If you paid attention in science class, you may have learned that water is the universal solvent, able to dissolve even the hardest materials when given enough time and the right opportunities. Great natural formations like the Grand Canyon were carved by water, providing ample evidence of its awesome power to create and to destroy.

If the Grand Canyon was carved by nothing more than water, what chance does a tiny structure like your home have against this universal solvent? Preventing water damage around your home is absolutely essential, as even a small leak could damage your foundation over time and cost you thousands in repair bills. Here are some tips to prevent water damage in and around your home.

  • Clean your gutters, or invest in a gutter cleaning service. Keeping your gutters clean is one of the most important things you can do to prevent water damage.
  • Check your roof for damage after every winter storm, and especially after every windstorm. High winds and heavy snow can loosen shingles and compromise your roof.
  • Position your downspouts so they are between 5 and 10 feet away from your home. You want to direct that rainwater out and away from the foundation.
  • Do not wait until a storm to check your sump pump. Check the pump at least once a year to make sure it will function properly when you need it.
  • Examine your home for water leaks, and fix them promptly. Never let a known water leak go unattended.
  • Make sure all family members know where the water main is and how to turn it off. Turn off the water main before you go on vacation; the last thing you want is to come home to a flood.
  • Have your roof thoroughly inspected by a professional once a year. There are some things even the most conscientious homeowner just cannot see, and there is no substitute for an experienced set of eyes— and a long ladder. They'll let you know if you need re-roofing in order to avoid future water issues. 

Water leaks, missing shingles, damaged downspouts and leaking gutters can really do a number on your home. When left unattended and unrepaired, those seemingly simple problems could cause extensive damage to every part of your home. In extreme cases, that water damage can result in a cracked or otherwise compromised foundation and even make your home unstable and unsafe. If you want to avoid those dire consequences and high expenses, you need to monitor your home for water leaks and other damage, starting with the tips outlined above.