Debunking Water Damage Myths Homeowners Believe

Here are some common misconceptions about water damage and what you can do to help educate your customers

Debunking Water Damage Myths Homeowners Believe

Homeowners are becoming increasingly interested in outfitting their homes with smart tech, and smart leak detectors are one option for mitigating water damage.

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It’s often difficult to understand the gravity of a situation until experiencing it firsthand, and that’s especially true when it comes to home water damage resulting from leaks.

Homeowners who have never experienced an issue may think dripping ceilings and flooded basements are an out-of-the-ordinary incident, which can keep them from taking proactive leak detection measures or truly understanding water damage risks. But the reality is water damage is seven times more likely to occur than fire damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

This puts plumbers in a unique position to serve customers by debunking the common myths they may believe and educating them on the best ways to prevent water leaks. 

Why Water Damage Education Matters

The plumbing business is about building community trust and providing quality customer service while also helping to inform customers along the way. Here’s how leak and water damage education can go a long way to help your business be recognized as the expert.

  • It can help you stand out. By helping customers and prospects understand water damage issues that could affect them — and recommending ways to mitigate leak risks — you can stand out as a business that looks out for its customers’ best interests, even before they call you. This can lead to better ratings and reviews, putting you ahead of the competition.
  • It can satisfy smart home technology interests. Homeowners are becoming increasingly interested in outfitting their homes with smart tech, and smart leak detectors are one option for mitigating water damage — 69% of U.S. homes have at least one smart home device, according to the Consumer Technology Association. And over one-third of both Gen Z and millennial homeowners who are renovating said integrating smart tech was a high priority, according to the 2019 U.S. Houzz & Home Study: Renovation Trends.
  • It’s a simple way to add value. When at a customer’s home to fix a leak or other issue, recommending a leak detection system is a natural opportunity to add value and make the most of your visit. Plus, some devices install quickly and won’t slow the job down.

Common Water Damage Myths to Address

Educating customers doesn’t have to take too much of your time. It could be as simple as using social media to post facts versus misconceptions or creating blog posts with a fact sheet or leak prevention tips. Either way, you’ll want to focus on these six common water damage myths.

1. Water damage won’t happen to me.

It very well could, as about one in 50 insured homes have a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Non-weather water damage claims are also the second most common type of homeowner insurance claim, according to a iPropertyManagement study. 

Plus, it’s the No. 1 cause of damage to luxury homes, says AIG. Bigger buildings tend to have more potential failure points like appliances and connections, so the chances of a leak can increase the larger the house.

2. I’ve already experienced a leak, so the probability of it happening again is low.

The truth is the first leak is less often a one-time event and is more likely to lead to another. In fact, you’re at least two times as likely to have an additional leak, according to AIG.

3. There’s only a leak if I can see it.

Leaks aren’t always obvious. Sometimes they look like water spots on the ceiling and other times they’re hidden behind the wall and even underground. That’s why a leak detector that monitors the plumbing system and alerts homeowners to anomalies is invaluable for catching small leaks before they turn into big problems. Some visible and nonvisible signs of leaks can include:

  • Unexpectedly high water bills.
  • Sagging, warped or stained ceilings.
  • Cracked or warped flooring.
  • Mildew or mold in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room.
  • A musty smell you can’t get rid of.

4. If it’s only a small leak, it can wait.

It’s easy for small leaks to turn into major headaches, since the longer water drips, the worse the damage. The average homeowner spends up to $4,100 in water remediation services to repair water damage, says HomeAdvisor, and if repairs are extensive, you may be displaced for months. 

Constant and prolonged leaking can also cause mold growth, which can be harmful to your health and costly to remove.

5. Homeowner’s insurance will cover water damage costs if I ever get a leak.

Water damage can actually end up costing more than you think when it comes to insurance. Your premium will most likely go up, according to Kiplinger, and it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to drop customers during the renewal period to avoid dealing with small water-damage claims that could become costly mold problems.

Finding a new insurance company could become a challenge too — 62% of the top 13 insurance companies refused to cover applicants with only one or two claims in the past three years, according to a California Insurance Department study.

6. There’s really nothing I can do to prevent water damage.

There are many best practices to minimize your risk of a leak:

  • Check water fixtures regularly.
  • Schedule routine maintenance of hot water heaters, HVAC and other systems.
  • Leave fixtures at a drip when there are freezing temperatures.
  • Be thorough when doing updates at home to make sure connections are secure and up to code.
  • Install a whole-home smart leak detector like the StreamLabs Control.

About the Author

Jeff Long is the senior product manager (Pipe, Valve, Fittings and StreamLabs) at RWC — a market leader and manufacturer of water control systems and plumbing solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications.


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