Harris, Reed & Seiferth
A leaking water heater will do a lot of damage to your home. Even a small, slow leak can soak into the particle board subflooring and cause the subfloor to decay. Leaking water may also seep into carpeting, create mildew and permanently stain your walls. As awful as this sounds, a faulty water heater can cause even greater damage. Fire or toxic fumes from a water heater that is not properly installed or maintained could pose a real threat to you and your family.
Fortunately, most water heater problems can be avoided with proper maintenance.
All water heaters should be frequently checked for leaks. It's important to check the pipe connections, the valves and underneath the unit. Simple preventive maintenance will help you avoid lasting damage from a leaking water heater.
Take time to test the temperature/pressure relief valve once a year to make sure it's working. Be careful when you do. The water in the tank is HOT and can cause scalding burns. Pull up or push down on the valve handle; hot water should come out of the overflow pipe. If it does, the valve is working properly.
Periodically drain a bucket of water from the drain faucet at the bottom of the water tank. Again, take care not to get burned by the hot water. Draining a bucket of water will remove sediment from the tank bottom that could corrode the unit as well as reduce its heating efficiency.
Check all water lines, connections and valves for signs of leakage, especially where connections have been crimped. With a flashlight, check under the tank for small leaks that could be caused by rust and corrosion.
You can protect the floor under the water heater from water damage by painting the area with a water sealant. If you do, be sure you've turned off the heat source to the water heater. Otherwise, you may create a fire hazard.
Since particleboard may be damaged if it's soaked, consider replacing it with plywood flooring. You can install a specially designed drip pan under the water heater. These pans are available at most building supply stores for about $10. Make sure the pan you select has a drain out the bottom.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: If your water heater doesn't have a temperature/pressure relief valve, install one. This is a safeguard every water heater should have – it's an inexpensive attachment that can save you thousands of dollars, especially on home insurance. After you have installed the valve, test it. Open the lever on the valve. If water spurts out, the valve is working.
Why buy a vacant home? One of the biggest perks is being able to make the home whatever you want it to be. You can make it your new home, create a vacation home, rent it out, or fix it up and sell it to someone else. In some cases the seller may be willing to sell a vacant home cheaper than an occupied home. This is good news for you because you can save some money, but it could also mean something might be wrong with the house. It may need a little love, attention and renovating. Before you purchase a vacant home, here are a few things to do and watch out for:
Ask for an inspection from a professional and take notes on what they discover. You'll want to know what's broken, what needs to be fixed and what could possibly go wrong. (Note: Be prepared to pay for the home's electricity to be on for the duration of the inspection).
Since vacant homes can sit for quite some time, critters may come in and make themselves at home. Although they are usually small animals such as mice or bats, they can cause damage to a vacant house. Those unwanted critters can eat at the floors, carpets, walls and wiring. Be aware that you may need to hire a pest control service, and this could be costly based on the number of animals and the amount of damage.
There may be plumbing issues that have caused dried and cracked seals, slow faucets, leaks and other issues. If the heat hasn't been on and the temperatures dropped, the pipes could be at risk to freeze or burst (if they haven't already).
The previous owner may not have unplugged their indoor appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, or let them dry out. There may be mold inside from the moisture being trapped. Having appliances plugged in with no one there could result in a fire (if the electric was on). Appliances in the house may become unusable due to long periods of sitting with no use, which means you will need new ones.
Remember, molds can grow on more than just appliances! Check for mold in the walls, floors, pipes…everywhere! Some molds may cause health issues, so if mold is found during your inspection, you may want to rethink purchasing the home. Talk with your inspector about the extremity and presence of mold, and evaluate the safety risks.
There are other potential sources of damage. For example, break-ins are more likely when a home appears empty, and windows, doors and other items could be damaged by the intruder. Storms are another danger. Debris could hit the home and cause damage that may have gone undetected. Always thoroughly inspect the home before buying!
There are a lot of things to do and watch out for before purchasing a vacant home, but the possibilities of what the home could be are endless. If you are looking to buy a vacant home but haven't found one yet, there are a few ways to move forward. Look online, talk to neighbors, get a realtor or simply drive around. There are more vacant homes than you think…happy hunting!
Do you have more advice on buying vacant homes? Let us know in the comments!
Welcome to our new insurance agency blog!
This is our very first post. We're not quite sure what we're going to write about here, but the plan is to create helpful content for customers and prospective clients about information that is relevant to you.
We hope you'll come to view this as a top resource for keeping your family and your finances safe.
Here are a few of the topics we may be writing about:
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