Insurance providers advise that water damage claims in individual residences have increased significantly over the past years. In addition to the costs to repair after these losses, relations with neighbours can be strained if they have also suffered damage to their property as a result.
In recent years, water damage claims have increased significantly according to insurance providers. Along with the expensive costs of replacing and repairing damaged areas of the home, there could also be strained relationships with neighbours if they too have suffered the same damages. 
Water damage begins in many ways. The most common are: 
1. Overflowing hoses with standing water that freeze and create an ice block which stops the water flow and burst pipes that connect around your home
2. Dishwasher or washing machine pipes that burst or become detached
3. Sump pump failure
4. Unattended bathtubs or sinks that overflow, or toilets that are clogged
5. Leaks that are not inspected and slowly creep through walls, floors, and foundation. 
How can I prevent water damage? 
We recommend following these protocols which will keep your home safe from potential (and costly!) water damage.
1. If you see or hear plumbing malfunctions, contact a professional immediately so they can inspect and diagnose the issue. If they find something is wrong, the plumbing issue will typically be fixed under the professional’s recommendations.
2. Check your crawl spaces, basements, and attics as these are areas of your home that are more prone to water damage. You don’t want to risk having mold, mildew, or dry rot that potentially causes structural home damage. 
3. Ensure all appliances or bathroom items that use water, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and faucets are turned off when not using them. If you are using them, don’t lose attention as water can easily overflow in a matter of minutes, and especially don’t leave them on if you leave your home. 
4. Don’t flush unnecessary items down the toilet, which can cause it to clog or plug. This includes clumps of hair, grease or oil, bathroom wipes, diapers, and even prescription medication. It may not cause an issue the first time, but making a habit of it could cause serious plumbing and draining problems in the future. An easy way to determine if you have a toilet leak if by dropping a few drops of food colouring in the tank. If you see the colour show up in the bowl, it’s time to call the plumber. 
5. When the winter and summer season comes and you sense a potential HVAC problem, ask your professional to check your heating and air conditioning units because they can cause moisture buildup if not maintained properly. This is especially important because mold can grow inside and blast throughout your home, damaging your health in the process. 
What should I do if my home experiences water damage? 
In the unfortunate event that you experience water damage, here are the steps you should follow:
1. If you are in the room where the water is overflowing, turn off the water supply. If you know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home, turn that off as well. 
2. If you live in a high-rise, call your property manager immediately to take the next steps. Ensure that every area impacted is properly dried out, and have the professional inspect other parts of your home as well, including all walls, ceilings, and floors to see if there is any moisture residue. 
3. Call your insurance company to see what damages you can claim after your water damage issue is fixed. Many companies specialize in this type of remediation. Your property manager will likely engage such professionals as part of the insurance claim.
 For more information about condominiums and insurance, read our article on Condominium Unit Owner Insurance.
 4. Don’t touch electrical wires, appliances, or other devices, take an inventory of both the damaged and undamaged property, take pictures of the damaged property and keep all receipts for costs you may have paid out-of-pocket related to the cleanup.
Insurance claims, especially regarding your home, can be tiresome and expensive. Knowing the best ways to prevent these issues and dealing with them if they occur can make things much easier. Trust the experts at FirstService Residential to have the experience and processes in place to manage any type of emergency. With more than 40 years of experience managing condominium communities, there is not much we haven’t already seen and handled. To find out how we can guide you through the challenges you may face, contact us.

Wednesday July 01, 2020