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Water Damage - The most common cause of loss for condo owners

Updated: Jul 21, 2022


Information supplied by PURE

From burst pipes to appliance leaks, to HVAC malfunctions and more, according to PURE’s claims data, water damage is the number one cause of loss among condo owners. In fact, more than 70% of condo claims reported to PURE have been the result of water damage. Although some instances are out of a condo owner’s control—like a toilet overflow originating from the unit above that allows water to leak through the ceiling to a PURE member’s condo below, or water backup from a building’s rooftop pool—the majority of claims can be prevented by taking proactive steps today to reduce the likelihood of water damage in the future. Research and analysis conducted by our claims and risk management team uncovered some of the most frequent types of water losses experienced by PURE members and steps you can take to protect your condo and the other valuable belongings within it. Appliance Malfunction When the water filtration system installed underneath a member’s sink failed overnight, water flowed throughout the kitchen and surrounding rooms for several hours until the member woke up the next morning. Luckily, the building was able to shut off the water and begin immediate remediation to prevent the damage from becoming even more severe but not before the marble tile flooring, kitchen cabinets, wall panels and drywall were extensively impacted. Damage was even caused to the neighbor’s unit below, resulting in more than $100,000 of damage. Home appliances with pipes or other fixtures that feed into a water line—including refrigerators, dish washers, ice makers, washing machines, toilets, HVAC systems and more—have the potential to malfunction, develop blockages or spring leaks that can lead to significant water damage. However, there are a number of inexpensive devices ranging from $50-$200 that can help detect or even prevent such an event from occurring. To mitigate your risk, consider taking the following steps:​

  • Install water leak detection sensors on individual appliances prone to water loss. These devices have the ability to detect and notify you of a water leak. In addition to sounding an alarm, Wi-Fi connected devices can notify you even when you’re away from home by sending an alert to your smartphone.

  • Automatic water shut off devices, go a step further by automatically turning off the water supply when a leak is detected to prevent further damage.

  • Install an HVAC safety switch or float switch on the water pan underneath your unit to automatically stop the system from operating when an overflow is detected. While your unit may have been equipped with a safety switch at the time of installation, older units are less likely to be equipped with these devices.

  • Install a drain pan beneath your washing machine to catch leaks due to washing machine overflow or hose failure. The drain pan, which slides underneath your washing machine and provides the first line of defense against leaks, is connected to a drainpipe to move water away from the area. Because drain pans are typically made of plastic or another composite material that may break or crack over time, it’s important to be observant of the drain pan’s condition and replace it periodically to be adequately protected.

  • Opt for braided metal supply lines. Ensure all appliances that are connecting to a water source are equipped with braided metal hoses which are far more resistant to leaks compared to standard rubber hoses. At about $10 each, this simple and inexpensive step can help to prevent a costly claim.

  • Prevent toilet blockages. To avoid a toilet overflow, consider the types of materials and quantity of products flushed. Note: 'Flushable' wipes should not be flushed and put into the sewage system.

Copyright © 2021 PURE Risk Management, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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