A well-maintained home is less likely to have water problems than one that is in poor repair. If you practice regular preventive maintenance around your home, you are likely to spot potential problems before they become big problems. Preventive maintenance also helps protect your investment in your home and makes it a safer, healthier, and more pleasant place to live.
Preventive maintenance is practiced in several ways:
Take care of needed repairs quickly while they are minor and before neglect can cause damage to the structure of the home. This can be as simple as replacing a washer on a dripping faucet or as major finding and replacing a leak in roof flashing.
Maintain the home and its systems on a regular schedule. For example, trim shrubbery, clean dehumidifiers, and replace a worn flapper valve on a toilet. Keeping the home and its parts in good working order reduces the likelihood of a water emergency.
Once or twice a year, do a home inspection. Many people choose fall and spring as a good time for a home inspection, as they get ready for seasonal changes. Look for signs of potential water problems, such as damp spots, worn roof shingles, or water stains.
Periodically check the roof drainage system, such as gutter and downspouts, and make sure it takes water away from the walls and foundation.
Make sure landscaping is clear of the foundation so that it does not hold moisture against the building exterior and allows ventilation around the foundation.
Keep sprinklers away from the building.
Maintain the operation of your sump pump (if you have one).
Control the humidity inside your home. A relative humidity range of 40% to 50% is comfortable for most people without leading to potential condensation problems.
Use exhaust fans when showering, cooking, running the dishwasher or dryer.
Limit possible moisture sources from your home such as: lots of house plants, firewood stored inside, clothes being dried inside, unvented combustion heaters (like kerosene heaters, which can produce large amounts of moisture), and/or humidifiers.
If your home has a crawl space, cover the ground with a moisture barrier, such as heavy plastic.
Insulate any exposed cold water pipes and cold air ducts so that condensation will not form on the pipes and ducts.
If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
Avoid carpet on concrete basement floors as this is likely to become a great place for mold.
Allow space for air circulation between furnishings and window treatments on exterior walls.
Vent all combustion appliances to the outside.
Do not overcool you home, if you have an air conditioner, as this can lead to more condensation, as well as using lots of energy.
Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly
Consider using dehumidifiers in trouble spots if other moisture control measures do not work.