When you’re investing in a property, maintaining it is has to be one of the main priorities on your list. Your lease will likely cover the terms for repairs with your renter but preventing as many of those repairs in the first place is the best way to safeguard your property and keep your renters happy.
A costly repair to a property happens when there is water damage. Water damage can be anything from a small leak behind the dishwasher to a burst water heater that has flooded the majority of a home.
Most water damage causes are preventable with simple maintenance. Whether you or your renter are responsible for the upkeep of your investment property, make sure to keep these tips on your checklist.
Keep up with water heater maintenance
Did you know that your water heater tends to develop sediment which can lead to failure?
To help prevent this, the water heater should be drained every 1-2 years.
To do this, you’ll want to turn off the water supply to the heater, turn off the heater itself, and then either attach a hose to the spigot or place a large bucket underneath it. Open the drain valve slowly (the water is very hot). Empty the water until you don’t see sediment.
Prevent frozen pipes
This tip is winter-specific, and an important one. Frozen pipes are one of the most common reasons for water damage during the winter. When water sits trapped in a cold pipe and the temperature dips low enough to freeze, the water will expand inside the pipe and may cause it to break.
While you can’t control the temperature outside, there are a few simple tricks you can use to give your pipes the best chance of staying safe in the cold months.
- Outdoors: if you see exposed pipes outside, it’s time to head to your local hardware store and grab some pipe insulation. You can use strips of pipe wrap or foam pipe sleeves, and also make sure to grab a foam cover for all of your spigots.
- Indoors: you’ll want to find the pipes that are in unheated portions of your home. The garage is usually the first place to go looking, but other spaces may include the attic and even a crawl space. Just like you did outdoors, wrap the exposed pipes with insulation. You can also wrap your entire water heater with an insulation blanket.
- A note about crawl spaces: don’t attempt to investigate a crawl space on your own. Always have someone there to watch over you in case of an accident. If you’re not confident about this task, call a professional to help you out.
- What about pipes in heated spaces? The easiest trick to help your indoor pipes stay safe is simply to open the cabinets where they’re housed. The warm air from your heater will reach your pipes and help them keep safe.
Clean gutters help any water safely move away from your roof and towards the downspouts. When a gutter is blocked by fallen leaves, branches, or debris from mischievous birds and squirrels, water will begin to pool and can eventually find its way into your home.
Brown or yellow spots on your ceiling are a sign of water damage, and they’re commonly caused by a leaky roof next to an unkept gutter.
Direct downspouts away from the home
Now that your gutters are clean, it’s time to ensure that your downspouts are also in working condition. Make sure they’re also free of debris and that they’re faced away from your home.
Keep trees and shrubs away from pipes
The danger with trees and shrubs growing near your pipes is their roots. The roots can break through pipes and easily cause blockages or, worst-case scenario, misalign the pipe altogether and call for a major repair where the pipe has to be undug and replaced.
Unfortunately, this one usually goes unnoticed until toilets and tubs inside the home start experiencing problems. The easiest way to avoid this expensive problem is simply to keep trees and shrubs away.
Keep your windows and doors properly caulked
When windows are installed, there is a gap between the window frame and the siding. While this space is necessary for expansion, it also needs to be covered with flexible caulking to prevent moisture from finding its way into your home. Check out the caulking on the exterior and interior of your home. If it’s cracked, it’s time to get it replaced.
Water damage warning signs
Sometimes water damage will happen even after your most meticulous maintenance regiment. If you see any of these water damage warning signs, call a 24-hour emergency water damage restoration company to get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Warning signs include:
- Brown or yellow spots on the ceiling
- Discoloration or dark spots under pipes
- Small leaks — don’t be tempted to wipe up the small amount of water without finding the cause.
- Seeing mold or smelling a sweet, musky scent. Since mold needs water as a source of growth, seeing mold may be a sign of an unnoticed leak. This is often why mold remediation and water damage restoration go hand-in-hand.
Whether your tenant or you as the landlord are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the property, it’s always important to safeguard your investment as best as possible. Regular water damage prevention maintenance is simple and can help keep happy and paying renters for years to come.