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Tips for Preventing Water Damage

Water damage poses a significant threat to sorority chapter houses, often resulting in costly repairs, business interruptions, and reputation damage. In this resource, we share tips and strategies to effectively prevent water damage and safeguard the integrity of sorority chapter houses. For a shorter, visual resource, click here.

Prevent sewer and wastewater system backups

  • Pay special attention during times of heavy rain, as sewers can get overwhelmed, becoming blocked, resulting in a back-up causing polluted water to flow directly into the chapter house.
  • Have an emergency plan for shutting down inflow systems.
  • Install water detection sensors behind these systems.

Prevent Water Heater Issues

  • The typical lifespan of a water heater is 8-10 years so have a replacement program in place.
  • Routinely look for signs of rust and corrosion.
  • Keep water pressure no higher than 80 psi / 552 kFa
  • Install a catch pan (drip pan) under the heater to catch small leaks
  • Install water detection sensors behind these systems

Keep HVAC Equipment Working Well

  • Look for clogged drains, frozen evaporator coils, and pipes not properly connected, which are primary culprits of HVAC leaks.
  • Change filters regularly to keep unit from overworking.
  • Make sure condensation drain line is clear on a monthly basis.
  • Install water detection sensors especially in unheated spaces that have piping concealed.

Pay Attention to the Plumbing

Domestic plumbing is the primary culprit of water damage. Most claims involve leaking pipes caused by corrosion, pipe burst, or failure. Failure to prevent and control corrosion is the root cause. Unfortunately, most corrosion is internal and is not easily identified. Galvanic corrosion is one of the most common types of corrosion.

  • Look for visible corrosion
  • Listen and watch for rattling, shock or vibration when water is turned on or off, which might indicate a piping support issue
  • Replace piping that is over forty years old
  • Look for blue or green staining on sinks or taps, which indicates high concentrations of carbon dioxide.
  • Check for acidic water and treat hard water.

Plumbing in Bathrooms and Kitchens

  • Keep an eye on toilets, sinks, and other common bathroom fixtures, especially in multi-story houses with stacked plumbing. Make sure resident members bring all leaks to the attention of either the House Director or the Collegiate House Officer.
  • Inspect all plumbing hoses periodically, especially their coupling connections.
  • Replace hoses that show signs of imminent failure. Most manufacturers recommend hoses to be replaced every 3-5 years.
  • Install water detection sensors under sinks, dishwashers, ice makers, laundry washing machines and other appliances.

To Keep Roofs from Leaking

  • Conduct routine inspection and maintenance
  • Repair all conditions that affect the viability of the roof
  • Unclog roof drains and gutters
  • Safely remove excess snow and ice from the roof