How to Prevent Water Damage from a Leaking Water Heater

Posted by Brian Culbertson on Jan 29, 2019 5:21:00 PM

Leaking-Water-HeaterImagine the damage your water heater can cause to your home if it were to suddenly burst. A pressurized, unlimited amount of water can flood your basement or other areas, ruining carpeting, drywall, furniture and more.

These damages are both costly and troublesome, plus, moisture can cause future problems if mold growth follows.

In order to prevent this kind of damage, you must be mindful of your water heater’s condition. Here’s some important things to look for when protecting your SWFL home:

Signs your Water Heater is About to Quit

Oftentimes homeowners are taken by surprise when their water heater goes, having no warning at all before their home is flooded! Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prepare for this costly, destructive event.

  1. Know the age of your water heater. How old is it? The lifespan of most water heaters is around seven years. The older your unit gets, the higher the likelihood problems will arise, like slow leaks or the probability of bursts. As your water heater reaches its life expectancy, increase awareness and be on the lookout for issues— or start shopping for a new unit.

  2. Invest in annual inspections. A plumber or professional inspector will see issues you might not. They’ll test the shut-off valve, inspect the piping and give your unit a good once-over to ensure it’s running strong. A trained eye will know where to check for signs of rust or normal wear, and be able to warn you of possible issues.

  3. Be especially mindful of your anode rod. Many water heaters are made of steel, with a thin interior lining of glass to guard against corrosion. With age, this lining can crack. Luckily, your unit will have an anode rod, made of metal, designed to attract rust. These rods only last about five years, but replacing it can help extend the lifespan of an older water heater. Here’s some step-by-step directions for replacing your anode rod.

  4. Insulate your tank. According to Energy.gov, insulating your water heater tank can reduce heat loss by 25%–45% and save you about 7%–16% in water heating costs. At that rate, the insulation costs will pay for itself after only one year. A lined tank can help to reduce the chance of corrosion and resulting leaks. Here’s how to do it.

  5. Don’t neglect maintenance. At least once a year, your tank should be flushed to remove the collection of corrosive sediments in the water. This is something many homeowners choose to do themselves to save money. Simply attach your garden hose to the valve at the base of the water heater and flush it with hot water until the unit naturally cools. Remember, heaters keep water at 130 to 140 degrees F, so this step is vital. Be sure to follow these instructions for flushing.

Is Water Intrusion Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

While most home insurance policies do not protect you from forms of flooding from natural disasters (requiring a completely separate flood insurance plan), the right homeowners insurance may cover burst pipes and water heater leaks.

However, there are exceptions. If your insurance company determines the damage was due to negligence (i.e. your water heater was really old and needed to be replaced), your provider may not cover you.

If your well-standing water heater had problems as the result of an accident or unpredictable event, certain plans will cover the cleanup and removal of the water, replacement of structural walls or damaged parts of your home as well as replacement of damaged furnishings.

The plan will likely not cover the repair of the water heater unit itself, though, or to replace it.

Do you have questions about your current coverage? Seeking a new policy? Get a free homeowners insurance quote from us, today.  

Our team at Culbertson Agency can help you ensure your valuables are safe in the event of water heater leak or other water damage.

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Topics: Homeowner's Insurance

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