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Quick Tips for Preventing Water Damage


Risk Factors: Water damage from toilets costs $2,000 to $10,000 per incident. 78% of incidents were caused by faulty supply lines, toilet flanges, fill valve assemblies or toilets that backed up and overflowed.
Loss Prevention and Maintenance Tips

  • After flushing, remain in or near the bathroom until the fill valve has finished refilling the bowl.
  • If the bowl or tank begins to overflow, turn off the water at the supply valve.
  • Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the toilet every six months.
  • The fill valve should shut off when the float reaches the proper water level.
  • Replace the flapper or fill valve assembly if you notice intermittent or constant tank refilling when the toilet is not in use.
  • Inspect the supply line every six months.
  • Ensure the connection to the valve is secure.
  • Operate the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off. Replace if needed.

Washing Machines

Study Facts: A burst water supply line caused half of all water damage incidents involving washing machines. On average, these incidents caused more than $6,000 in damage.
Loss Prevention and Maintenance Tips

  • Turn supply valves off when not in use.
  • Consider installing a lever-type valve that is easy to operate between uses.
  • Do not operate the washing machine while the home is unoccupied.
  • Leave a 3- to 4-inch gap between the back of the washing machine and the wall to avoid kinking the hose near the valve connection.
  • Inspect the water supply line hoses every six months.
  • Ensure that the connection to the valve is se¬cure, but avoid over-tightening. Hand tighten first. Then tighten an additional 2/3 of a turn using pliers.
  • Check the hoses for cracks, kinks or blisters, which are most commonly found near the hose connection. Washing machine manufacturers recommend replacing washing machine hoses every five years. Consider reinforced braided stainless steel hoses.

 Water Heaters

Study Facts: The chance a water heater will leak or burst begins to dramatically increase when it is 5 years old. Three-quarters of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years old.
Loss Prevention and Maintenance Tips

  • Have a professional plumbing inspection of the anode rod at least once every two years and annually once the warranty has expired. The rod will eventually corrode and leave the tank vulnerable to damage.
  • Remove sediment by flushing the tank every six months. Sediment will build up faster in areas with hard water.


This article was printed with permission from Institute for Business and Home Safety and provided by Oakwood Construction.  To learn more, please visit their website at 


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