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Protecting the Pipes in Your Home: Keeping Water Damage at Bay

Imagine returning from vacation and your home is cold and the carpet is saturated. The kitchen ceiling is in pieces on the counter and floor. The master bathroom laminate floor looks like a roller coaster. Water is pouring from the cracked toilet and mold is on the wall.

Panic sets in: “Where will I sleep; will insurance cover this?”

While insurance generally covers this type of damage, inconvenience is not covered. You are the one displaced, and you will be responsible to hire and oversee contractors.

Water damage can range from a broken pipe discovered immediately to hundreds of thousands of gallons pouring through your house, undetected. The following are preventive measures to help keep water damage at bay:

  • IMPORTANT: Have someone regularly check your house.
  • When leaving for more than a day, turn water off. For city water, flip the valve. Turn off power to a well. Heat can fail. Frozen/broken pipes still run; water left on will cause substantial damage.
  • During winter, turn off supply lines to exterior faucets, including “freeze-less” faucets.
  • When water (inside and out) is turned back on, check whole house for leaks.
  • Change thermostat batteries annually. TIP: Keep track of changes by writing on tape placed inside cover.
  • Keep heating system vent pipes free of snow or ice buildup.
  • Install a device that notifies you of home temperature drops.
  • Install a device that turns off water when there is a detected drop in pressure.
  • Do not set your thermostat below 50 (follow manufacturer recommendations).
  • Do not rely on auto fill programs to ensure adequate LP fuel supply.
  • For extended trips, have plumbing professionally drained, even if sustaining heat in your house.