Property Damage Experts for Santa Cruz and Beyond
Plumbing Supply System Failure
Warning signs: An increased monthly water bill, banging pipes, rust stains, moisture in the walls or on the floor, or signs of wet soil erosion near the foundation are all potential indicators of a plumbing problem.
Solutions: Schedule a plumbing inspection, decide who will do the repairs and create a maintenance plan to prevent future damage. Consider installing a leak detection system.
Warning signs: One-third of all toilet failures are caused by overflowing or clogged toilets.
Solutions: Stay in the bathroom until the toilet has completed its cycle and no water is flowing. This takes 30-45 seconds. If a toilet overflow looks imminent, turn off the supply valve. Twice a year, inspect the toilet’s components, such as fill, supply and flush valves, and the supply line; replace as needed.
Water Heater Failure
Warning signs: The time period near the end of the manufacturer’s warranty is when most water heaters experience problems with leaks or a sudden burst of the tank. (This usually happens around 12 years after date of purchase, but the average age of all installed water heaters is 13 years.) Leaking supply lines are another sign of potential failure.
Solutions: Schedule a water heater inspection every two years, then annually after the warranty expires. Perform regular maintenance (e.g., flushing out sediments and inspecting the heater’s anode rod) to increase life expectancy, and inspect valves to ensure proper operations and use ball valves in place of gate valves whenever possible.
Plumbing Drain System Failure
Warning signs: More than half of plumbing system failures are the result of sewer backups.
Solutions: If your sewer system is connected to the city’s sewer system, or if you are located downhill or below street level, contact a plumbing professional to install a backflow prevention assembly into your sewer system. Plant trees away from lateral drain lines to prevent roots from damaging piping, and never pour grease down the drain.
Washing Machine Failure
Warning signs: Most claims are linked to washing machine rubber hose failures. Life expectancy for rubber hoses is three to five years.
Solutions: Inspect supply hoses annually and replace every five years with reinforced hoses. Avoid overloading the machine, and if the property will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, turn off the water supply to the machine. Keep 4 inches between the water connection and the back of the machine. Know where your shut-off valves are located.
Other Helpful Tips
- Store personal belongings on raised shelving as far from basement floor drains as possible.
- Do not pour grease down the drain. It will solidify in the drainpipe and can cause a sewer backup. Instead, let the grease cool and dispose of it in the garbage.
- Re‐route roof or surface drainage away from the sewer piping system.
- Consider installing a sump pump.
- Assure that surface water is directed away from the foundation of your home.