The cost of water damage repair and restoration can vary widely, but a little effort now can prevent or ease the worst of it. We have more information about that here. Unless you’re hit with a natural disaster, these are our proactive tips for protecting your property from water damage.
Clean your gutters and make sure they’re draining correctly.
The cold winter of Chicago can really hurt your gutters. The snow cycle not only weighs them down, but water melt becomes ice becomes expansion all up in those gutters. Which is to say: make sure they’re not damaged. Make sure they’re not clogged up with leaves and other debris. Make sure your downspouts are directed at least five feet away from the house. From spring to fall, you should be cleaning your gutters and checking their functionality about once per month. This is basically free to do — so no excuses!
Repair basic home problems as they come up.
This includes tending to water leaks, damaged or missing shingles, and any suspicious seals and entries to the property. Yearly roof inspection is a good start: it’s easy to neglect, however obvious, because you just don’t see it! Repair any visible caulking damage or cracks not just up top but around the foundations, doors, and windows too.
Water leaks, on the other hand, do generally make their presence known to you. We think of them as more annoying than anything. But if water breaks through the ceiling or gets to know any wood surfaces too well, you might be opening up your home to rot. This would require serious structural repair and restoration, which is no cheap ordeal. Keep an eye out for “dark spots” or discoloration on these surfaces, and get those leaks fixed up as soon as possible.
Test that sump pump! It’s there for a reason.
Storms are nigh! So if you don’t want flood cleanup to hit your wallet hard, this is a big one. It won’t save your life but it can save your house from flooding. This is especially important as we approach the summer and thunderstorms become more frequent. You should test your sump pump at least once per year. Here’s what you do:
- Not too fast, fill with water and watch for the float to rise.
- This should get the pump to start doing its job.
- Watch for the water level to go down.
This is how you know it’s working! Easy as that. And if you have a backup, all the better. Just make sure to unplug the main sump pump before testing that one — it’s the same process.