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Preventing Common Types of Water Damage in Summer

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

water shutoff valveWater damage is a year-round event that doesn’t respect the calendar. As far as timing goes, the most predictable thing about water damage is it will happen at the least expected, most inconvenient time. Still, changing seasons make certain types of water damage more likely. Paying attention to those seasonal factors helps inform effective preventive measures. Here are some summer-related water damage issues to keep in mind:

A/C Overflows

On a humid summer day, the typical central air conditioner produces as much as 20 gallons of condensate. It’s collected in the drip pan beneath the indoor air handler, then diverted down a drain line to your sewer. If the condensate drain line clogs, however, the drip pan will rapidly overflow every time the A/C cycles on. Spillage can be substantial and cause extensive water damage before anyone’s aware of it.

Check the air handler drip pan weekly with a flashlight. It’s normal for it to be wet when the A/C is operating. However, if you see standing water in the pan, turn off the unit and call a qualified HVAC service technician.

Summer Storms

Keep your gutters clear and flowing free. Summer rains can be heavy. Water from clogged, overflowing gutters may seep behind exterior siding and into wall spaces. Soil directly below the gutters also becomes over-saturated from cascading water, potentially triggering basement leaks or foundation damage. If you have a basement sump pump, make sure the sump basin is clear of obstructions. Verify pump operation by pouring a few gallons of water into the basin.

Vacation Prep

There’s no good time for household water damage. An especially bad time, however, is when you’re away on vacation. A ruptured plumbing pipe, water heater or other leak can be literally catastrophic if nobody’s home to deal with it when it happens. Locate your main water shutoff valve and test it now to see that it operates smoothly. Then, just before you leave for that well-deserved summer getaway, turn off water to the house at the valve.

Ways To Avoid A/C Water Leaks…

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

ac water leakA/C water leaks can be very stealthy and damaging as a result. Water leakage from a central air conditioner is almost always related to the condensate drip pan and drain system, located at the indoor air handler inside the house. Since the A/C evaporator coil inside the air handler can generate over 20 gallons of condensation on a humid day, the potential for substantial water damage in the event of a malfunction is clear. Prevention is always better than making repairs afterwards, so here are some ways to avoid A/C water leaks.

Things to do

Check the condensate drip pan regularly – This large flat pan located underneath the indoor air handler catches condensate as it drips off the A/C evaporator coil. Collected condensate drains out of the pan into a drain line usually plumbed into the household sewer line or discharges somewhere outside the house. If it’s cooling season and the air conditioner is running, the drain pan will likely be wet. However, you should not notice standing water in the pan. This usually indicates a clogged or sluggish condensate drain line and an impending damaging overflow. Also, look around the perimeter of the pan for signs of leakage such as wet spots or puddles. Drip pans may crack or corrode with age, seeping small amounts of water gradually. Contact a qualified HVAC service provider if you see standing water or evidence of leakage.

Consider an automatic shut-off switch – To avoid water damage from the condensate system, an automatic shutoff switch detects excess standing water in the drain pan and turns off power to the air conditioner before an overflow occurs.

Get regular A/C service – Mold growth inside the wet drip pan is a frequent cause of clogs in the drain line. Annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician includes inspecting the condensate drain system, cleaning the pan and installing time-release biocide tablets in the pan to inhibit mold and algae growth all season long.

A/C water leaks often go undetected until substantial damage has been done. Contact the professionals at Rytech for more information about prevention and recovery.

 

3 Common Home Water Leaks And How To Prevent Them

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

leaking washing machineWhen it comes to home water leaks, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises. Generally, the same leaks occur from a few common sources inside a house and resultant water damage follows a fairly predictable pattern. Here are three of the usual suspects when home water leaks happen and how to prevent them:

Water supply lines. A 1/2-inch indoor supply line feeding individual bathroom or kitchen fixtures is under anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds of water pressure. Slow leakage can silently saturate the immediate area causing structural rot and triggering mold growth. Total pipe rupture can inflict widespread, expensive damage. Regularly inspect all visible supply lines under and behind fixtures. No amount of seepage or dripping, no matter how minor, is acceptable. Contact a plumber if you see any signs of leakage.

Washing machine hoses. Connecting fittings on the back of the washer to hot and cold water valves on the wall, many original-equipment washing machine hoses are cheap rubber. Over time, these hoses become brittle and may crack and leak or, worse, rupture without warning. Don’t wait for signs of deterioration. Replace rubber washing machine hoses now, before damage occurs, with flexible braided stainless steel lines that offer long expected service life and reduce the danger of water damage.

Air conditioner overflows. A central AC unit produces many gallons of condensation on a humid summer day. If everything works, the condensate drip pan under the indoor air handler drains condensation into the household sewer system. If the system becomes clogged, however (algae growth is a frequent cause) the pan quickly overflows and spills water every time the AC cycles on. This can cause substantial structural water damage before the problem is even noticed. Schedule annual AC preventive maintenance including drip pan cleaning. During cooling season, check the pan frequently for standing water—a warning sign of a developing clog. If water is accumulating, shut off the system and contact an HVAC contractor immediately.

For more about how to prevent home water leaks or deal with the aftermath if one occurs, contract the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc.

3 Unusual Water Leaks To Watch For…

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

pinhole leak in copper pipeUnexpected sources like an air conditioner water leak can cause substantial indoor water damage. Most people associate water damage with ruptured pipes or flooding that originates outdoors. However, some less-than-obvious sources also present a threat, including your air conditioner. Here are three unusual water leaks to watch out for.

Air Conditioner

A central air conditioner extracts both heat and humidity from indoor air. On a humid summer day, a residential A/C can condense over 20 gallons of water out of the air at the evaporator coil located inside the indoor air handler. As long as everything’s working right, that water is collected in a condensate drip pan and drained away through a line connected to the household sewer. If a clog occurs, however, the condensate drip pan will rapidly overflow, spilling multiple gallons of water every time the air conditioner cycles on. Because the indoor air handler is typically located in an unseen part of the house—inside a closet or even up in the attic—an air conditioner water leak may cause significant water damage before it’s noticed.

Refrigerator

The water supply for a refrigerator ice-maker typically travels through a plastic supply tube that attaches to the back of the unit. Pulling the refrigerator slightly away from the wall—commonly done to clean behind it—may stress that connection. Similarly, pushing the refrigerator back too close the wall may compress it. Either scenario can cause hidden water leakage behind the refrigerator, which may soak into the subfloor, causing rot and triggering mold growth.

Copper Pipe Pinholes

Copper indoor water lines are far more resistant to catastrophic rupture than old-school galvanized steel. However, they may be vulnerable to pinhole leaks caused by the chemical reaction between chloramines in the water supply and the copper. Because these supply lines are typically routed through hidden locations including inside wall voids, the tiny spray from a pinhole can cause significant water damage to wooden structural components as well as creating an environment for toxic mold contamination.

For professional advice about an air conditioner water leak or other unusual sources of water damage, contact Rytech, Inc.

 

An Air Conditioner Water Leak Can Turn Into a Bigger Issue — How This Can Happen

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

air conditioner leakIf you see a puddle of water on the floor underneath your furnace or air conditioner, you’ve most likely got an air conditioner water leak(more…)