10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

Household LeaksNobody likes to hear the sound of a leaking faucet,  and USAA recently shared an article detailing the 10 most common leaks and what homeowners can do to address them..

1. Washing Machines

Since the clothes washer is the biggest leak hazard you have to make sure you place it in a room with a floor drain. This helps minimize damage if there is a flood if it is on the top floor near the bedrooms, and floods, everything below it will be soaked and destroyed.

To be extra safe replace old hoses every five years,check the connections every year, and make sure that you know how to shut off the water to the washer.


2. Plumbing Systems

A burst pipe is one of the costliest repairs a homeowner can face. It may run as much as $8,000!  Freezing and high water pressures can shorten the life of these pipes.  To be safe watch for spikes in your water bill, listen for pipes that ping or bang, and make sure your water pressure is 30-40 PSI. Check that your main pipes are buried deep enough that they will not freeze in the winter.Finally make sure that everyone knows where the main water shut off valve is.

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

3. Toilets

Toilets can flood your home 2 ways – a leaky supply line or an overflow. To prevent this check the supply lines yearly and make sure they are secure. If you happen to encounter a clog, lift the tank lid, close the flapper, lift the ball, and then turn off the supply line. This will prevent overflows.


4. Water Heaters

Water heaters, which can hold up to 80 gallons of water, can cause major damage if they are located on a main level and fail. Since they have a lifespan of about 10 years they need to be check and maintained or they may rust and fail.  Make sure you have a floor drain so that if your water heater ruptures you could avoid a major catastrophe.


A water detection device could’ve helped prevent several weeks of personal misery and thousands of dollars in losses for one USAA employee.

5. Drains and Sump Pumps

The worst possible leak is a bakced up sewer drain. Sewage in a home is not only smelly but alos bad for health.  To prevent this messisest of floods have backflow preventers installed by a plumber, keep trees and their roots away from the drainage lines, and avoid pouring grease down the drain.


6. Dishwashers and Refrigerators

Kitchen leaks are actually fairly common but avoidable. Unfortunately these leaks can go on for yeas behind appliances and never be seen until the damage is done.  So check for leaks under appliances from time to time and identify discoloration as an early warning sign. Also be sure the connections are tight and secure when you clean out behind the fridge every year.


7. Sinks, Showers and Bathtubs

Sinks and showers are also common flood risks because we use them every day. Some times we forget to turn them off, and some times we simply splash more than we think. To prevent these from causing damage make sure that the caulk around the sinks and tubs and showers is in good order, and recaulk if necessary. If you replace a sink make sure it has an overflow drain, and of course check the shower pan and under the cabinets from time to time to make sure there is not an active leak.


8. Air-conditioning Systems

If your AC condenser is in the attic then you know that water on the ceiling is a bad sign that there is something wrong with the AC Unit. The condenser coils generate moisture and it should be channeled away by a drain pipe. If that pipe clogs then there is a good chance you will develop a leak. Having your unit serviced by a professional annually will help mitigate this risk.


9. Roof, Siding and Windows

Leaky roof, siding and windows are an absolute nightmare. These leaks can start very small and grow very quickly. Having a water-tight home starts at the top with a well maintained roof, good gutters, and wel caulked windows. Clear debris from the roof and gutters and make sure they drain at least 5 feet away from the foundation. Replace damaged caulk and paint windows to keep them in good order.

10. Downspouts, Spigots and the Foundation

Basement leaks often begin outside the home, not inside. It is critical to care for your outside faucets and spigots to prevent them from freezing and cracking in the winrer. Winterize them in November and open them up again in March. Disconnect and drain those hoses as well. Doing this and routing downspouts away from the home will keep the basement dry.


One Final Tip

The fastest way to stop a leak may be to turn off your home’s water, so do this first. So before an emergency occurs make sure everyone in the family knows where the main water shut of is and how to turn it off., It is typically in the basement on an outside wall in  a closet of cut-out.  Turning off this valve (by turning it clockwise) cuts off the water supply to the entire house.

For more information about home maintenance tips or information about the Cincinnati Real Estate market contact Alison Moss at 513.518.1140