When people think about the devastating effects that water damage can have on a home, they usually take a few normal steps to help prevent a small problem from turning into a big one. Everyone knows that frozen pipes during the winter can burst and lead to water damage, for example, and will take steps to avoid those situations entirely. What many people do not realize is that there are also a variety of different smaller and less obvious ways that water damage can wreak havoc on a home. Case in point: one likely culprit is an improperly maintained refrigerator/freezer combination unit, much like the one that you probably have in your home right now.
Regularly Replace Your Fridge / Freezer
One of the most important steps that you can take to prevent water damage from your refrigerator and freezer combination unit is to make sure that you are replacing the copper and small plastic supply lines with braided steel. Leaks can develop in the supply lines over time just through routine use. Instead of replacing them every few years (and incurring the materials and contractor labor expenses as a result), you can replace them less frequently if you go with high quality braided steel as a material solution.
Properly Insulate Your Fridge
Another step that you will want to take to help prevent water damage from your refrigerator and freezer combination unit involves making sure that the unit is always well insulated. This is especially true if you and your family are getting ready to head out on vacation and nobody will be in the home for an extended period of time. Vacation is actually the most common time for freezer supply lines to break, which is why proper insulation is always a must in these types of situations.
Keep Your Fridge Still
One way to prevent refrigerator and freezer combination unit water damage comes from a solution that many people do not actually think of. Make sure that you are not moving the fridge in and out of its normal position too often. If you do have to move the fridge in and out for whatever reason, make sure that you always do so slowly and carefully. When moving the unit in and out too much, you can easily weaken the copper supply line that the braided steel supply line is attached to. Every time that line weakens just a little bit more, you’re potentially opening yourself up for a leak. Even if you do not notice the leak at first, rest assured that it will eventually get large if you are not careful.
Inspect Your Fridge Regularly
Speaking of leaks, you should always inspect the underside of the fridge for leaks as often as possible. Get down on all fours and look in between the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer combination unit and the floor. Make sure that no water is present, even small amounts. Any amount of water present in this location could be the sign that lines are weakening, materials are cracking or that a full-fledged leak is developing. If you check often enough, you are likely to catch a small problem before it turns into a larger and much more expensive one.
You will also want to take care to keep an eye out for warping, buckling and other signs that there is a leak on the floor around the fridge. Even if you did not necessarily prevent the leak, watching out for these warning signs will help clue you into its existence during its nascent stages when it is much easier and cheaper to fix.
You will also want to keep an eye out for water staining on the ceiling immediately below the fridge. If you have a basement in your home, for example, the chances are that a portion of the ceiling in that basement will be located directly beneath the refrigerator and freezer combination unit on the upper floor. If you start to see water staining, buckling and other signs of stress, water could be leaking out of the unit and into the floor. You should definitely have that taken care of before it causes not only water damage, but serious structural damage as well.