Protect your property from water damage
Homes, as well as commercial buildings, can suffer from water damage that will result in increased maintenance costs, decrease property value, lower productivity, and result in lower indoor air quality.
The best way to protect against this potential loss is to ensure that the building components (known as the building envelop) is water-resistant.
Ensuring that the plumbing and ventilation systems (which can be complicated) are operating efficiently and are well-maintained.
Today, I will provide some basic steps for identifying and eliminating potentially damaging moisture.
Identify and Repair All Leaks and Cracks
These are some of the common building-related sources of water intrusion:
· Windows and Doors: Check around your windows and doors for signs of leaking
· Roof: Improper or lack of proper drainage systems and roof sloping reduce the lifespan of the roof and can become a primary source of moisture intrusion. Leaks are common around the exhaust vents, plumbing, rooftop air-conditioning units, or other specialized equipment.
· Foundation and exterior walls: It is important to seal any cracks or penetrations in the exterior walls, joints, and foundations. Often, cracks occur naturally due to differential soil settlement and the curing process of concrete.
· Plumbing: Check for leaking plumbing fixtures, dripping pipes, clogged drains (both interior and exterior), defective water drainage systems.
· Ventilation and HVAC systems: These systems are numerous in types and sophistication. They are a crucial component to maintaining a healthy and comfortable home. Some of these components can directly contribute to excessive moisture in the home, however, in humid climates one of the functions of these systems is to reduce the ambient relative humidity throughout the home.
Prevent Water Intrusion Through Good Inspection and Maintenance Programs
Hire a qualified InterNACHI inspector (Avelar Home Inspection Inc.) to perform an inspection of the following elements of your building to ensure that they remain in good condition:
· Flashing and Sealants: Flashing and sealants (caulking) are found around doors, windows, and roofs. They are designed to prevent water intrusion in places where two building materials come together.
· Vents: Vents should have hoods, exhaust to the exterior, and be in good working order.
· HVAC: Check for leakage in supply and return water lines, pumps, air handlers and other components. Drain lines should be clean and clear of obstructions. Ductwork should be insulated to prevent condensation on exterior surfaces.
· Humidity: The relative humidity in your home should be between 30% to 50%. Condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, and musty smells are signs that the humidity levels are too high.
· Moist Areas: Clean off and then dry all surfaces where moisture frequently collects (ex: kitchen and bathrooms).
· Expansion Joints: These are found between materials such as brick, pipes, and other building materials that absorb movements. If these joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can occur.
Protection from Water Damage
· Interior Finish Materials: Replace drywall, plaster, carpet and stained or water-damaged ceiling tiles.
· Exterior Walls: Generally exterior walls are comprised of several materials combined to create the wall assembly. If professionally designed and constructed, the assembly is the first line of defense between water and the interior of the home. It is essential that the exterior is maintained properly.
· Storage Areas: Storage areas should be kept clean and allow air to circulate to prevent potential moisture accumulation.
Act Quickly if Water Intrusion Occurs
Know and label shut-off valves so that the water supply can be easily closed in the event of a plumbing leak. Immediately remove standing water and all moist materials and consult with a building professional. If your home is damaged by a catastrophic event (ex: fire, flood, storm) take appropriate action to prevent further water damage.