Regularly check appliances and pipes throughout your home. “Anywhere there’s a device that uses water or has piping, there is a possibility of water leaks,” Salahi says. You might already watch the floor around your water heater. But don’t forget to also look inside undersink cabinets for telltale dark stains, peek behind your washing machine at the supply lines, check caulking around toilets and tubs and make sure your garden hose hasn’t sprouted tiny holes. And always fully shut off your faucets.
Micro-leaks may not be as dramatic as exploding pipes, but the constant loss of water will hurt both your pocketbook and the integrity of your home. Keep an eye on your water bill and use devices that track your water consumption and pressure. Unexplained changes in either can mean you have a leak on your hands, so double-check with a plumber. Either way, simply being aware of your water use is a benefit to your wallet and the environment.
Whether you’re leaving home for a day or a few weeks, you don’t want to worry about water paying an unwelcome visit. Make sure it can’t enter by turning off the water supply entirely at your main water valve. If you’re stepping out for just a few hours, don’t leave the dishwasher or washing machine running.
It’s also wise to add a sensor, as seen here, that alerts you if water is puddling where it shouldn’t. Some sensors can be installed on your water pipes and automatically shut off the valves if pipes leak or burst. Consider it another form of travel insurance that provides peace of mind while you’re away.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, frozen pipes can cause water pressure to build up downstream — between the ice blockage and closed faucet — and lead to a burst. Consider adding insulation to attics, crawl spaces or outside walls to keep pipes warm. Leave any pipes that run directly outside dripping (just a little) overnight, since even a tiny flow of water helps prevents pipes from freezing.
Keep garage doors closed and open the cabinet doors around outside-leading pipes to surround them with toasty air. Also, should you leave home for a warmer clime, the American Red Cross recommends keeping your indoor temperature above 54 degrees, day and night.
If your pipes do freeze, turn off the main water valve as soon as possible. Smart sensors can monitor temperature levels and let you know if frost is a risk, so you can act preemptively.
Neither too much nor too little humidity is best. “Humidity levels are important to keep in mind, especially in closed spaces without much sunlight,” Salahi says. That means basements and attics, as well as cabinets and closets.
Check humidity levels with a hygrometer or consider installing a device that constantly monitors levels for you. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that indoor humidity levels hover between 30 and 50 percent. If there’s too much moisture in the air, your walls, windows and roof can be damaged by mold and dry rot.
New technology provides additional water-damage security, whether you’re home or not. Smart leak-detection and prevention devices linked to phone apps can alert you if water starts to creep across your floor or if indoor humidity suddenly climbs. Other sensors can be installed on your main water pipes. These smart options can turn off the water supply if pipes break. They can also learn your water usage and notify you of abnormal consumption.
“Most of us already have smart devices in our home that help with news, lighting and security,” Salahi says. “A water sensor is just another smart device that can be added to our home for convenience, conservation and water-damage prevention.”
This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.