Appliances can sprout leaks because of aging materials, improper connections or ruptured hoses. Whether a slow drip or a sudden burst, leaking water can cause significant damage.

While water leaks can happen anywhere in your home, they occur most frequently in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms. Water damage from appliances can be prevented by conducting routine maintenance of appliances that use water.

1. Kitchen

Refrigerator with Ice Maker
Leave a three-inch space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall to prevent the hose from kinking and if kinks are present, replace the hose
• Inspect the hose and water shut-off valve every six months
Ensure that the valve connection is secure
Periodically inspect the water supply line under the sink to be sure it is secure and not leaking
• Check around the dishwasher for any evidence of leads
Re-caulk around sinks, pay attention to slow draining pipes. Check pipes and connections for signs of leaks.

2. Bathroom

• Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the tank and the supply line every six months. Ensure the connection to the valve is secure
• Call a plumber if you notice intermittent or constant tank refilling when the toilet is not in use; the flapper or fill valve assembly may need to be replaced or realigned
Inspect plumbing beneath all sinks every six months including the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off
Ensure connections are secure and that there is no evidence of corrosion
• Look for kinks in copper or plastic pipes
Shower and bathtubs
Check for any discoloration or soft areas around floors and walls near showers or tubs, these may be the first indication of a leak.
• Check caulking at joints where walls meet the floor or bathtub, look for cracks or mold. If any is found clean and remove loose material then apply new sealant. If there is tile then check inspect to see if there are cracks or missing areas of grout.

3. Laundry Room

Washing Machine
Never operate the machine when your home is unoccupied
• Turn water supply valves off when not in use
Leave a three-inch gap between the back of the washing machine and the wall to avoid kinking the hose near the valve connection
• Inspect the water supply line hose for cracks, kinks or blisters every six months
• Ensure the connection is secure and replace the hose every five years. Use mesh hoses, which are more resistant to leaks and cracking
Water Heater
• Schedule a professional plumbing inspection of the anode rod at least once every two years, and once a year after the warranty has expired
If the rod shows significant signs of corrosion, replace it immediately
Flush the tank every six months to remove sediment by attaching a garden hose to the valve at the base
Refer to manufacturer’s instructions for further maintenance information
Air Conditioning
• When cooling season is about to begin have the air conditioning system inspected and serviced by a qualified contractor. Make sure service covers inspecting and cleaning the condensation pan and drain pipes are free and clear of obstructions. Change the air filters regularly.

4. Basement

Sump pumps
If you have a sump pump test it at the start of each wet season to ensure it is working properly.
Sump pumps are not intended to last more than 10 years and must have some components replaced or serviced within the 10 years.

Tips for Limiting Water Damage From Appliances:

1. Be on the lookout for the first signs of leakage to catch the problem early on

2. Call VRS at the first signs of rust-colored water, backed-up toilets and sinks, and cracked or warped flooring

3. Investigate the source of musty smells and stains appearing on ceilings and walls

4. Inspect pipes for condensation and corrosion

5. Pay attention to any sudden, significant increase to your water bill, which could indicate a leak