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Proactive Water Damage Prevention

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Water Damage: Potential Appliance Disasters

Maybe it is the middle of the night and you think you hear water running, but are too tired to investigate. Maybe you came home from work to find your kitchen under an inch of water. Whatever the instance, appliance failures can cause water damage and flooding to your home. Prevent serious property repairs by knowing what to look for and how to protect your home. Here’s how to respond.

Shut Off Your Water

Your first step is getting the flow of water to stop. You will have a water main shut-off located at the area where the water line enters your home. If it has a round handle, turn it clockwise to stop the flow. If it has a lever, turn the handle perpendicular to the water line.

Many items have a shut off located on the water line to the unit. Take the time now to learn where the shut off are, this will reduce the amount of damage you will face if something does go wrong.

There are two appliances in the kitchen that can cause flooding. When it comes to a dishwasher, the hot water inlet line can begin to leak. These hoses are usually sturdy and not subject to vibration, problems normally develop at the connection. The second problem can come from a few sources. An old door gasket may leak, allowing water to drip on to the floor. A clogged drain line can also create a back-flow out of the door seal. If the float switch goes bad, the dishwasher may not stop filling with water. Either look for more help here or check for a troubleshooting guide behind the dishwashers toe plate, or behind the front panel.  Always review the safety information before you remove any area of your appliances. Simple tips to remember with dishwashers and refrigerators:

Periodically check for leaks under the sink where the hose connects to the water supply
Look around the base of the appliance for leaks, discolored, warped flooring materials, or water damage to nearby cabinets
If your refrigerator has an ice maker, check to make sure the hose connection is securely attached to the water supply line.

Washing Machine

The hot and cold-water hoses on your washing machine should be replaced about every four to five years. Even if they look like they are in good condition, they can fail without notice. These hoses are subject to damage if your washing machine vibrates heavily or moves during a wash cycle. If you are dealing with an overflowing washer machine, you can try to diagnose and fix the appliance. The most important issue is obviously removing the water as fast as possible. If there is more water than towels or a wet-vac can handle cleaning up, call us immediately at 866-801-8100 for a quick response.

Clothes dryer

Cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap after each load is not enough to keep the line free and clear. Clogged air vents and ductwork can lead to dryer inefficiency, and could also create a fire. Each year dryers can be the culprit for residential fires, leading to injuries and sometimes death. In most of the cases, “failure to clean” was the leading cause. Second-floor laundry facilities pose another risk: theses locations can be considered hazardous because they can require longer duct-work that could trap lint, rather than vent it out appropriately. Once a month use your vacuum cleaner’s fine nozzle to suction the lint slot. Once a year unplug the dryer, disconnect the vent tube and vacuum it out. If your dryer doesn’t vent directly outside, consider hiring a professional duct cleaner.

Water Heater

Water heaters should normally be drained once a year to eliminate sediment build up on the bottom of the tank. Follow your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s requirements. Do check the area around the bottom of the tank periodically. If you notice a leak beginning, call for service or replacement quickly. The small leak can turn into a sudden flood.


Your toilet can cause water damage if the wax seal on the bottom wears out or the inlet hose develops a leak. The hoses used for the cold-water inlet are normally strong, but you should check the connecting ends for leakage. Inspect the bottom of the tank for leaks. Sometimes placing some blue food dye in the tank will alert you to any problem areas. Toilets will not normally completely flood your home, however, a leak can still cause serious damage.
Even your HVAC system can fail and cause water damage to your home. The evaporator unit inside your home removes the heat from the air, causing moisture to build up on the coils or fins. This water is drained away from the bottom of the unit. If the drain becomes clogged, you can end up with a pool of water surrounding your unit.

Have Your Home Restored

Don’t let problems with appliances cause you additional worries. Keep up on regular maintenance of your appliances, and fix issues as they come up. As with any water damage, mitigating the problem quickly will help prevent costly repairs, and possibly mold or rot if not restored properly. You can count on Buffalo Builders Inc. to Respond, Recover and Restore your home and life back to order. If you have water, fire or smoke damage, call on our experienced team at 866-801-8100.