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Causes of Water Damage

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water damage causes

More than 1 million homes in the United States experience extensive water damage every year. In fact, water damage actually exceeds fire as the largest type of loss paid out in homeowner's insurance claims.

Water damage causes building materials to deteriorate and creates an environment in which termites and mold flourish. Besides being a nuisance, termites and mold can both cause major structural damage to a home very quickly.

In addition to major catastrophes like floods, many of the incidents that cause water damage occur right at home. Fortunately, they are often preventable.

Typical Causes of Water Damage

Pipe failures are the leading cause of water damage, costing an average of $5,000 per incident to fix, according to insurance industry data. Frozen pipes are a typical culprit in cold weather areas, as pipes rupture from the pressure that builds in them as they freeze.

Toilet overflows and leaks are the second leading source of residential water damage. Common causes include: faulty supply lines, overfilling, and overflows from clogs.

water damage causesSinks: Deteriorating caulk and pipe leaks can cause drips that eventually turn into steady leaks. Overflows are typically caused by clogged pipes.

Bathtubs and showers: Similar to sinks, incidents are typically caused by overflows or deteriorated caulking.

Refrigerator Icemakers: Hoses can develop leaks as they age.

Dishwashers: Again, hoses wear out and crack, developing leaks.

Water Heaters: Leaks and failures are common as water heaters age. Approximately 1 out of 10 failures occur when the occupant is not at home, resulting in significant damage.

Washing Machines: Leaks tend to be caused by supply hoses and water connections failing. As would be expected, the worst damage takes place if no one is at home, resulting in an average cleanup cost of $12,300, according to insurance industry data.

Basement Flooding typically occurs when sump pumps fail. Common causes include: power failure, the pump motor burning out from overuse, a broken impeller or drive shaft, the float switch getting stuck, a tripped circuit breaker, or high water volume simply exceeding the pump's capacity.

Unfortunately, the water damage causes described above are quite common and occur all too frequently. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent them. Read our Tips on Preventing Water Damage, and protect your home by installing automatic water flow shut off valves near important plumbing fixtures, along with a water driven sump pump or battery backup sump pump in your basement.

Image source: bfhoyt

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