It only takes an inch of water to destroy your possessions and damage the structural integrity of your home. However, by taking a few simple precautions you can avoid a real mess!

The plumbing is one of the most important systems in your building to check. Here are some good tips:

• Do periodic visual inspections of pipes, drains, taps and fixtures like toilets, showers, baths and sinks.
• Keep a constant lookout for any leaks from water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines humidifiers, sump pumps and other appliances.
• Install a water detection and automatic shut-off system to prevent water damage inside your building.
• Be sure to take appropriate steps ahead of the cold weather to avoid freezing of pipes.
• Mark water supply pipes clearly to make them easy to find in an emergency.
• Check that water is draining properly away from the basement and the outside of the building.
• Be sure the drainage hoses from appliances such as the washer, dishwasher and refrigerator are made of flexible metal and have been connected by a certified professional.
• Use a sump pump with a backup power supply

Water heater

A water heater that is more than ten years old is more prone to leaks. And the damage can be worse than in other types of leaks because of the water pressure inside the tank. Another problem with hot water tanks is that there is often no sign of deterioration until it’s too late. As your water heater approaches the end of its 10-year life span, plan on getting it replaced by a certified plumber within two years. You can also reduce risk by taking the following precautions:

• Check whether there are floor drains near the water heater.
• Install drip pans connected to a drain, for water heaters installed on any level above the basement.
• Make sure at least the first 18 inches of the hot water line are copper pipe.


Large accumulations of water outside the building can also have serious repercussions. Don’t take chances!

• Keep nearby storm sewer grates clear of leaves and debris.
• Disconnect downspouts draining directly into the sewer system and redirect them at least 2 metres away from building foundations.
• Check downspouts to ensure water is draining properly from the roof.
• Make sure the lot is graded to aid drainage away from the foundation walls

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