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How to prevent water damage

Water damage caused by flooding, sewer backup, defective plumbing or water heaters beyond repair is becoming an increasingly common occurrence that has led to an increase in home insurance claims, says the Chambre de l'assurance de dommages (ChAD). Here’s a list of what you can do to prevent these problems.

Locate your water intake

Go round your home to locate the water intake and then tell your housemates where it is. If a leak occurs, everyone in the household will be able to shut off the main line.

Keep an eye on your appliances

You should never leave your washing machine or dishwasher in operation while you're out because leaks can happen at any time. To prevent water leakage from your appliances, check the condition of your hoses. These should be replaced every 10 years and even sooner if you see signs of wear and tear like blistering, cracking or corrosion. Install steel-braid hoses that are stronger than rubber ones.

Replace your water heater  

Water heaters have an approximate 10-year lifespan, the same as the hoses in your appliances. If you’ve had your water heater for more than 10 years, keep an eye on it. You could be in for a nasty surprise like high condensation, a flooded basement, a warped floor, or even mold problems.

Clean your eavestroughs

In the fall, take the time to look after your eavestroughs. Samaras (helicopters) and dead leaves can build up and clog them. Rainwater will then seep into the foundation walls, rather than drain away. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Bleed your outdoor taps

After cleaning out your gutters when the weather starts to turn cold, drain the pipes to your outdoor taps to prevent them from freezing and bursting. First, turn off the indoor water valves. Then open the valves that control the water supply outside. Once all the water has drained, turn off the outside taps. Also, make sure to drain your garden hoses before storing them, otherwise any water left inside can damage them. 

Take precautions when you go away

If you leave your home during the winter for a few days and turn down the heat, be sure to turn off the water intakes and drain the plumbing pipes. This will prevent iced-up pipes from bursting. Also, ask a trusted friend or family member to check your home while you’re away to make sure the inside temperature is high enough.

Check your roof

Winters are never the same from year to year. However, you can be sure there’ll be lots of rain, snow and freezing rain. If these three types of precipitation are intense, keep an eye on your roof, especially if it’s flat. Cracks can form and let water in, and even cause the roof to collapse.

Look after your trees

If you like to have large trees on your property, try to plant them far from underground pipes or the drainage system. Otherwise, the roots can wrap around the pipes and damage them as well as the foundation drain and the septic tank. Think about this when you’re landscaping the yard!

Check the condition of your plumbing

If you notice that your home has high humidity levels, mold stains and even water infiltration, call a plumber. They will verify the condition of your foundation drain, sump pump, sump pit and check valve.

Install water detectors

As the ultimate solution to prevent water damage, install water detectors in strategic locations such as close to your appliances, toilets, water heater and sump pump. These devices detect water leaks and, depending on their technology, sound an alarm, trigger a strobe light or send an alert to your phone. Smart systems can even shut off the water supply.

If, despite all these precautions, you still suffer water damage and are covered by your insurance policy, you can file a claim 24/7 online, by calling 1-866-464-2424 or through your insurance representative..

This website provides general information only. Your insurance policy contract takes precedence at all times.

To get the right home insurance coverage for your needs, get a quote or contact your insurance representative.

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