Tips to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

More than 40% of all home-related insurance claims are due to water damage. In order to prevent water...

Sep 04 2014

Tips to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

More than 40% of all home-related insurance claims are due to water damage. In order to prevent water damage affecting your home, it is important to be proactive and protect yourself from possible leaks and floods.

Here are a few tips to help keep your home dry:

Pipes, Drainage & Ventilation

Pipes • Arrange to have your pipes and plumbing inspected every 6 months to ensure that there are no leaks or cracks that are in need of repair.
• Insulate pipes to prevent freezing in the colder months. Frozen pipes can burst if they are not insulated when the weather starts getting warmer.
• Install an accessible backflow valve to prevent water backup. These valves close automatically if the sewer backs up and can prevent thousands of dollars in damage.
• Check for any kinks or bends in copper or plastic lines.
• Repair any leaking or dripping faucets.
• Make sure that the air in your home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, is well ventilated to avoid condensation.
• Know where your water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off.


• Do not leave your washing machine in use when you are not at home.
• Leave 2–4 inches of space between the back of the washing machine and the wall to prevent kinking near the connections. Also, make sure that the connections are tight.

Sump Pumps

Sump Pump

• If you have a sump pump in your home, ensure that nothing is blocking it and that it can flow freely when it is emptied. If the pit/hole is not kept clear of debris, it can get caught, clog up, and cause sewer backup. It is also recommended that you perform test-runs on your sump if it does not get used on a regular basis.

Roofs, Gutters/Downspouts & Foundations


• Annual inspections on your roof can ensure that any missing or loose shingles are seen and replaced accordingly.
• Check for any pooling liquid around your foundation and find a way to lead it away from the house. Melting snow or heavy rain can cause the water to sit next to your home and could contribute to a leak.
• Gutters and downspouts should be kept clear of debris. You can also use downspout extensions to place the run-off as far from your home as possible.



• When installing drywall, allow a gap of approximately 1 inch between the floor and the drywall so that it is less likely to soak up any water that may be on the floor.

Drywall (tile) 2 Drywall (tile)      

• If you are installing tiles in a basement, bathroom or laundry area, cut the tile into thirds and run it along the bottom of the drywall instead of a traditional wooden trim. This will help to seal the bottom of the drywall so in case of a minor overflow from a sink, toilet, shower or washing machine, the water will not seep onto the trim or drywall.


Review your insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for any additional damages. While some home plans may not insure items such as overland flooding or sewer backup, you have the option to add extra coverage. It is important to know what your policy includes so that in the event of any damage occurring you will experience fewer surprises. These are just some of the preventative steps you can take to lower the chances of water damage to your home or business.

Please Note: These TIPs are professionally-informed suggestions only. It is important to always use caution and treat any affected environments and/or materials as contaminated. On Side Restoration Services is one of Canada’s leading and privately-owned restoration companies. Since 1979 we have been on your side, earning trust and credibility among clients and business to business partners along the way. Restoring damaged homes and businesses and often the contents within, around the clock/365 days a year, is what we do.

31 Responses to Tips to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

  1. Edmond Vandergraff June 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    It was raining pretty hard every day last week, and I realized that our drainage in our yard is not up to par. I’m going to have to go look at my rain gutters and downspouts this week for sure. I do not want to have to repair my foundation anytime soon. Water damage can really destroy a home so quickly. http

  2. Emily Smith June 10, 2015 at 6:58 am

    This is just the information I was looking for about water damage. My husband and I just moved to an area that sometimes has flash floods when it rains a lot. We want to take every precaution we can! We also better make sure there is a water damage restoration company we can be prepared to call if something does happen.
    Emily Smith |

    • Kerri Brown June 22, 2015 at 7:12 am

      Thank you for your comments Emily. Please note that not all restoration companies are created equal. Although we don’t wish any emergency restoration requirements for your home, should something happen we hope that On Side could take care of you and your family.

  3. Douglas Brown June 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I think that a lot of these, particularly things like knowing where the shut-off valve is, are things that any home owner can/should know. However, I feel that other things are a little out of my depth of skill. Having someone on hand when you need it is equally important, even if you never have to use them. Regardless, I will be taking these to heart to make sure that my home is protected.

  4. Ellen Banks June 16, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I noticed a few days ago that my washing machine was leaking water all over the floor. Your suggestion to leave space between the washing machine and wall is very helpful. This will hopefully prevent water damage in the future.

  5. Courtney Blain July 15, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Nobody likes to find out they have water damage in their home. Maybe I should find someone to come take a look at my basement. We live in an area prone to flooding, and we get lots of rain. Hopefully, my basement isn’t completely rotted out.

    • Kerri Brown August 28, 2015 at 8:29 am

      It is a great idea to have your basement checked out and be proactive in this way. It’s surprising (and fingers crossed) where water sits or manages to drain, despite being a flood prone area. Good luck Courtney!

  6. Delores Lyon August 24, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Thanks for sharing this advice on preventing water damage in your home. I had no idea that proper ventilation in your home is required to prevent water from getting into your home as well. It definitely sounds like it is a good idea to have a good handle on your pipes AND your HVAC system to keep it protected.

  7. Jason Strong August 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Some good friend’s of mine had some water damage done to their home and I don’t want it happening to me. Ever since then, I’ve been looking for ways to improve my home’s foundation so that nothing bad happens to me. This has some great insights that will help me further my knowledge on how to keep this from happening.

  8. Callie Marie August 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    My husband and I rented apartments for years before we moved into our first house, so we are still new to the concept of taking care of a home. Trimming the drywall with tile is such a good idea for preventing water damage. Our bathroom walls and trim are constantly soggy, so I think I might replace the wood with tile like the kind in the picture!

  9. DoloresB September 1, 2015 at 6:31 am

    I like that you point out how common water damage is and then you take about ways to prevent it. Homeowners need to know what steps they can take to minimize the chance of water damage. Otherwise they can have big problems with a lot of things that need repairs, because water is quick about it’s work.

  10. Olivia Sherwin October 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to have your pipes inspected every six months. In the past, I’ve had that done annually, but I didn’t realize that they should be checked so frequently! I’ll definitely look into having someone come and inspect them every six months from now on so I can prevent water damage to my house. Thanks for the great post!

  11. Drew April 21, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I can’t stand doing laundry so I can’t imagine if I accidentally flooded my house because I left the washer on. That wouldn’t be worth it at all. Good advice for preventing water damage though. That’s the best course of action you can take.

  12. Nash Rich June 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I can believe that more than 40% of home-related insurance claims are due to water damage. I just saw a big Texas flood on the news yesterday, and I think they had that problem last year, along with other states. I learned that gutters and downspouts are a lot more important than I thought. Last year, we had them off for a week, and we had a crazy rain storm. Water went everywhere!

  13. Gregory Willard June 30, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I had no idea that you should leave 2-4 inches of space between the back of the washer and the wall. I try my best to keep our house damage free, and repaired. I will have to go move the washer so that we won’t have to worry.

  14. Annalevis July 13, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    That are the amazing tips for preventing water damage in our home. I keep trying those tips to keep my home well maintained.

  15. William White September 14, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I’m glad you touched upon downspouts. I do mold remediation and I cannot tell you how many people don’t check to see if their downspouts are working correctly. After a big rain, they have water coming from their walls in the basement. This is due to their downspouts not pointing far enough away from the house to remove the water.

  16. Joy Butler January 31, 2017 at 8:59 am

    I agree that it is wise to have a valve that is accessible to you so that you can prevent water backup. Having your sewer back up can be very expensive to repair, it could require ripping up your yard. It seems like a good idea to be vigilant and to ask your neighbors to be as well so that you are aware of any problems early on.

  17. Burt Silver February 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for mentioning to have your pipes and plumbing inspected every few months to make sure there are no leaks or cracks. We had a pipe burst last year that caused a lot of water damage. We will have to make sure we have our plumbing inspected regularly to avoid another disaster.

  18. Megan Alder April 4, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I have never even thought about checking my gutters for any debris. I’ll have to ask my husband to take a look at the later today. Our neighbor just recently had some pretty bad flooding in her house, so I’m hoping that won’t happen to our house. I’ll have to consult with a professional about any tips to prevent that from happening.

  19. Daniel September 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I like how you pointed out that often times the issue of malfunctioning rain gutters or downspouts can be fixed by replacing them. My wife and I just bought a new home and we are so glad to have a well-working drainage system. Our home is an investment, however, so it is definitely important to us that if something did go wrong that we’d want to get new ones. I think anyone that suspects these issues should look into finding a professional who does gutter repairs and replacements.

  20. Brent F. October 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I have made the mistake of leaving the washing machine running while I was gone, and let’s just say when I got home, I was in some deep water. Wish I would have seen these tips earlier. Thanks for sharing the information.

  21. Ivy Baker November 16, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    This is some really good information about burst pipes. It does seem like a good idea to have a professional help with putting in a sump pump. Personally, I wouldn’t want to worry about burst pipes destroying my home. It seems like a sump pump would be able to help prevent that.

  22. Sutton Turner March 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

    I appreciate you mentioning knowing where your water shut-off valve is and how to turn it off. We recently flooded our home and now have water damage all over the floor. Thanks for the tips on preventing water damage.

  23. Rick Canfield April 1, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Excellent home tips. Apart from natural disaster water incidents, these are the common water damage causes which may happen from day by day home use. Thank you for the very helpful reminders.

  24. Jay May 24, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I love that tile trim advice you gave! I can see how that would prevent easy water damage in a bathroom. I will have to see if we have any extra pieces of tile so I can do something like that. Do you have any tips to protect cabinets too?

  25. Gerty Gift June 20, 2018 at 7:27 am

    I really liked what you said about arranging to have a plumber come inspect the pipes every six months. We had a problem with our pipes and didn’t realize it until we started moving a few things around. We have some water damage and we don’t really know how to get it all cleaned up. We’ll probably hire someone for that, but we’ll also make sure that we have our pipes checked regularly so that we can avoid something like this happening in the future.

  26. Lilia Robberts July 6, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Having a home that floods is not an option. Last week my son left the kitchen water on while I was at work, and it flooded the kitchen, I do not want that to happen again because we are remolding everything. Thank you for sharing that to keep my home safe from water that I should make sure I have good air ventilation in my bathroom and kitchen. Along with this, I want to look more into floor troughs to catch water.

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