What’s the most damaging thing in your home? Water. Water can slowly accumulate and cause extensive damage, or can quickly destroy in an instant. In all cases, the problem usually starts with one of the most common appliances in your home that you use on a daily basis. If it has pipes connected to a water line, it has the potential for serious flooding if left unchecked.
1. Water Heaters
Your water heater is one of the largest water holding tanks in your home, and if it breaks, you’ll have an instant flood of water. Yet water heaters rarely fail without tell-tale signs first. Proper maintenance and yearly checkups will allow you to fix and replace before many gallons of water quickly flood out your home. If you do notice signs of a leak or puddling water, speed is of the essence. Leaks are usually due to malfunctioning temperature and pressure relief valves, or due to corrosion in the water tank itself. If you flush water through the tank to clear out debris and you still have a leak, it’s a sure sign your tank needs replacing.
Toilets usually cause damage by a slow leak around the base of the toilet, or a sudden flood due to a clogged drain and a sudden overflow. With a sudden overflow, start by plunging. If plunging doesn’t work, the clog could be deeper in the pipes either inside or outside of your home, or may be caused by a malfunctioning float that allows too much water into the tank.
The six most common areas a washing machine leaks are the inlet connections, the hose connections, the center post gaskets, the outer tub seal, the air dome seal, and the pump. If any of these areas are leaking, unplug your washing machine, turn off the water main and begin trouble shooting each feature one at a time. While puddling around the washing machine can be caused by any of these features, keep in mind that it can also be caused from a clogged floor drain.
Dishwashers can overflow for a variety of reasons. If you use too much detergent, or the wrong type of detergent, the water has nowhere to go but out of your dishwasher. As your dishwasher washes away food particles, in some cases the food can clog the strainer or cause the float switch to fault. Simply remove the strainer and wash with a stiff brush, or replace the float switch with a new one. If your dishwasher is not leaking because of one of these issues, its likely caused by a plumbing issue, in which case a plumber will need to be called in to check the pipe fittings, connections, or to determine where the drainage problem exists.
Refrigerators are natural attractors to moisture. Their sole purpose is to keep things cold or frozen, and every day it goes through a process of cooling and warming up depending on how many times you open the door and what items you put in or take out. As warm air passes over the condenser coil, condensation is created, which often pools water at the bottom of your refrigerator. Though refrigerators are outfitted with a drain line to allow this excess moisture to drain away, it can easily become blocked with bits of food, preventing the drainage process. If drain lines aren’t cleaned on a regular basis, you can quickly find a flood on your kitchen floor.
Another problem area for refrigerators is the water supply line that feeds your ice machine and your water supply in the door of your refrigerator. Should this become unattached, you’ll quickly find a large flood of water standing in your kitchen.