Each year, water damage in homes can add up to thousands of dollars in repair costs. But the most common causes of water and flood damage can be combatted or even prevented outright with some basic knowledge and tips. Here are the most common causes of water damage in houses and properties and a few DIY tips for how to inspect for and prevent them.

Top causes of water damage and how to prevent them


$2,000 – $10,000 per incident

  • Inspect supply line & flushing mechanism every 6 months
  • Turn off water at supply valve if bowl or tank overflows

Washing Machine

50% of incidents are caused by burst water supply lines

  • Do not operate while home is unoccupied
  • Frequently check all hoses for cracks or kinks
  • Replace hoses every 5 years w/reinforced braided stainless steel hoses

Water Heater

75% fail before they are 12 years old

  • Flush tank every 6 months
  • Have a professional inspect Anode Rod once every 2 years (annually after warranty expires)

Plumbing & Drains

30+ year old homes are 3x as likely to have these problems

  • Watch your water bill – significant increases can indicate a leak
  • Insulate pipes in attics, basements, and all other exposed pipes to avoid freezing

Refrigerator Ice makers

73% of are caused by failure of the supply line hose

  • Inspect supply line hose and water shut-off valve every 6 months

Rook Leaks

More likely in areas where freezing weather, severe wind, and hail are frequent

  • Professionally inspect roof annually
  • Repair cracked/missing shingles, loose/missing granules, and areas where pooling water occurs


Averages $7,000 per incident

  • Inspect plumbing every 6 months for corrosion and secure connection
  • Kinks in copper or plastic pipes can lead to pinhole leaks over time

Shower Stalls

20+ year old homes are 37% more likely to have damage involving showers

  • Inspect tile/grout every 6 months for loose or cracked tiles/grout lines

Sump Pump

Power outages cause 18% of incidents involving a sump pump

  • Install battery backup system
  • Replace backup batteries every 2 – 3 years