Prevent Water Damage

How To Prevent Water Damage In Your Fort Wayne Home/Business

Water damages are generally caused by heavy rain, frozen pipes or plumbing malfunctions.  Learn potential trouble spots to look for and what preventive maintenance steps to take.  Take a few minutes to follow the suggestions below and you may prevent a future water damage and huge headaches.  Click here to download a printable PDF of a summary of these water damage prevention tips.  If water damage occurs in Fort Wayne home/business call 24/7 Referral Cleaning & Restoration 260-483-4383.

Heavy Rain / Thunderstorms

Sump PumpEmergency - Sump Pump Diagram

  • Ensure water can flow freely wherever the sump pump discharges.
  • Check that the pit / hole that the sump pump is in, is clean and free of debris that could plug the pump intake or cause the float to get stuck, preventing the pump from turning on.
  • Install a battery back up sump pump.  Learn more at The Basement Watchdog.
  • If you have a battery back up sump pump, make sure the battery is charging.
  • If you have a generator, make sure it is operational.  If not, purchase or borrow one.  In case of power outage you can continue to supply power to the sump pump.
  • If your sump pump is older than 10 years, consult a plumber about replacing it before it fails.
  • Learn more at

Sewer/Drain Back Up & Cleaning

  • In areas where the sewer and storm drains are connected, water damage may occur in your home during heavy rain.  One way to prevent this is to install a check valve between your home and the main sewer line to prevent backflows into your home.
  • Call Shoda Sewer Service 260-483-1247 or visit  to have a check valve installed, to have your drains or sewer lines cleaned out and to have damaged drain tiles repaired.

Emergency - Prevention Gutter DrainsGutters / Drainage

Fix Foundation Leaks

General Tips

    • Insurance- Examine your insurance policy or check with your insurance agent to make sure you have proper coverage if water damage occurs.  If you have a finished basement make sure you have a sump pump / drain back up endorsement which is usually in addition to your standard homeowners policy.  Click here to learn how the 3 sources of water affect insurance coverage on water damages
    • Storage- Store your personal belongings on shelves or in plastic containers. This will prevent water from damaging the contents like it does when stored in a cardboard box.
      Emergency - Prevention Storage Box
    • Dehumidifier- Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air which can cause odor and/or mold.  Visit to learn what features to look for when purchasing a dehumidifier.
    • Replace Washing Machine Hoses- Don’t wait for them to break, replace your rubber hoses every 5 years.  Or purchase a high quality pair of hoses with a 20 year warranty at
    • Drywall- When hanging drywall allow approximately an inch gap between the floor and the drywall.
      Emergency - Wet Drywall
      Emergency - Drywall Lifter

      This way unless the water is at least an inch deep it will not touch the drywall and absorb into it as it has done in the above photo.

    • Water Shut Off Valve- Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut valve is and how to turn it off in an emergency.  (Turn the valve clockwise to turn it off.)  If you go out of town for vacation or your are a snowbird, turn your main water valve off or arrange to have someone check on your house regularly.  Watch this video to learn how to shut off your main water valve
      Emergency - Water Shut Off Diagram
    • Water Damage Alarms- In areas where you may not go in your home everyday, such as your basement, place a Leak Frog alarm to alert you if water damage occurs.  Another option is to install a Leak Defense System that monitors your home’s water flow and if a leak is noticed an alarm will sound and the water to your home will be shut off.
    • Plumbing- Have your plumber inspect your plumbing and sump pump for leaks.
    • Click here to download your FREE copy of the ‘Homeowners Guide to Water Damage Prevention’
    • Potential Water Damage Sources Inside The Home – Follow the guidelines on this link to help reduce risk of water damage inside and around your home.
    • Drain Pan- Install a drain pan under your washer and hot water heater to prevent leaks from becoming water damage.
Emergency - Hot Water Heater Drain Pan
Emergency - Washing Machine Drain Pan

Freezing TemperaturesEmergency - Prevention Frozen Hose

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes therefore putting tremendous pressure on pipes causing them to break.

  • Garden Hoses- Disconnect garden hoses from all outside faucets in the fall BEFORE freezing temperatures.  The first time you use your outside faucet in the spring be sure to check to make sure the pipes did not freeze in the winter.  After turning on your outside water faucet do a quick check of you water pipes, if you hear water leaking immediately go to your water shut off value and turn it off.
  • Insulate- Insulate hot and cold water pipes to prevent freezing, especially those in a garage, attic or exterior wall.
    Emergency - Insulated Pipes
    Emergency - Pipe Burst
  • Drain Water Lines- If it is extremely cold or your heat isn’t working, turn off your main water valve and open all faucets in your home to drain and release pressure from water lines.  This may prevent pressurized lines from freezing and bursting, causing a water damage.  When you turn the water back on inspect your home for leaks because if the pipe broke while it was frozen, it will not leak until it thaws out or the water pressure is turned back on.
  • Keep Garage Doors Closed- Especially during cold weather if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinet Doors- This will allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let Water Drip From Faucets Served by Exposed Pipes.  Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle will help prevent pipes from freezing during below freezing tempatures.
  • Winterize- If your home will be vacant for the winter have a professional winterize your home’s plumbing.  At the least turn off your main water valve and temporarily open all faucets to drain any pressure from the supply water lines.
  • Sprinkler Systems- Turn off and drain.

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