Carrie had a luxurious week-long vacation but opened the door to a hellish scene when she returned home. A washing machine hose on the second floor of her home had ruptured and apparently been leaking for several days. Areas of the soggy ceiling now rested on the kitchen floor and water rained steadily from above. Horrified, she could see a healthy trickle of water flowing under the door into the finished basement.
She immediately stepped back outside and called her insurance agent, who in turn called Paul Davis for help. “This homeowner got a hard lesson: yes, appliances can leak unexpectedly,” says Brady Chuckel, President, Paul Davis of Southeast Wisconsin. “Usually, the leak is small and noticed fairly quickly but sometimes a true catastrophe unfolds. Repairs here were very costly and she lived elsewhere during the restoration.”
Water, a convenience we can’t live without in our homes, can be ruinous when it escapes its tight confines. What can homeowners do to avoid this type of rude surprise? Chuckel cited five ways to avoid appliances leaks and the associated water damage that can ensue:
- Install appliances correctly. Air conditioning is one system that demands expert installation. In fact, proper installation is so important to trouble-free function that AC manufacturers won’t sell equipment to non certified installers. Even DIY installations like washing machines need proper balancing and expert hose attachments to avert leaks.
- Maintain appliances properly. Water heaters, which can cause serious water damage if they leak, require occasional flushing as well as inspections to ensure that their anode rod, which rusts sacrificially to protect the metal tank’s integrity, has not disintegrated completely. Other appliances and fixtures like toilets, dishwashers and washing machines require periodic hose, valve and washer replacement. And when an appliance has reached its upper age limits – a dishwasher is designed to last about 10 years, for example – replace it.
- Hire skilled service personnel. Retain technicians who are skilled in the appliance types and brands they will work on. Poor adjustment, incorrect replacement parts, lax hose tightening, incorrect troubleshooting – unskilled or do-it-yourself servicing can cause leaks for these reasons and more.
- Choose high quality appliances. Ever wonder why some faucets and fixtures are far more affordable than others? Their working parts may be breakable plastic instead of sturdier metal. Their circuit boards and switches may be less reliable. Their seals may be flimsier. In sum, poor component materials or manufacturing are more likely to spring a leak than higher quality choices.
- Pay attention. Is your refrigerator gurgling? Is the flooring buckling around the toilet? Is that a rust spot on the outside of the hot water heater? Is the washing machine drain hose older than five years? Is that really a dripping sound under the sink? These are all signals to search for, find and repair smaller leaks before they grow larger and more problematic.
If your home has been damaged by water, whether from an appliance leak, a storm or other disaster, Paul Davis is a phone call away: 800-661-5975.