Protect your home from water damage
Damage resulting from water is a hot topic with owners and insurance companies. In response to conversations with insurance brokers, owners and tenants about water damage, we have created some property management tips to help you protect yourself and your property.
Using Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s experience dealing with a variety
of different issues, we are proud to share our experience.
Summarized as 3 simple tips, find out what you can do to prevent a water leak and how to respond in the event you experience a water loss:
TIP #1: Before you move in:
Review the condominium bylaws and your mortgage to make sure you understand what you are required to insure. You can take the bylaws to your insurance broker who understands your account to discuss your insurance needs. The following are some questions to review with your broker:
- What do I need coverage for?
- What are my deductibles in the event I have a loss?
- Could I be responsible for the Corporation’s deductible if the loss is my fault? If so, can I get a deductible rider for such situations?
- If there is major damage to the property and I have to move-out, how are my living and mortgage expenses covered?
- What are considered “improvements and betterments” and I am covered?
- If I am away from my home do, I need someone to check on it? If so, how often?
- Do I have enough coverage for improvements, contents (i.e. clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.,), special assessments, liabilities, etc.?
- If I am renting out my home, do I need any different types of coverage (ie) coverage for lost income in the event of an insured loss?
TIP #2: Now that you’re home, remember:
Keep your emergency contact information handy and know where the water shut off valves are.
In the event of a leak, know who to call and when. Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can be reached at its 24-hour emergency line: 403-237-8600. For useful emergency contacts visit our recent blog: “What is an Emergency”
Typically, the water shut off valves for your home will be:
- Apartment: Usually there will be a shut off valve in any room where water is used. Example: under the bathroom sink or next to the toilet tank. In the event you have in floor heating, there should be a few valves in a closet or the laundry room. You can use these valves to turn off the water for your unit.
- Single family home or townhome: Usually there will be a shut off valve in any room where water is used. Example: under the bathroom sink, next to the toilet tank. The main shut off valve is typically found in the basement or ground floor where the pipes come into the house. Don’t forget to check the garage if it is attached to the house. If you have an internal water meter, the valve will be on the pipe going to the meter.
FYI – Shut off valves for washing machines and dishwashers are typically located behind the machine on the pipes. Carefully turn the tap clockwise to shut off the water supply. Do not force the valve because you don’t want to break it.
TIP #3: Prevent water damage
There are some simple things you can do to avoid unnecessary water leaks.
- Contract a professional when completing plumbing repairs, replacements or upgrades
- Never leave running water taps unattended.
- Don’t leave washers or dishwashers running when you are not home or while you are sleeping
- Only use a toilet for what it was intended for. To keep your toilet and pipes clog-free, avoid disposing:
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels & tissues
- Personal products: Q-tips, cotton pads, sanitary items, condoms, dental floss
- Cigarette butts
- Kitty litter
- Cooking grease and food
- Test your toilet for leaks periodically throughout the year by dropping some food colouring into the toilet tank. If the colouring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
- Never leave a toilet running. Be sure it has stopped filling prior to leaving your home. If the toilet takes a long time to fill, there may be a leak in the tank or the fill valve may be stuck open.
- If you will be away for an extended period, have a trusted friend or neighbour check in on your home. Often, your insurance policy will have a requirement that you need to have your home inspected regularly when you are away.
- During cold weather, make sure your heat is set at a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius. Typically, this is a good rule of thumb, but your home may be different. Temperatures should register at 15-21 in cold weather to avoid frozen pipes.
- During cold weather, never leave a window open. Temperatures can fluctuate quickly and a pipe can freeze in minutes.
- If you experience a water or power outage, make sure your taps are turned to the “off” position.
Even when all the precautions have been taken, a leak can happen. In the event of a leak, a quick response is essential. This is why it is so important to know where your water shut off valves are and who to contact, especially at 2 am!
Prevention is key but If you experience a leak, the following action can help minimize losses:
- Turn off the water
- Turn off all electrical appliances in the area
- Grab a bucket and place it under the leak to catch the water, if possible
- If you live in an apartment style building and experiencing an extensive leak, check with your neighbours to make sure they aren’t flooding. Vis-versa, if you are experiencing flooding and don’t know where the water is coming from, check with your neighbours to see if they are the source.
- Call Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. at 403-237-8600 and report the leak
These maintenance tips are an important step towards mitigating the risk of water damage and keeping any damage that does occur to a minimum. Dealing with any type of leak and potential insurance claims doesn’t have to be frustrating. By implementing these types you are arming yourself with the knowledge of what you can do to prevent an emergency situation
With over 40 years of property management experience, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is trusted to respond with experience and responsive systems to assist property owners and condominium boards with these types of stressful situations. We value the opportunity to provide condominium management in Calgary & Area and available to discuss our services. Contact us to find out more!
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