Water is, without a doubt, the number one enemy of a home. In fact, water causes so much damage that insurance companies do not cover damage from flooding, and backup of sewer and drain is only added to homeowners insurance policies as an endorsement for an extra fee. The federal government does not require major insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for flooding due to the extremely high claim costs. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) exists for this very reason.
So why is water damage such a big deal? Because water takes a toll on a structure in several ways, not just one. Water causes wood and other materials to rot, compromising their structural integrity. It creates an ideal environment for wood-destroying pests that may move in to take advantage of a prevalent food and water source and subsequently wreak havoc on the structure. Similarly, water and moisture are a breeding ground for microbial matter, like mold, that can cause harm to inhabitants of the house – especially people who are asthmatic or suffer from allergies or respiratory problems. If all that isn’t enough, the musty odor created by water and moisture is enough to make some people sick to their stomach.
A good friend of mine once said that the advent of indoor plumbing is probably the “craziest idea” ever conceived in home building. It’s certainly convenient and something most of us can’t imagine living without (although people did for millennia) and many still do in other parts of the world. It’s true that filling our houses with pressurized water lines is a risk, but modern plumbing practices minimize these risks substantially.
The bottom line for homeowners is this: Leaks are a major enemy and need to be dealt with immediately. Whether the leak is coming from the roof, a water line or a fixture, it must be dealt with immediately to prevent significant damage, expense and risk to health.
Monitor your house for water and moisture intrusion continually, and call in qualified contractors right away for any water related repairs that may arise. Be diligent in fighting the enemies of your home’s integrity – especially water!
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