Water Loss Prevention Basics
Many times that we go out to a water loss at someone’s home they have never before dealt with someone from our industry. Our industry isn’t even on their mind. And so homeowners miss out on the advice that someone from this industry could give.
Seth Washburn is the mitigation manager at Delta Disaster Services of Western Colorado. He and his family recently moved to Grand Junction from Glenwood Springs. Seth has been in the water restoration industry for years. He is an avid skydiver.
Seth and I talked about what homeowners could do to help prevent water losses from occurring in their homes. As Seth and I were closing out our Friday afternoon, he gave some very simple advice for homeowners:
Check faucets, particularly those that are in cabinets for evidence of leakage or water loss.
Cabinets are typically not areas people really check on since they’re also spaces for storage. Take the time once a month or so. It’s a good idea as a homeowner. Same with crawl spaces and attic spaces. Any place that these things could happen, but which are not regularly checked.
Look for swelling, particularly on the cabinet’s base because it’s typically made of particle board. Little areas of swelling can be indicators of dripping. In crawl spaces look for staining and calcification on the moisture barrier, or on the dirt. This usually happens around pipes, but ground water can also be an issue.
With exterior faucets, spigots are areas where things tend to go bad. Be sure to disconnect outside hoses or things will freeze. If the faucet is dripping or isn’t tightening the whole way you can replace the packing nut, or have a plumber do it.
Supply lines for swamp cooler runs through the attic in many peoples’ homes. Make sure it’s disconnected and drained properly before winter to prevent freeze breaks. The best solution is to run swamp cooler lines along the exterior of the home so if there is break in the line it won’t cause a water loss. Those lines are so small that even if they’re winterized there’s the possibility of a freeze break because of bubbles that can form in them that don’t drain. Those bubbles end up freezing and causing pressure. It can cause pinhole leaks in the line, which come Spring, allows for a water loss when the swamp cooler is hooked up again.
If you’re leaving your home for months on end, shut your water off. For ice maker lines, they’re susceptible to freeze breaks because they’re 1/4” copper pipe. If the ice lines are inside interior walls though, typically you won’t have an issue.
It’s kind of counter intuitive for us to recommend the devices that are out there for preventing water loss, but this is good to mention. There are devices available that are specific to areas within the home and they’re remote, battery-powered even, that you put under a sink. They have 2 prongs on them and if moisture touches those two prongs, it beeps at you. You hear that beep, you go “I’ve got water somewhere.” People usually put those by water heaters, washing machines, under dishwashers, under sinks, basically areas that could become problematic. They have more in-depth systems that actually hook directly to your water lines at specific locations and will actually close a valve and shut the water off to that particular device. So, say a dishwasher, you would install it on the line itself, and if the dishwasher had a leak it would shut the water off.
They have super advanced systems that are whole house systems. floLogic and WaterCop are two of the most popular brands. They actually hook onto the houses’ main water line just after the meter. You set the system to allow for a specified number of gallons per day. And if the water usage goes over that amount then it would actually shut the water off to your system. And so your entire house would be shut down. Those are really more for people who have vacation homes, because you can set it and control it with an app. And so when you’re gone, you can say “I want zero water usage.” And if it detects any water usage through he meter it would shut off water to your entire house.
Ultimately, we really care about preventing water leaks. If I have the opportunity to tell someone about the WaterCop system to help prevent a water loss at someone’s home, I would rather do that than them having to experience a water loss.”