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Certain home appliances are known for failures that lead to major property damage.

Common appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers require regular maintenance but rarely receive the attention they need to avoid busted pipes, leaks, and other problems that result in water damage.

Avoid major property repairs by knowing what to look for and how to protect your home. Here’s how to respond swiftly to appliance failures in your home.

Turn Off Main Water Supply

Before addressing the appliance directly, you’ll need to shut off the main water supply to your home. There are two types of valves: the main or master valve, which stops the flow to the entire home, and individual or supply valves that connect to specific appliances or fixtures. Look for the main water valve and turn it off.

If the valve has a round handle, turn it clockwise to stop the flow. If the valve is a lever, turn the handle perpendicular to the water line.

Some appliances have a supply valve located near the water line to the unit. If this is easier to get to at first, turn it off; but you’ll still want to find the main water supply and shut it off, too.

Learn where these important water valves are and how to turn them on and off. This will reduce the amount of damage if something goes unexpectedly wrong.

Dishwashers and Refrigerators

There are two appliances in the kitchen that can cause water damage: dishwashers and refrigerators.

Dishwashers have a hot water line that’s prone to leaks near or at the connection, a door gasket that should remain tight, and a drain that must remain clear.

Also, keep an eye on the float switch. This important mechanism tells the dishwasher to stop filling with water. A broken switch can quickly lead to flooding.

Look for specific manufacture information behind the dishwasher’s toe plate or behind the front panel. Always review the safety information before working with home appliances.

To avoid property damage: 

  • Periodically check for leaks under the sink where hoses connect to the water supply.
  • Annually look around the base of each appliance for leaks, discoloration, warped flooring materials, or water damage to nearby cabinets.
  • If your refrigerator has an ice maker, make sure the hose connection is securely attached to the water supply line.

Washing Machine

Washing machine failures are common when regular maintenance falls to the wayside. The hot and cold-water hoses, for example, should be replaced every four to five years, even if they look like they’re in good shape. These hoses are subject to damage if a washing machine vibrates violently or moves during a wash cycle.

If you’re dealing with a washer malfunction, locate the supply value and turn off the water flow. If you can’t find the supply valve, locate the main water valve and turn that off.

When caught early, a washing machine failure doesn’t have to be a major disaster. But if you’re not at home when disaster strikes, overflow can cause serious damage, especially if the washer is located on a second or third floor.

If there’s more water than towels or a Wet Vac can handle, call the experts at Professional Restoration for immediate relief.

Call Professional Restoration at 303-922-4001 for disaster relief 24/7.

Clothes Dryer

Cleaning out a dryer’s lint trap after each load is not enough to keep the ductwork completely clean and clear. Clogged air vents and ductwork can lead to dryer inefficiency and could also start a fire.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property damage.

Again, second-floor appliances pose other risks: longer duct-work can trap lint rather than appropriately venting it out of the home, which can increase the chances of accidental ignition.

To avoid property damage:

  • Once a month, use your vacuum’s smallest attachment to suction the lint slot.
  • Once a year, unplug the dryer, disconnect the vent tube and vacuum it out.
  • If your dryer doesn’t vent directly outside, consider hiring a professional duct cleaner.

Water Heater

Short of fire, nothing causes more damage to a property than a busted water heater. Water heaters hold and continuously transfer water from the time of instillation to replacement or failure. This results in normal sediment buildup in pipes, fixtures, and the tank itself, which can lead to massive failure if not maintained.

Water heaters should be drained once a year to eliminate sediment build up on the bottom of the tank. Follow your owner’s manual for best instruction on how to perform this maintenance.

Check the area around the bottom of the tank periodically. When a water heater’s bottom becomes corroded, the whole tank may give out causing a deluge of continuously running water.

If you notice a leak, call for service or replacement immediately. A small leak can turn into a sudden flood without warning.

Toilet

Toilets commonly cause water damage if the wax seal on the bottom wears out or the inlet hose develops a leak. The hoses used for the cold-water inlet are normally strong, but you should check the connecting ends for leakage at least once a year.

Toilets don’t normally flood a home; however, a leak can still cause serious damage. By checking the seal and water connection regularly, home owners can reduce the chances of a leak significantly.

Got More Water Damage than You Can Manage?

Don’t let appliance failures cause additional stress. Keep up on regular maintenance and fix issues early and often.

As with all water damage, mitigating the problem quickly will help prevent costly repairs and possibly mold or wood rot. Unfortunately, time isn’t always on your side when disaster strikes, and you’ll need to call professionals to fix the problem.

You can count on Professional Restoration to Respond, Recover and Restore your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have water, fire, or smoke damage, call our specialty technicians and schedule a FREE estimate at 303-922-4001.

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