There are devices that can signal an alarm when they discover moisture.
Discovering water damage at your business can be a huge pain. It can result in structural damage, mold, expensive repairs, and loss of revenue. This is a concern in Texas where “nearly every major city is vulnerable to Gulf Coast hurricanes or sits in “Flash Flood Alley”, one of the most flash flood prone areas in the nation,” according to FEMA. Society Insurance has put together these prevention measures to protect your livelihood from flooding and freezing damage.
Indoor Water Damage Prevention Measures
Check appliances regularly
Administer regular inspections and maintenance on all appliances in your business. Place importance on all appliances that have access to water lines (refrigerators, ice makers, etc.). Make sure to thoroughly review manufacturer manuals for correct maintenance protocols, cleaning procedures and cleaning agents that can be safely used in the appliance (if applicable).
Locate your water main
The water main allows you to shut off the water to your entire business. It is important that employees know where it is located and how to correctly shut it off in the event of a broken pipe. If the water main is shut off quickly during an emergency, it could be saving your business thousands of dollars in repair costs. According to FEMA, “just a single inch of floodwater [can cause] $26,807 in damages.”
Use water detection devices
Water detection devices signal an alarm when they discover moisture. These small devices strengthen water prevention efforts and are a lot more successful at detecting slow leaks and low moisture levels that might have gone unnoticed. Use them in areas near heaters, sump pumps, toilets, or other high-risk areas.
Outdoor Water Damage Prevention Measures
Check outdoor water hoses and insulate exterior spigots
Disconnect outdoor water hoses from your business and insulate exposed pipes in the winter. Standing water can freeze and swell, which can cause breaks in your pipes.
Maintain and clean gutters
Clean gutters at least twice per year to prevent puddling next to exterior walls.Making sure that water flows away from the building during downpours will prevent water from getting below the foundation.
Check the perimeter of exterior walls
Check that the ground around the outside of the business is somewhat angled to direct water away from the building blocking seepage into the foundation or basement.
Maintain window seals
Windows generally need to be replaced every 20 years or so. The best way to check window strength is during a big rainstorm or downpour. If you see water coming in through the window, it’s time to caulk around the windows.
Inspect and maintain your roof
Make certain that there are no slow leaks occurring in the attic of your business. Slow roof leaks can be hard to see but can cause severe damage with negative effects like mold and mildew.
Check sprinkler systems
If you have some greenscape, ensure that your sprinkler systems are checked regularly so they aren’t leaking or spraying water directly at your business. This is important to pay attention to during winter to make certain that there are no frozen pipes beneath the surface of your property.
Paul Fuerbringer, Society Insurance Risk Control Representative, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in Occupational Safety. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with over 33 years of experience in the safety field.