Church water damage can often be traced to the humble water heater. Sitting quietly in a utility room, this faithful appliance doesn’t appear to need maintenance. But when it breaks down, a water heater can lose 40 to 60 gallons of water in a slow leak or sudden gush. Understanding why water heaters fail and taking preventive measures can extend the life of your water heater and possibly prevent flooding and water damage.
Nearly 70 percent of all water heater failures were caused by a tank bursting or leaking, according to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.
Another 10 percent of water heaters failed because their supply lines gave out, the IIBHS study found.
Supply line failures are happening more frequently due to the use of flexible, stainless steel supply lines, according to an article that appeared in Subrogator magazine. Before the year 2000, most water heater supply lines were made of copper pipe.
Most of the failures in the IIBHS study happened once the heater reached the end of its useful life and the tank had begun to rust and corrode. On average, water heaters fail at 10.7 years. About 75 percent of the water heaters studied died by the time they were 12.
The Department of Energy suggests that you begin looking at new water heaters if your current heater is more than seven years old.
Signs that your water heater may be ending its useful life include:
If your water heater has hit the seven-year mark, or if any of these signs are present, you may wish to have a professional inspect the unit.
Regular inspections and maintenance are your best defense against water heater problems. Here’s what you can do:
On average, each water heater failure causes at least $4,000 worth of damage. By keeping a close eye on this hard-working appliance, you can extend its life and replace it before it bursts.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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