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Keep Disaster at Bay by Preventing Water Damage

Plumber Working on a Water Heater in a Chicago RentalOne of the common problems that Chicago rental property owners have to deal with is water damage. Even when it’s just a relatively small amount of water, it can still be quite destructive. It can get into ceiling joists, walls, floors, and even weaken a building’s foundation. Just a shallow inch or two of water on the floor can result in damage that would cost tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. While it would be quite impossible to avoid all water-related emergencies, there is are things you can do, as a property owner, to prevent water damage. And, by preventing water damage, you save yourself from the costly repairs that come with it. The following are some tips that can help you keep your Chicago investment property safe from preventable floods and leaks.

Prepare for Severe Weather

Water damage due to severe water incidents is quite common, especially in areas where storms are a regular problem that people have to face. Strong wind and heavy rain may cause water damage. And if your property is in a flood-prone area, you’ll need to be wary of flash flooding as well.

To prevent water damage, it’s important that your rental property be made ready to go through severe weather. For instance, you have to do an annual inspection of your roof and make sure to seal all cracks or gaps you find. If there are shingles that are missing, replace them as needed. Also, ensure that your flashing, gutters, and downspouts have been correctly installed and are in good shape. If there’s a period of heavy rain approaching, improve the drainage around your property’s foundation to help the water flow away from the walls. If your property is in a flood zone, think about having sandbags on hand. Or, at least, have some sandbagging supplies nearby. These can really help protect your property. Even during unexpected weather events, preparation is key. With a little preparation, you’re doing a lot to help keep your property safe and dry.

Clean the Gutters

Other likely causes of water damage are incorrectly installed and clogged gutters. The gutter system is there to help the water flow away from the structure of your rental property. The issue is when the gutter collects too many leaves, twigs, and other debris. Instead of the water going through it, it pools and overflows and goes down the side of the house. When this happens, a lot of problems can happen. There could be leaking ceilings, wood rot, damaged drywall, and also ruined flooring. And, if left unchecked for long enough, leaking gutters can even erode a cement foundation and also destroy your landscaping.

This can easily be prevented by cleaning your rental property’s gutters at least twice a year. See to it that you clear out any debris. Then check the gutter system for any leaks and pooling water. When you habitually clean and make small repairs on a gutter system, you’re not only preventing water damage but you’re also saving on long-term repair costs.

Inspect Your Plumbing (and Water Heater)

The inside of your rental property could also suffer from water damage. Usually, plumbing issues are to blame. Leaking pipes, broken faucets, worn-out washing machine hoses, and old water heaters are the likely sources of water damage. Even something people regard as small– like a slow or blocked drain– can potentially cause serious water damage. And that damage could cost a lot in emergency repairs.

To make sure water damage won’t affect the inside of your rental home, have your entire plumbing system inspected annually. A professional plumber will be able to spot developing problems before they become obvious. Then you could have that fixed immediately during an inspection. By dealing with the plumbing problems while they are small, you do a lot in preventing water disasters. Not to mention what you save on repairs. It’s also crucial to keep track of your water heater’s age and condition. Make sure to have it serviced regularly and replaced before it fails. A failing water heater can leak water and flood a basement or garage. Now, you’ll have to pay for clean-up and repairs on top of the cost of replacing the unit. By replacing it before it fails, you’ll be able to better manage your cash flows and save yourself from unnecessary expenses.


Preventing water damage can be difficult. For sure it requires both time and good management. Instead of doing it all yourself, consider hiring one of our professional Chicago property managers to handle your preventive maintenance and inspections. To learn more, contact us online.

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