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Farm Bureau Insurance®*  |  Resource Center
Plumbing and Appliances
When it comes to your plumbing and appliances, you can reduce your risk of water damage if you:

Inspect Plumbing Supply Lines and Drain Systems Annually:
Look for condensation around the pipes or an obvious leak and corrosion.
Watch for stains on walls or ceilings or a musty smell.
Pay attention to your water bill. A significant increase could indicate a leak.
Call a plumber at the first signs of rust-colored water, backed-up toilets or sinks and cracked or warped flooring.
Insulate pipes in attics, basements and exposed exterior pipes to avoid freezing.
During periods of freezing weather, open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warm air.
Disconnect garden hoses when freeze warnings are issued.


Ensure Proper Refrigerator/Ice maker Operation:
Proper installation of the ice maker supply line hose is important to avoiding water damage.
Tightly connect the hose to the valve. Avoid over-tightening.
Inspect the hose every six months. Ensure the valve connection is secure and check for kinks. If kinks are present, replace the hose.
Leave a three to four inch space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall to prevent the hose from crimping.
Locate the water shut-off valve.
Inspect the valve every six months to make sure the water supply will shut off.
Inspect the valve every six months to make sure the water supply will shut off.


Prevent Washing Machine Leaks:
Turn supply valves off when not in use.
Consider installing a lever-type valve that is easy to operate between uses.
Do not operate the washing machine while the home is unoccupied.
Leave a three to four 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 hoses every six months.
Ensure that the connection to the valve is secure, but avoid over-tightening.
Hand-tighten first. Then tighten an additional two-thirds of a turn using water pump pliers.
Check the hoses for cracks, kinks or blisters, which are most commonly found near the hose connection.
Washing machine manufacturers recommend replacing washing machine hoses every five years.
Consider installing reinforced braided stainless steel hoses.


Protect Water Heaters:
Schedule a professional plumbing inspection of the anode rod at least once every two years.
Annual inspections are recommended once the warranty has expired.
The rod will eventually corrode and leave the tank vulnerable to damage, so replace when needed.
Flush the tank every six months to remove sediment.
Sediment will build up faster in areas with hard water.


Avoid Toilet Leaks:
Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the toilet every six months.
The fill valve should shut off when the float reaches the proper water level.
Replace the flapper or fill valve assembly if you notice intermittent or constant tank refilling when the toilet is not in use.
Inspect the supply line every six months.
Ensure the connection to the valve is secure.
Operate the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off. Replace if needed.


Keep Sinks Operating:
Inspect plumbing beneath sinks every six months.
Ensure connections are secure and there is no evidence of corrosion on the pipes.
Look for kinks in copper or plastic pipes. These could lead to pinhole leaks over time.
Locate the water shut-off valve.
Inspect the valve every six months to make sure the water supply will shut off.
Replace the valve if needed.


Shower Stall Safety:
Inspect tile and grout every six months, paying attention to loose or cracked tiles and cracked or crumbling grout lines. Repair as needed.
Test the shower pan annually.
Block the floor drain.
Fill the shower stall with approximately one inch of water.
Use a pencil to mark the water line.
Leave the water standing in the shower pan for eight hours.
If the water level decreases, contact a plumbing professional.


Ensure Proper Sump Pump Operation:
Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for sump pump maintenance. These vary from running the sump pump every two to three months to a yearly cleaning before the rainy season.
To inspect the sump pump:
Open the lid and remove debris that may be blocking the water inlet screen.
Pour approximately five gallons of water into the pump and watch the float valve rise.
As the float valve rises, the pump should turn on and the water should discharge through the outlet pipe.
Go outside and inspect the outlet pipe. Water should be flowing from the pipe and away from the home.
If the sump pump fails to operate during this inspection, contact a plumbing professional.
Install a battery backup system.
Choose a system with a battery replacement warning.
Replace batteries every two to three years.


Protect Your Home from Water Damage
If you need to file a claim for water damage to your home or if you want to learn more about the flood insurance and property insurance policies that Farm Bureau Insurance offers to its Colorado members, speak with one of our local agents.



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