Water damage in the workplace can be a devastating blow: Not only can it cost you quite a bit to clean up, but it can also slow – or even shut down – your business operations.
Whether it’s managing the distraction, sending employees home for the cleanup, or losing equipment and records, water damage will inevitably cause your business to take a hit.
Here are some strategies to prevent water damage from happening.
The Usual Suspects
Determining where water might come from can go a long way in preventing water damage in the workplace. Here are some possible water sources to investigate:
Common sources for water damage include the water heater, clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and air conditioning units. The age of an appliance is a major factor; over time, for example, appliances that produce condensation often rust, increasing the chances of a leak.
Water supply hoses on washing machines and dishwashers also may develop leaks. Hundreds of gallons of water can escape, and significant damage can occur to the building and property inside.
PIPES AND DRAINS
Plumbing systems are susceptible to clogs and stoppages, which can lead to overflowing appliances such as toilets, sinks, and washing machines. Grease buildup in kitchen sinks, lint accumulation in dryers, and roots in sewer lines are some of the reasons for clogs and stoppages.
In the winter, pipes can freeze, burst and damage the building and the occupants’ personal property. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.
Deteriorated, missing or damaged roofing materials, and ice dams can allow water to enter through the roof and damage ceilings, walls and floors. Inadequate attic insulation and ventilation can speed up a roof’s decay and contribute to the formation of ice dams. Exposure to wind, snow, ice, rain, and foot traffic can also affect a roof’s ability to keep water out.
Dealing With It: Your Building’s Interior
Look over your equipment; if you see something that worries you, it’s probably time to get involved. Here are some things you can do.
- Make sure hose connections are secure on water supply lines to washing machines, icemakers, dishwashers, and other appliances that use water.
- Re-caulk and re-grout around sinks, showers, and tubs. Leaking shower pans and loose or missing tiles should be repaired.
- Check and replace washing machine hoses regularly, especially if there are signs of cracking, bulging, or other deterioration.
- Follow the recommended maintenance procedures for all appliances and equipment. This includes periodically draining a portion of the water out of the water heater to flush out the sediment in the bottom of the tank. (Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)
- Regular maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor will help keep air conditioner pan drain lines clear of deposits that can clog the line.
- When the weather turns cold, a trickle of water from both hot and cold faucets may help prevent frozen pipes. Another good idea is to open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- Insulate water pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures or drafts, such as those located in garages and basements, to help reduce the chance of leaks from frozen pipes.
Dealing With It: Your Building’s Exterior
Water can also come from outside sources. Do you think you’re at risk? If so, here are some steps to consider:
- Hire a professional roofing contractor to promptly repair deteriorated or damaged roofing materials.
- Gutters, eaves and downspouts should be free of debris. This will allow water to drain freely. Downspouts should extend away from the building to carry water away from the foundation.
- Adding insulation and ventilation in the attic can extend the life of the roof and reduce the chance of ice dams that can cause water to back up under roofing. The insulation should be in good shape and attic vents clear.
- If your building has outdoor hose connections, disconnect them each fall to help minimize the chance of burst pipes due to freezing.
- Contact David Brandt at 406-892-1717 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at http://floodco.net/