Protect Your Family and Your Home From Water Damage

Whether it leaks from a broken pipe or surges from a torrential flood, water is one of the leading causes of damage to homes and property.


The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to protect your family possessions and reduce the likelihood that water will severely damage your home. 

  1. Check for damage to rubber hoses on appliances and replace them with steel-braided hoses (rubber hoses crack and break over time). Add a washing machine shut- off valve so you can turn off the water more easily if a leak occurs.
  2. Check sinks and toilets for signs of leaks from water supply lines. According to the Institute for Business & Home Safety, toilet leaks are one of the leading sources of residential water losses after supply line failures, averaging $5,600 in cost after deductibles.
  3. Inspect water heaters for signs of rust and water leaks, especially if they’re 10 years old or older. Water conditions in your area, high alkalinity, or mineral deposits can shorten the life of your water heater. Install drain pans and floor drains for the water heater if possible.
  4. If you have a sump pump, install a water-powered back-up to assure operation during a power failure or failure of the primary pump.
  5. Keep your roof and gutters clear of debris. Have your roof inspected if signs of water leakage are visible on your ceilings. Remove snow and ice from roofs if you live in extreme weather areas. Snow on roofs will melt and run to the edges of the roof where it can refreeze, causing ice dams; as ice builds up it prevents drainage, forcing water under roof coverings and into attics then down inside walls.
  6. Before outside temperatures dip below freezing, prevent frozen pipe bursts by insulating exposed pipes. Allow heat to reach water pipes under sinks and cabinetry. Have someone check on your home if you are away for an extended period. If you have a seasonal or secondary home, add low-temperature monitoring to your alarm monitoring system.
  7. Look for warning signs like water stains on the ceilings and leaks under sinks and appliances. Once repairs are done, cover any water-stained areas with stain-resistant paint so future water leaks can be easily noticed.
  8. The best method of reducing your chances of water loss is installing an automatic leak detection and shutoff system such as those provided by the Leak Defense System or FloLogic, both of which are Fireman’s Fund preferred risk management vendors. We offer premium credits in most states for the installation of a leak detection/shutoff system.

This publication provides general information and/or recommendations that may apply to many different situations or operations. Any recommendations described in this publication are not intended to be specific to your unique situation or operation and are not intended to address all possible hazardous conditions or unsafe acts that may exist. Consult with your staff and specialists to determine how and whether the information in this publication might guide you in specific plans for your situation or operations. Additionally, this article does not substitute for legal advice, which should come from your own counsel.