It only takes a small amount of water spilling onto floors to cause thousands of dollars in damage. Water damage can ruin your pews, hymnals, and carpeting, destroy computer equipment, and delay worship services. To save money and avoid many of the hassles associated with water damage, follow these tips for preventing some of its common causes.
Faulty pipes are the leading cause of interior water damage, making inspection and protection of your pipes a top priority. Tim Cool, founder of Smart Church Solutions, recommends performing annual testing of plumbing fixtures, like back-flow preventers. “These devices prevent water flow from your building back into the water main,” he explained. “They are most commonly found on make-up piping for chillers and boilers. They should be inspected every year by a certified back-flow inspector.”
Follow these additional recommendations to prevent damage:
Toilet failure is the second leading cause of water damage, according to a study of closed insurance claims conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). One-third of the claims reviewed were caused by an overflowing toilet, which can lead to serious damage to floors and surrounding furniture and cabinetry.
One way to reduce damage is to consider using both automated/metered fixtures and in-line excess flow-rate sensors. Tim Cool of Cool Solutions Group recommends these to not only conserve water but to limit over-use. “Fixtures that turn off automatically can limit overflows and flooding. Another advantage is lower water bills due to reduced water consumption,” he said. In-line excess flow-rate sensors allow for the water flow to be cut-off to a fixture if the preset flow-rate is exceeded.
Here are some suggestions for reducing damage:
Leaky water heaters and washing machine hoses were among the leading causes of water damage involving appliances in the IBHS study. Age is often a factor. Nearly 75 percent of water heaters failed within the first 12 years of use, according to IBHS. On average, a washing machine hose failed after eight years.
Water Heater tips:
Have a plumbing professional inspect supply lines and flush sediment from the tank annually.
Washing Machine tips:
Replace hoses every five years.
To further reduce the risk of failure, turn off the hot and cold water supply valves when the machine is not in use.
Because baptisteries are used infrequently, problems may develop unnoticed.
In addition to these precautions, you may wish to set up a routine plumbing maintenance program with a local contractor, or make sure to add all your plumbing inspections into this preventive maintenance checklist from Smart Church Solutions.
If your building is ever affected by water damage, remember to take reasonable steps, when safe, to protect your structure from further damage. This may include shutting off a water supply, having someone temporarily cover a hole in the roof, or calling someone immediately to begin water extraction.
Read more resources related to Water and Flood Damage.
Appeared in Brotherhood Mutual’s Safety News, April 24, 2019
Last updated on April 24, 2019
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