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One of the greatest threats to your home is water damage, and we’re not talking about that massive flood of the century that created an indoor swimming pool in your neighbor’s basement.
We’re talking about non-weather related water damage that stems from leaks in toilets, sprinklers, water heating and HVAC systems, and roofs. Unfortunately, the average cost of water leak damage is more than $55,000. (Hence, the title of this blog.)
Before you think, “Doesn’t my homeowners insurance cover water damage?” most of the time it does – unless the damage comes from lack of home maintenance, back-ups in the sewer, from storms, etc. Even though homeowner insurance does cover “sudden and accidental” water damage, you still might need to shell out more money than you think for water damage cleanup.
Moreover, the damage extends beyond the costs.
According to Paul Chadowksi, vipHomeLink’s VP of Ecosystems and an insurance specialist for more than 26 years, “I’ve talked to my clients, and even if there’s coverage, you don’t want that to happen. There are some irreplaceable things that can be damaged beyond replacement. You just want to avoid it.”
The best thing you can do for your home, your possessions, and your wallet is to learn how to prevent water damage in your home, which is surprisingly easy to do. Here’s how.
#1 – Keep up with home maintenance
Sometimes, you have to sweat the small stuff. If you have a leak in your faucet or toilet, take care of it immediately, rather than letting it create more damage. Fixing a smaller issue will prevent a larger problem from occurring.
Also, be proactive about the more costly parts of your home to prevent the different types of water damage.
- Inspect your roof safely twice a year. If you see any loose or missing shingles, call your roofing professional.
- Clean your gutters twice a year – at the end of summer and fall – to help stop ice dams from forming.
- Service your HVAC in the spring and fall (or call a professional to do so).
- Have a licensed plumber complete a yearly inspection of your plumbing system, to make sure you don’t have a leak or a broken pipe you weren’t aware of.
- Check your hoses on your washing machine, dishwasher, etc. for any potential tears, and don’t underestimate the protective power of the braided metal hose. If you don’t have them on your appliances, install them now.
- Drain your water heater twice a year to stop sentiment buildup.
The vipHomeLink home management app can help you complete these tasks with personalized reminders sent straight to your phone. We’ll help you to remember what to do and when to do it, so you don’t come home to a new indoor swimming pool.
#2 – Install a smart home water device
Your doorbell is now “smart.” Why shouldn’t your water appliances up their IQ? We recently welcomed Jason Rosenthal of Phyn, a leak detection and auto water shut-off solution, to the vipHome Podcast to talk about next-gen water monitoring solutions.
“We see on the East Coast, for instance, people are living in very old homes with very old plumbing,” says Jason. “They’re at risk for leaks.”
Phyn’s Smart Water Assistant attaches to the pipes under your sink and monitors the pressure in your water. If it notices an issue, it’ll send a notification to your phone.
Phyn’s Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff takes prevention one step further. Attached to your water main, this device will shut off your water if you don’t respond to an alert in a certain amount of time.
“It’s really good for people that have second homes or a rental property, and they’re not there all the time,” says Jason. “They can turn on this auto shutoff feature app and never have to worry about coming home to a foot of water.”
Smart water leak detectors like Phyn’s Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff can lead to discounts in your homeowners insurance.
Adds Paul from vipHomeLink, “Every carrier will recommend ways of preventing loss. Some of them will go as far as offer a discount because a lot of them are seeing over time, they’re paying less on claims and should be rewarding homeowners for the right behavior.”
Learn more about insurance and water damage from Paul in this recent episode of the vipHome Podcast.
Learn more about smart water saving devices in “The ultimate way to prevent catastrophic water damage while you’re on winter vacay.”
#3 – Get to know your home
The more you know about your home, the quicker you’ll notice a problem with it. If your water pressure drops or if your water bill suddenly increases – that’s your home telling you there’s an issue. If a water leak does occur, you can stop the water from spilling into other areas of your home by knowing where the shut off valves are.
You need to re-caulk your bathroom about every five years. The same goes for braided metal hoses on your washing machine, which need to be replaced every eight or nine years.
Instead of waiting for a leak to occur, you can prevent one or stop one immediately after it begins by upping your home knowledge.
We’ll help you keep your head above water
vipHomeLink knows how hard it is to manage your home. Who remembers how long ago they installed a braided metal hose, and do you know when was the last time you drained your hot water heater?
Instead of wondering, the vipHomeLink home management app gives you a place to store all your home’s information, so you can keep up to date with home maintenance. Our expert-backed vipTIPS also give you the home knowledge you need, including how to prevent water damage in your home. Once you start taking care of your home, your Home Fitness Index will help you keep track of your home’s health.
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