Living in Coachella Valley, we are no strangers to water. While we love the beaches and the pools that cool us off on a hot day, water is not always a good thing, especially for our homes. Water damage is the second most common cause of home insurance claims in the United States and the most common home insurance claim in the state of California.
As the percentage of most home insurance claims has been static or decreasing, the percentage of water claims is increasing! It is important to understand how to actively take steps to prevent water damage from occurring in your home as well as steps you can take to help mitigate the damage if it does.
Our goal at Coachella Valley Home Watch is to introduce you to different types of water damage, where your home is most vulnerable, and some critical steps you should take to protect it.
Types of Water Damage
In our houses, there may be several different sorts of water damages, and the way these different types can grow and affect our homes is crucial to know.
Clean Water Damage
The most common type of water in our homes, this water is uncontaminated and originates from a pipe or rain.
Black Water Damage
Water is polluted with hazardous materials, such as sewer waste. This type of water damage commonly occurs from sewer pipe leaks. It is the most dangerous type of water damage as it often contains harmful bacteria.
Grey Water Damage
This is water that is contaminated with soaps or chemicals, typically originating from appliances.
Where Water Damage Comes From
Different areas of the country are more susceptible to different types of water damage than others, for example in Coachella Valley one of the most common types of water damage arises from the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition) system. Due to the tropical climate we face, the HVAC is running almost constantly throughout the year putting our HVAC units under a lot of stress.
These units must be maintained year-round to avoid future issues.
A minimum of HVAC unit inspections should be carried out every year, although many service providers propose semi annual inspections, including appropriate examination. This should be done immediately before the summer.
What to look for when checking an HVAC system
When HVAC units are leaking it is most often the condensate drain line. If these become clogged the unit will either shut off completely, creating fertile conditions for mold, or begin to overflow.
If you are away for more than a week you should have your home watch service professional inspect this every time they perform a home check. However, this can be very difficult or impossible depending on where the unit is located. Many air handler units in Coachella Valley are in the attic and are not as easily accessible to be inspected.
The reason air handlers are commonly placed in the basement is to minimize flood problems owing to the construction of many homes in Coachella Valley in flood zones or at low elevations.
You and your HVAC professional should have a plan in place to take care of your HVAC system. Other items to consider are the refrigerant levels and the status of your condensate pump, drain pan, and air filter. These should be examined by your HVAC professional during your routine maintenance check.
Preventing Water Damage
Finally, the easiest way to prevent water damage is to be cognizant of the happenings in your home whenever you are away for a week or more. Here are some of the simple but impactful things we recommend based on our experience at Coachella Valley Home Watch:
Know where your water shut-off valve is
If you’re going on vacation or gone for the season, turn it off and put a lock on it. However, if you are gone for more than a week or so at a time, make sure to have your Home Watch Professional run your water, turn it off when they leave, lock it up, and take a picture of the valve for your peace of mind. We recommend this being done at least once every other week.
Invest in a water leak detector
Water leak detectors are extremely beneficial if you live in a home with older pipes, or just want to keep an eye on your home while you’re away.
Electronic water leak detectors can detect sounds from leaking pipes and warn you when these noises are felt. These detectors can find leaks in water systems, toilet drains, and much more. The quicker you know of the leak, the easier it is to fix it!
Invest in an automatic shutoff valve
Much like a water leak detector, automatic shutoff valves are used to monitor the water coming into your home. However, automatic shutoff valves do this through pressure instead of acoustics. This valve monitors the pressure of your plumbing system and cuts the water off when it detects a pressure imbalance. These valves save many homes from water damage each year and may even get you a discount on your home insurance!
Whether you are a full-time resident or seasonal, keeping a well-maintained home is key to your investment. We have had the opportunity to discuss several different types of water damage, several of the most common ways issues can arise, and steps you can take to prevent or mitigate that damage to protect your home. If you need a home watch exterior, interior, concierge services in Coachella Valley, contact us at Coachella Valley Home Watch!