Water Damage and Flooding Prevention
- Make sure gutters and downspouts stay clear by checking them regularly and removing any blockages.
- Anchor any fuel tanks.
- Install backflow valves or standpipes to prevent sewer lines from backing up.
- Elevate your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace, and electrical wiring on concrete blocks. If you’re unable to raise an item, anchor it and protect it with a floodwall or shield.
- Install a sump pump system if you have below-grade floors.
- Landscape with plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion.
- Store irreplaceable family items and important documents in elevated areas of your home, avoiding the basement.
- Install a flood-detection device, usually in your basement, that sounds an alarm when it senses water.
- Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
When water freezes, it expands. If ice forms in your water pipes, it can shatter pipe seals or the pipes themselves, sending water pouring through your home or business. If overnight temperatures outdoors drop below freezing, unprotected pipes can burst. To prevent that from happening, UDK suggests the following to prevent water damage:
- Insulate pipes in basements, crawl spaces and the attic where the temperatures might drop below freezing.
- Seal any openings that allow cold air inside – like those around dryer vents, electrical wiring or pipes.
- In areas of potential freezing, have the water drip into the sink to keep the flow moving.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks and closets where pipes are located to let in the heat.
- Keep doors ajar between heated and unheated rooms.
- Make sure water has been turned off and drained from the swamp cooler, and winterize it.
- Disconnect all hoses from outside faucets. Cover outside faucets connected to the house.
- Know where to turn off water to the house. Show everyone in the house where it is located and how to shut it off.
- If the house will be unheated for a period of time, turn off water at the meter and open all faucets to drain pipes. Flush all toilets and add antifreeze to toilet tanks.
- If on vacation, keep heat in your home no lower than 55 degrees and have someone check in daily.
Ice Damming Prevention
During the winter, UDK sees damage to homes and businesses caused by ice dams on rooftops. Ice dams occur when heavy snow buildup melts during the day and then refreezes when temperatures drop overnight. It is common for the melted water and ice to work its way under the shingles until the water eventually enters the attic, causing damage to the ceilings, walls, and furnishings.
- Make sure soffits and attic spaces are properly insulated and vented.
- Inspect gutters and downspouts; clean them out so water can run unimpeded.
- Use electric de-icing cables on the roof to keep ice from forming.
- Install de-icing cables in gutters and downspouts.
- Call an electrical contractor for information on de-icing systems and proper installation.
Once Ice Dams have occurred, combatting the destructive effects becomes more difficult. For help removing ice dams and restoring any damage they might have caused, call a water damage restoration company, like UDK. In the meantime:
- Never use an axe or shovel to remove ice. You could cause damage to your roof.
- Avoid climbing on the roof to prevent accidental injury.
Hopefully, you never fall victim to a flooded basement. However, it is one of the more common property damages we deal with in Utah. Many things can lead to a flooded basement, here are a few of the most common causes:
- Rain Fall
- Snow Melt
- Leaky Pipe
- Burst Pipe
- Bathroom Leaks
- Improper Drainage or Grading
- Sump Pump Backup or Failure
For more detailed information regarding safety planning and flood safety, visit www.ready.gov/floods.