All-Pro Services
All-Pro Services

Flood Loss Prevention Tips

Preventing and Preparing for Water Damage

Flood Tip - Have your drains checked by a professional.
Lived in your home 5 to 10 years? Have your drains checked by a professional plumber. It’s probably time to have them snaked out, it is important to have your drains checked and possibly snaked out. (They'll probably drain better, too.)

Flood Tip - Tree roots could cause a blockage.
Consider the location of trees on your property and nearby. Does your home’s drain pipe run near any? Sooner or later, roots will grow into the pipe. This traps sediment, and the resulting blockage will cause waste water to back up into your home.

Flood Tip - Check your sump pump.
If you have a sump pump, test it occasionally - pour water into the hole around the pump till it turns on. Also, consider a back-up sump pump. It should kick in from if the main pump fails. Some run on a battery, some use an emergency generator and some even run off of water pressure - in case an electricity outage was the reason the main pump stopped. In any case, have any pump serviced regularly (some parts may need replacement), and remember that overall a sump pump’s life is probably only 10 years.

Flood Tip - Prepare for the winter months.
Kansas winters can be very damaging for your pipes. Be sure to turn off the supply to your outside water spigots so they won’t freeze and burst. The valves are probably inside your house, very near the related spigot. For the same reason, disconnect garden hoses during winter months, especially if you have not turned off that supply (ice backing up in the hose can damage the valve.)

Flood Tip - Turn off your irrigation system.
Turn off your irrigation system and service it every fall.

Flood Tip - Watch our for water leaks.
Watch out for water leaks, especially in the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms. Check all hoses (and tubing) - including washing machine, all sinks, ice maker (including its supply). Especially the hot input hose behind the washing machine. It’s usually a relatively weak black rubber. If any of these go, you've got a flood. You can get "burst proof" braided hoses at a plumbing supply, some hardware stores and most major home improvement centers and even lumber yards.

Even so, when you leave your home, never leave your dishwasher or washing machine running or full of water.

Danger signs to look for

For all sinks, assure the water supply hose connection is secure and not leaking. Look at the dishwasher for signs of leaks at its base. Are any flooring materials or nearby cabinets discolored, warped, soft, or showing other signs of water damage?

Refrigerator icemakers all have water supply hoses or tubes. Be sure yours is secure to the water supply line. Water under or near the fridge might be defrosted ice. But it might be a steady leak ready to get worse.

Drains that run slow might be partially blocked. That’s a problem in itself, but could cause a leak you can’t see. While you’re at it, recaulk around sinks to be sure any steadily flowing water goes down the drain and not all over the place.

Washing machine hoses should be checked regularly. Look for wetness at the ends of hoses. Bulging, fraying, or cracking are also danger signs. It’s wise to replace an ordinary "standard equipment" hose every 3-5 years in any case.

Water heaters generally last 10 to 15 years. If yours has a wet spot under it, or a rusted tank, yours is near its end. For safety’s sake and efficiency, hot water heaters are installed on the home’s lowest level, always near a floor drain. If yours must be located upstairs or in a finished area, place it in a drain pan that drains to the floor drain.

Air conditioning should be checked by a qualified A/C contractor at the beginning of every cooling season. Be sure they inspect and clean the air conditioner condensation pan drain line. It must be obstruction-free. Also change the air filters regularly.

Showers and bathtubs are supposed to get wet. But discolored or soft areas on floors or nearby walls might indicate a leak. Look for mold or cracks in the caulking where tub and floor or walls intersect. If found, remove loose material and renew the sealant. Also look for missing or cracked grout in tiled shower walls or floor - water goes straight through.

Kitchen, bathroom and utility sinks are obvious checkpoints. Any sign of water damage or wetness from supply lines or drainpipes?

Toilets get clogged. It’s a temporary problem right? Not if you don’t clear the blockage promptly and your tank happens to leak a little. That steady trickle then has no place to go, and if you don’t happen to notice it, you've got a serious flood. Never place an inappropriate object in the bowl rather than use too much toilet paper, flush more often. (Modern low-flow toilets are especially susceptible to toilet paper clogs.) Be sure your hanging bowl deodorant doesn't slip in. Any insoluble foreign object can work well into the plumbing system, trapping grease, hair, tissue and such, ultimately causing a full obstruction (and a major repair). And use chlorine tablet cleaners sparingly - they can corrode internal components - another cause of leaks.

Flood Tip - Turn water off when going on vacation.
Going on vacation? Turn the main water valve off. It might be outside your home. Something as simple and unexpected as a leaky toilet tank connection could otherwise result in a steady stream of water all over your floor. Test a couple faucets to be sure the shut-off valve is working right. You should be able to tell in a second or two.

Similarly, if you leave your home for any substantial time in winter, be SURE all windows are closed and the heat is on. Otherwise you could come home to find everything soaked, simply because a frozen water pipe had burst. It’s especially catastrophic if it happens upstairs - everything downstairs gets soaked through, too. Repairs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, even requiring a total reconstruction of your walls and floors, to the point that meanwhile you’re unable to live in your own home.

Flood Tip - Don't store valuable items in harms way.
In case a flood does occur, don’t store valuable items in harms way. That means either keep them out of the basement and off susceptible floors, and/or store things like photos, out-of-season clothing, important documents, in water-tight containers or plastic contractor bags. A big Tupperware container is good (and re-usable!). Use simple 2x4 platforms or inexpensive shelving to get these things at least 4-6 inches above the floor.