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Preventing indoor water damage

Ceilings, walls, pipes/plumbing/appliances, floors, moisture problems

A father is on his back under the kitchen sink holding a wrench while his daughter looks on.

What causes indoor water damage?

Leaks or overflow from:

  • Pipes, sinks, baths, toilets, appliances, aquariums, domestic water containers or waterbeds.
  • Improperly installed appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers.
  • Frozen or ruptured pipes.
  • Hot water tank or rupture of the brass valve.

What you can do

  • Look for bubbling paint or stains on your ceiling, which can indicate a leaking pipe. It could also indicate water dripping from the roof (which is not covered under your basic home insurance).

  • Look for water stains, which can indicate a leaking pipe.
  • Feel your basement walls for evidence of flaking, dampness, stains or mould.
  • If drywall has been exposed to water for less than two hours, you may be able to dry it rather than replace.

  • Install an accessible backflow valve to prevent water back-up. You may consider installing more than one, depending on the plumbing system currently in place. Check with your plumber.
  • Listen for unusual sounds that may indicate leaks in water lines or pipes.
  • Repair leaky faucets and dripping toilets.
  • Inspect your water heater, under sinks and behind washing machines.
  • Check washing machine hoses for damage. Replace cracked or worn hoses.
  • Replace the wax toilet rings if it shows evidence of leaking.
  • When you’re on vacation, make sure to turn off your main water source to avoid hose rupture.
  • Have a water damage detection device installed.

  • Check your floors for water stains, particularly near dishwashers and sinks.
  • Keep house plants on saucers to avoid overflow onto your floor.

  • Use a dehumidifier, if necessary, in damp areas such as basements.
  • Be sure the air in your bathroom and kitchen is well vented to avoid condensation.
  • Check that your dryer is properly vented – clear out lint build-up in the exhaust hose and external vent to prevent obstructions that can lead to moisture build up.