Water damage is a common occurrence in homes, but it is also one that can be easily avoided. Water damage happens whenever standing water—from appliances, plumbing, or weather—amasses and harms your home, decaying walls and even destroying the foundation. Repairing a ruined foundation can cost upwards of $30,000, so water damage prevention should be a high priority on any homeowner's list. Here are a few ways you can tell if your home is prone to water damage.

1. Extreme Climate

It should come as no surprise to those who live in rainy places that climate affects a home's water resistance. However, it's not just the wet places that need to be vigilant of the weather.

Standing water is one of the main ways homes become damaged. These pools often occur after storms, which can pour down a lot of water very quickly. Areas that generally have a drier climate should be weary of storms like this, as dry ground is less porous and flooding can occur. Areas with harsh winters are also susceptible to water damage because freezing temperatures can crack pipes. If you live in a cold climate, winterize your home to avoid costly water damage.

2. Increased Mold

Another quick way to spot potential water damage is finding any areas in your home with increased mold growth. Mold thrives in environments that are constantly moist, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or basements. Make sure these areas are well ventilated and routinely clean out any small mold sprouts. Watch for continued growth to determine any underlying water damage issues. If you find a larger area of mold in your home, it's possible some drainage problem or a cracked pipe is the culprit.

3. Poor Drainage

Something that will greatly increase your home's risk of water damage is a poor drainage system. Luckily, managing your drain pipes is both cheap and easy. If gutters are clogged, they cannot do their job of pulling water away from your home, which can damage your roofing and siding. Your downspouts should also release water 5 to 10 feet away from your home to ensure water cannot pool near the foundation.

4. Unattended Homes

Leaving a house for an extended period of time also puts you at higher risk of water damage because the plumbing is inactive and flooding may go unnoticed for a long time. To avoid this, follow simple home checklists to decrease water damage.

5. Old Appliances

Washers, dryers, refrigerators, water heaters, and dishwashers can all put your home at risk when not attended to regularly. Old appliances can rust out and tubes can break, slowly leaking water into areas you might not see often. Inspect these appliances for small leaks that cause huge problems.

Diligence is your best tool to avoid water damage. Inspect your home regularly for these 5 things and contact a professional if you believe your home may be experiencing water damage.

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