Hey Rochester Hills!
These pro tips are for you – and the rest of the great state of Michigan, and anyone who can benefit from the advice we’re about to share.
We’re Doan Restoration, the state’s foremost experts on water damage restoration. And as water restoration companies know, not all water damage is avoidable. Sometimes things just happen – like “flash flooding,” for instance.
However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the old Franklin adage – an ounce of prevention and all that – actually holds water.
Ouch. That’s a bad joke, but great advice. Water damage from manmade sources – plumbing issues and overflows and so on – is avoidable with proper maintenance and vigilance. Flood damage is a bit more complicated, but there are still things you can do to minimize your risk.
So let’s talk about … well, all of that!
Water creates as many problems where it isn’t wanted as vermin or fire. It can cause major structural damage to your property and it can wreak unbelievable cosmetic havoc.
It can cause mold to grow in your walls, leading to respiratory infections and allergic reactions. And in the case of contaminated water, it can carry microbes that can cause illness or even death.
So, as a residential or commercial property owner, how do you mitigate the risk factors?
Many would say that a great step one is don’t build in a floodplain. But we humans aren’t really like that. We’re adventurous and tenacious. If we build in Tornado Alley, we’re going to build anywhere. So we’ll gloss right by that piece of information and jump into some real, manageable, actionable tips you can take right away.
Water Damage Prevention
First off – most water damage in Rochester Hills isn’t caused by flooding and natural disasters. Most cases of water damage are caused by plumbing and poor roof maintenance. So we’ll start there before we dive into the flood damage prevention tips.
A View From the Top: Or, Roof Rage!
The roof of your home is the perfect way to stay dry …
… until it isn’t. All it takes is a blockage in the gutter or a couple of loose or missing shingles to start allowing water to seep in and wreck the joint. You may not have a visible hole in your roof but that doesn’t mean you aren’t in trouble.
Keeping an eye on that is pretty easy. Call a roofer for an annual inspection, and make sure shingles and gutters are being properly maintained. Your dry belongings will thank you.
About Your Appliances
That washing machine. That dishwasher. That icemaker.
Anything in your home that has a water supply line could be the culprit when gallons of unwanted water go sloshing around your home or office. If you want to ensure that nothing goes horribly awry, you’d better:
- Check supply hoses and ensure they’re tight – but not too tight.
- Have your valves manually inspected.
- Look for kinks in any hoses.
- Check for leaks, pooling water, or other signs of potential issues.
Oh, and your sink can be an issue as well. That means:
- Check the plumbing under the sink any time you get a chance.
- Make sure the shutoff valve is in working order, and that you and everyone else in the building know where it is and how to operate it.
- Check for kinks and clogs.
- Call a plumber if you’ve got little repetitive issues like a constantly clogging drain or a leaky tap.
Your hot water heater is another potential source of damage. Most hot water heaters live less than a decade … but most hot water heaters aren’t replaced until they fail.
Lots of things undermine the integrity of that appliance. Sediment pools inside them. They’re rarely maintained by homeowners, and property managers often overlook them as well. They’re also rusting basically all the time.
Did you know:
Your hot water heater doesn’t rust for only one reason. There’s a bar inside called an anode, made of a reactive metal like magnesium or aluminum, that essentially does all of the rusting so your water heater won’t.
Anodes only last a couple of years, though. And most homeowners don’t bother having them replaced. That’s like losing a member of the Secret Service and not replacing him.
You’re leaving the Appliance-In-Chief vulnerable to attack. Simply replacing that anode could extend your water heater’s life by double, and keep the water damage at bay.
Maintaining that appliance will keep your home out of hot water.
Lastly, on the topic of appliances, keep an eye on your toilet. Wait until it finishes flushing to leave the bathroom, pay attention to ensure that it doesn’t run longer than it should, and have it inspected annually if you can.
Do that and you will drastically improve your chances of avoiding a toilet-based disaster that buries your floor in a few inches of questionable liquid.
Plants are lovely – but shouldn’t be planted without a little knowledge.
A lot of us like to do our own landscaping. One area where you’ve got to be careful, though, is trees. Willow trees, for instance, are notorious for their deep and long roots.
They can travel many feet from the tree’s trunk – and they can rupture anything in their path. We’ve done some cleanups that resulted from a willow tree’s roots puncturing a septic tank.
That can be fairly unpleasant, to say the least.
When you’re planting, it wouldn’t hurt to get a little professional advice on where to safely embed your green and growing friends. Watch out for underground pipes, drainage sources, sprinklers, septic tanks, wells, and so on.
Your. Water. Bill.
Your water bill can predict the future. If it stays relatively consistent, things are probably okay. However, if you notice it climbing a bit (or a lot) each month, you can safely wager that there’s a leak in your pipes somewhere.
You can also safely assume that it means you harm. A leak will either continue leaking, or it will get worse. It will not get better. And even a small leak could be damaging your property by causing mold to grow behind your walls or weakening the foundation with slow seepage.
Get intrepid – go looking for leaks.
And if you’re not feeling up to that, call a contractor. We love looking for trouble.
Most water damage that results from plumbing could have been avoided. Don’t be a statistic.
Invest in a drain snake – not chemicals.
A drain snake is a one-time purchase that costs about as much as two bottles of your average clog-eating chemical. So why do most homeowners reach for the Drano?
Because it’s advertised as safe and easy … but the reality is a little uglier.
While it might seem easy to drop a couple of caps of caustic chemicals down the drain to deal with that clog:
- They’re eating your pipes.
- They’re releasing noxious vapors into your home.
- They only work once.
- They’re EATING YOUR PIPES!
You only have to buy a drain snake once. It always works, and it isn’t hard to use. Stow it in a closet or under a sink when you’re not using it, and never buy drain cleaner again.
That’s a fair collection of tips that you can use to avoid causing water damage. Neglecting your own plumbing is unwise, so we hope you’ll take the advice we’ve given you here to heart. If you don’t, we’ll be here to help you clean up the mess. Another natural alternative would be to use a septic tank treatment product.
Now it’s time to discuss flood damage, which is a whole different ballgame.
Flood Damage Prevention Tips
We will – once again – be skipping right over “Don’t build in a floodplain.” Most people don’t. Some people do. We don’t really have any power over where you’ve chosen to live. If you live somewhere near a river that occasionally hops its banks, you can do more than shake your head ruefully when record rains fall.
Floods are, of course, among the most dangerous (and most common) hazards our earth has to offer. Here are just a few ways you can protect yourself against them.
Seal your basement walls with a waterproofing compound.
Seepage is a serious issue. Whether you do or don’t have great drainage, a sump pump and waterproof walls will go a long way to keeping your home safe when the water rises.
This isn’t an easy DIY project, but it’s something good contractors can handle for you. With more than half of all homes in the US suffering from a case of “wet basement,” it’s not something you should take lightly.
Keep a weather eye out.
Most of the time, floods don’t catch us completely off-guard. If you think there’s a chance you’ll need to be prepared, keep your radio or TV on the appropriate station and listen for the information you need.
Elevate your furnace and water heater.
Other permanent appliances can be elevated, as well, but those jump to mind immediately. Have them placed on risers above the expected flood levels in your area, if you live in a known flood zone.
Inspect your sump pump and drainage annually.
Or, better yet, have a professional do it for you to make sure you don’t miss something! Your sump pump takes water entering your perimeter drains, or natural groundwater, or rain overflow, and send it to a municipal drain or dry well.
As far as home appliances go, these unglamorous little guys are your best friends in a flood.
Install a generator.
An electrician can help you create redundancy in case of power loss that will keep your sump pump operational in the event of a flood. A battery backup is also possible, and if it’s an option, you should take it.
Install a backflow prevention valve.
A plumber can easily minimize your risk of sewage backup – and we cannot stress how glad you will be that they did if the worst should happen. Sewage is by far the most hazardous kind of flooding damage your property can sustain.
It comes with many health hazards – not to mention a distinctly unpleasant odor. While water damage restoration experts – like Doan Restoration MI here in Rochester Hills – can take care of that for you, it will be an unpleasant experience for everyone.
Create floodwalls and other barriers where possible.
Anything you can do to keep water from getting into your home is a valuable thing. You can use beams, sandbags, and other materials to create levees and floodwalls. Stockpiling sandbags isn’t a bad idea if you live in an area prone to occasional flooding.
Know a “Flood Watch” from a “Flood Warning.”
In the minds of many property owners, these two terms are interchangeable. Unfortunately, they do not mean the same thing, and should not be taken with the same degree of seriousness.
A “flood watch” is an informal thing. It means a flood is possible, and that the community should keep a weather eye on things. A “flood warning” is like a tornado warning; it means a flood is either happening or is likely to happen.
A flood watch means you should start preparing, just in case. A flood warning means you should activate those preparations, grab the survival kit you’ve packed for just such an occasion, prepare your home as best you’re able, and be ready to seek high ground.
While our job as water damage restoration technicians is to worry about your home or property, your job is to stay safe. Flash flooding is always a possibility, and you shouldn’t remain in your home if that could happen.
Move your essential items and important documents to the top floor. Disconnect electrical appliances and shut off your utilities if you need to.
After a flood, if water damage has still been sustained, restoration companies like Doan Restoration MI will be there to help you clean up the damage.
Whether the cause is manmade or naturally-occurring, the best water damage restoration crews in Rochester Hills are available 24/7/365, for residential and commercial cleanups. Let us keep you dry. Call (586) 842-8142 today