Sticking to your resolutions can be tough but definitely isn't impossible. Many of the top resolutions people have boil down to one main thing-healthy living. That includes eating, exercising, and having a healthy home. Well, we aren't nutritionists or physical trainers, BUT we are indoor air quality experts, and we can help you keep your healthy home resolutions!
It's been proven that writing down and revisiting your resolutions regularly, makes them much more likely to become reality. So, grab a pen and paper and make a checklist for improving the IAQ in your home and ultimately your health.
Avoid Cabin Fever and follow these Tips for easily preventable water damage, recommended by USAA.com:
Perform an insurance check. Good news you CAN sit on the couch for this one. Take the time to read your policy and get to know exactly what it covers. Most homeowner's insurance policies are intended for emergencies, not things considered maintenance like keeping up with replacement-hoses for your appliances. Once you have refreshed yourself on what is considered the insurance company's responsibility and what is yours, it's time to get to work.
The kitchen (often called the heart of the home) contains two leak-prone appliances: dishwashers and refrigerators. Leaking pipes, hoses, and drains under these heavily used appliances can cause significant and expensive water damage to floors, cabinets, walls, or pretty much any surface the water touches. And since signs often appear behind or under the dishwasher and fridge, leaks often get overlooked. So, next time you get tempted to wonder into the kitchen to grab a snack from the fridge, perform an inspection instead!
What You Can Do:
- Look for stains or soft areas on walls and floors near these appliances
- Fix leaky faucets
- Inspect caulking and grout around these appliances and the kitchen sink
- If you detect signs of water damage contact a water damage mitigation specialist to find the extent of the damage.
The bathroom: The toilet, the sink, the shower, the bathtub, and even the exhaust fan (if you have one) can cause excessive moisture problems which can lead to water damage and mold. Water use is the main purpose of this room and it is naturally more prone to water damage occurrences, so don't neglect it. Regularly inspect this room. Follow the kitchen tips above.
The laundry: The often-used washing machine is the most hazardous appliance you own when it comes to water leaks. It may be convenient to have your washer and dryer on the main floor or near the main living space, but that's also where many valuable furnishings and electronics are located. And few laundry rooms have a drain that can help prevent water damage.
What You Can Do:
- Replace rubber and plastic hoses with reinforced steel braided hoses. "The hoses are pressurized all the time, and for just a few dollars more you can buy some added peace of mind," says Tim Reinhold, Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Chief Engineer and Senior Vice President of Research. Replace these hoses every five years, no matter how they look. Deterioration could happen inside the hose, where it's not noticeable. Label the hose with the replacement date.
- Tighten hose connections if they feel loose. "Connections are always problematic and can be a source of leaks or an outright system failure," says Reinhold.
- Turn off the water supply to the washing machine whenever you leave the house for more than one day.
- If possible, replace screw-type water-supply valves with an easier-to-operate dual-ball valve that controls both hot and cold water with a single lever. "Many older houses will have individual shut-offs for hot and cold water rather than a single valve, which magnifies the problem," explains Reinhold.
Appliance room: Water Heaters
Like washing machines, water heaters can cause more damage if they're located on the main floor rather than the basement. Often installed and forgotten, water heaters that have passed their life expectancy - typically about 10 years - can start to rust or corrode. And without a floor drain or a drain pan piped to a floor drain, a leak can quickly wreak havoc. IBHS reports that water heater failures cost an average of $4,444 per incident, after the deductible.
What You Can Do
- Purchase a water heater with a long warranty, ideally 12 years, advises Reinhold. "A new house may come with a standard contractor-grade water heater, which usually only has a three-year warranty," he says.
- Have a professional inspect and maintain the heater's anode rod every two years, then every year after the warranty has expired. The anode rod attracts corrosion to protect the steel tank.
- Flush sediment from the hot water tank, especially if your home has hard water, which leaves more sediment.
Drains and Sump Pumps
A backed-up sewer drain may cause the most unpleasant and dreaded of all leaks - sewage that overflows into your home. If your home sits at the low end of a hill or lower than street level, it's more susceptible to sewer backups.
What You Can Do
- Have a professional plumber install a back-flow prevention assembly.
- Store personal belongings off the floor and away from drains and sump pumps.
- Do not pour grease down the drain.
- Test the sump pump before the start of each rainy season.
Don't forget the importance of maintenance and preparation: Proud homeowners are also proactive homeowners. Happy Healthy Living!
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