets through the house. Check under the bathroom and kitchen sinks to make sure that they are properly sealed and that there are no signs of leakage.
WHAT CAUSES WATER DAMAGE?
Weather generated water, such as rain, melting snow or ice, that seeps through walls and around openings.
Poor maintenance or failure of water-proofing of external walls.
Snow build up on roofs and poor attic insulation may lead to ice damming and leakage of water into attics and along walls all the way into basements.
Freezing temperature in unheated spaces or loss of heat can cause water pipes to freeze, rupture and leak when temperature rises.
Weight of snow and ice build up can lead to collapse of roofs
Assess glazing, weather-stripping, door and window seals, and other exterior elements for damage.
Look for water stains around windows and doors, and repair or replace weather barriers, if necessary. This crucial point of water access is often poorly installed during home construction.
Repair or replace caulking around windows and doors to make water-tight.
Check that exterior siding is not missing screws, which can create openings for water.
Keep any source of water, such as snow, away from your home’s exterior walls.
Shut off exterior water faucets during the winter to prevent it from freezing.
Hire a professional to remove accumulated snow on roof.
Ensure proper insulation and ventilation of attic (this is the most effective way to prevent ice damming – if the roof is kept cold, snow will not melt and re-freeze).