Preventing water from damaging your home is so much easier and less expensive than trying to repair it after the fact. Because water damage can come from lots of places – excessive rainfall, flash flooding, and pipe issues being just a few – it’s important to guard your home from being harmed by water. Check out just a few ways to prevent water damage from one of the most common places: your plumbing and pipes.

Fix problems right away. When you first notice an issue with plumbing and pipes in your home, it’s important to take care of them as soon as possible. According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), plumbing pipes and drain systems are leading causes of interior water damage; so you don’t want to let problem areas sit and get worse.

Prevent Frozen Pipes. Winters in Iowa can easily lead to frozen pipes, which in turn can cause water damage within the home. Put a stop to these issues before they start by setting the thermostat to at least 60°F, letting faucets drip on unusually cold days, and insulating pipes.

Plant Trees Strategically. Plant trees away from lateral drain lines. This will help keep roots away from pipes, which they could damage otherwise.

Keep Gutters Clean. Clean your gutters routinely. Dirty, clogged gutters send water down the side of your house, damaging your siding and foundation.

Dry Soil ≠ No Risk of Water Damage. Don’t let the soil get too dry. During a dry spell, soil dries out and shrinks. Consequently, a big rainfall may make soil near your house expand, which in turn will put pressure on your foundation walls. In a drought, run a soaker hose at least 6 inches from the foundation and 3 inches under the soil to keep the soil from contracting and expanding.

Check Your Sump Pump. Test your sump pump’s functionality on a regular basis. You can do this by slowly filling the sump pump pit with water. Watch for the “float” to rise, which should turn on the pump. Then watch to make sure the water level falls. This is important to do at regular intervals, so you don’t discover your sump pump has stopped working at the worst time (aka in the middle of a storm).

You’ve worked hard for your home. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by inviting water damage!