You’ve been counting down the days until spring. It’s finally here and you are so ready for it…but is your home ready too?
By working through this checklist now, you’ll be able to enjoy the warmer weather and all things spring instead of dealing with the water damage that can occur at this time of year.
Start With Inspections
Let’s face it, every water-bearing appliance, fixture or plumbing line in your home is a potential source of water damage. That means you’ll want to check every single one of these as part of your spring inspection.
What exactly are you looking for?
- Obvious signs of water leakage such as pooled water or stains
- Loose valves or connections
- Cracked hoses
- Worn or damaged parts
There are probably more parts of your home you should include in this inspection than you may realize. Some of the key areas you need to inspect include:
- Sump pump and pit
- Washing machine
- Water heater
- Humidifier and dehumidifier
- Water softener
- Fridge (including the water dispenser or ice maker)
Test Your Sump Pump
You don’t want to rely on a visual inspection to know whether or not your sump pump is working properly, you’ll want to perform an actual test.
The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) actually recommends testing your sump pump as often as every month or two, particularly in areas where water tables are high. It doesn’t take long, but if problems occur you’ll be glad to know your sump pump is working properly.
To test your sump pump, you’ll want to start by checking the power. Listen to the pump to make sure it can turn on and off and isn’t making any unusual noises.
The next step is to pour water into the sump pit. Use a hose or bucket to fill the pit enough that the water raises the float or triggers the diaphragm and the pump turns on. Don’t forget to do this for your secondary or back up pump as well.
Finally, inspect the pump discharge line. Go to the spot outside where the pipe exits your foundation and ensure the water is flowing out correctly. If there are any blockages, such as snow, ice, leaves or debris, you should clear these as soon as possible.
Keep Up With Regular Maintenance
Going through our spring preparation checklist is a great step to take, but this should actually be a year-round task.
Monthly inspections and maintenance of your sump pump, drainage systems and all appliances using water will help you stay ahead of problems. These preventative measures are some of the best steps you can take in preventing costly and disruptive water damage to your home.
Consider Installing a Leak Detector
Staying ahead of problems is obviously the best defence against water damage, but unfortunately, this isn’t a foolproof strategy. There are a variety of products available that can alert you to problems such as a flooded basement or when the water level in your sump pit gets too high.
A sump pump alarm is designed specifically to alert you when the water in the sump pump rises too much. Leak and freeze detectors can be installed in a variety of potential trouble spots, such as near your water heater, washing machine, under sinks and of course, your sump pump.
An audible alarm will sound when a leak or irregular water levels are detected. While these are often cheaper to install, they are only effective when someone is home and actually able to hear the alarm going off.
Wi-fi leak detectors and sump pump alarms, on the other hand, send a notification to your phone or e-mail. This means that no matter where you are, you’ll know that a problem is underway and can respond accordingly. These notifications can be sent to multiple people and if you’re heading out of town, you can even send it to a neighbour or family member who can step in and help.
It’s best to choose an alarm that runs on battery power, or has a battery backup, so that it keeps running in the event of a power outage. Don’t forget to include checking and replacing the batteries as part of your regular inspections.
With our handy spring checklist, you can prevent water damage during those April showers so you can focus on enjoying the May flowers. Happy spring from Cayuga Mutual!