Beware of Water – Design, Maintenance and Mitigation Tips
One of the most common causes of damage to a home is water. Flooding can happen in a number of different ways, and it can lead to multiple, expensive complications, including mold. Homeowners should be aware of some critical steps that can prevent or mitigate water damage.
Water problems can come from the interior and exterior of the home through rain or damaged plumbing. When planning a custom, dream size home, attention to details can make a major difference in protecting from a water disaster. Situating the home in the right part of the lot and adequate drainage for the garden are only a beginning. AV Architects + Builders also emphasizes a design that focuses on the main floor, with half the living space located there, and a much smaller footprint in the lower level. This keeps the most used parts of the house above flood lines. Finally, all plumbing walls need to be below the frost line or in interior walls. But to make sure that the plumbing doesn’t impact the look of the house, we will occasionally build a double wall to so that the water pipe is never in the exterior wall.
Modern custom homes also need certain appliances to help in the event of a leak or a flood. A smart home should include water sensors and a smart water cut-off valve. These solutions that give the homeowner notices about potential problems in real time and allow them to shut off the water from their phone.
We spoke to Colleen Shumaker of Paul Davis Restoration for some suggestions of small appliances to have on hand. PDR is a Northern Virginia company that specializes in restoring homes damaged by floods as well as fires and other disasters. She immediately identified a whistle fan, a dehumidifier, and a wet-dry shop vacuum cleaner. All of these are inexpensive and available at major retailers. These are the homeowner’s version of the industrial appliances used by PDR when they come to deal with a major flood. If there is a small leak or flood, immediate action with these appliances can make a huge difference.
We strongly recommend that our homeowners do regular maintenance to make sure that their home is safe from water. Draining and shutting off the exterior-feeding pipes and hoses for winter is one step. Colleen also suggests that checking your sump pump and French drains should be on your list of annual things to do around the home.
Sometimes, all the prevention in the world can’t stop the water from pouring. In order to minimize the damage and make repairs go smoothly, Colleen thinks you should start before there’s a problem. “Take pictures of your home, especially the basement. This will help identify damaged personal property for an insurance claim and give the restoration company an image of what you want to return to.” Also, every homeowner should know where their water shut-off valve is located. AV Architects + Builders always labels this critical valve for the homeowner’s reference. Finally, have a plan in place so that you know who to call in the event of a flood. Every home should have a binder with this sort of critical information so that the professionals can be called as soon as there’s a problem.
We never like to hear about a flood in a home, but good design, preparation and mitigation can keep the damage to a minimum. If you want your dream home design to minimize risk while giving you a space where you feel like you are on vacation year-round, contact us for a free consultation.