This is an excerpt from the article “Protect Your Home from Water and Moisture Damage.” For more information, please visit www.weather.com.
Prevent Water Damage Through Good Home Maintenance
You can help prevent future leaks and water intrusion by regularly inspecting the following elements in your home and making sure they remain in good condition.
Flashing: Flashing, which is typically a thin metal strip found around doors, windows, thresholds, chimneys, and roofs, is designed to prevent water intrusion in spaces where two different building surfaces meet.
Vents: All vents, including clothes dryer, gable vents, attic vents, and exhaust vents, should have hoods, exhaust to the exterior, be in good working order, and have boots.
Attics: Check for holes, air leaks, or bypasses from the house and make sure there is enough insulation to keep house heat from escaping. Among other things, air leaks and inadequate insulation results in ice damming. If ice dams collect around the lower edge of a roof, rain or melted snow can back up under the shingles and into the attic or the house. Check the bottom side of the roof sheathing and roof rafters or truss for water stains.
Basements: Make sure that basement windows and doors have built-up barriers or flood shields. Inspect sump pumps to ensure they work properly. A battery backup system is recommended. The sump pump should discharge as far away from the house as possible.
Humidity: The relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%. (We offer an Indoor Humidity calculator on the Home Planner Welcome Page.) Condensation on windows, wet stains on walls and ceilings, and musty smells are signs that you may have too much humidity in your home. Check areas where air does not easily circulate, such as behind curtains, under beds, and in closets for dampness and mildew. Be sure to use bathroom exhaust fans following warm showers or baths. When going on trips, turn the temperature up on the air conditioning, not off. The air conditioning system helps remove moisture from your home. If you are concerned about the humidity level in your home, consult with a mechanical contractor or air conditioning repair company to determine if your HVAC system is properly sized and in good working order.
Air Conditioners: Check drain pans to insure they drain freely, are adequately sloped toward the outlets and that no standing water is present. Make sure drain lines are clean and clear of obstructions. Drain pan overflows usually occur the first time the unit is turned on in the spring. Clean prior to first use with compressed air or by pouring a water-bleach solution down the drain line until it flows freely.
Expansion Joints: Expansion joints are materials between bricks, pipes, and other building materials that absorb movement. If expansion joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can occur. If there are cracks in the joint sealant, remove the old sealant, install a backer rod and fill with a new sealant.