Many business owners focus on preventing a fire in their commercial property, but what about water damage? Water leaks or flooding can create costly damages to your business and even force you to close your doors until the problem has been resolved and cleaned up. Every business owner should take these steps to prevent commercial water damage and keep their small or large business up and running.

10 Ways To Prevent Commercial Water Damage

1. Locate the main water shutoff valve. 

This one tip could save your business or commercial property from major flooding or water damage. In the event that a pipe bursts, breaks, or another source of water such as an appliance malfunctions, stopping the flow of the water is the most important step to take to prevent further damages. You should be sure to know where the shutoff valve is located, label it properly, be sure your employees or tenants know its location, and when they should use it.

2. Periodically inspect water supply line hoses. 

When water supply lines come loose, they can cause major flooding or slowly leak over time. Whether it causes a slow leak or major flooding, these supply lines can cause serious water damage and mold growth in your commercial property. Replacing hoses every 3-5 years or following manufacturer guidelines can help prevent this cause of commercial water damage. Appliances that have water supply line hoses include:

  • Refrigerators
  • Washing Machines
  • Ice Makers
  • Sinks
  • Dishwashers
  • Built-in Filtration Systems

3. Have your HVAC and plumbing systems regularly maintainenced.

Investing in an inspection of your commercial building’s HVAC and plumbing systems once a year can help catch water damage problems before they start or worsen. Your local technicians can ensure that there are no clogged AC lines, water heaters are working correctly, and that no plumbing fixtures are leaking or need to be replaced. Taking this step can make sure that any hidden sources of water leaks don’t go unnoticed.

4. Look into a water detection system. 

A water leak detection system senses potential or ongoing water leaks and will automatically turn off the water when an irregular flow is detected. This can be very helpful in avoiding prolonged, hidden water leaks behind walls as well as preventing wide-scale flooding from a burst pipe or broken water heater. For a low fee, a water detection system can provide a sense of security when it comes to business water damage. Flooding doesn’t wait for normal business hours so that you can quickly identify and resolve the issue – but this technology can protect your business 24/7.

5. Take care of your pipes. 

One of the most catastrophic water damage events that can happen in your business is a frozen or burst pipe. As temperatures drop during the winter, exposed pipes near exterior walls or in unheated spaces of your commercial property can freeze and cause them to burst, pouring gallons of water into your building. You can prevent frozen pipes by insulating them, keeping temperatures warm enough, winterizing pipes, and replacing old pipes as needed. 

6. Inspect and clear out your drainage system at least once a year.

If your building has floor drains, be sure that they are not clogged in case of a flooding event. You should also be sure to inspect and clean out your gutter system. When leaves and other debris make their way into the gutters, they can cause them to clog and prevent water from easily navigating away from your building. This may cause water damage to your roof, to the exterior of the building, as well as water seepage to the interior of the building.

7. Keep your roof clear. 

If you want to prevent roof leaks in your commercial building, you should keep your roof clear or debris or snow and inspect it periodically for any signs of damage. Catching a problem early can save you thousands of dollars worth of water damage repairs and possible mold remediation for your business. This tip is especially important in the winter to prevent the formation of ice dams and the damages that can be caused by them. 

8. Keep flames or high heat away from fire sprinklers. 

When a heating vent, exhaust vent, or very warm appliances are too close to your sprinklers, it can mistakenly cause them to go off. While the amount of water that is discharged from fire sprinklers is helpful in a fire, it only causes unwanted flooding when there’s no fire to put out.

9. Create a flooding emergency plan. 

Taking immediate action when it comes to flooding is essential to mitigate damages. Having a plan in the case of a commercial water loss will help you quickly spring into action and begin the water damage restoration process. Your plan should outline who to call and when for flooding, including contact information for your preferred plumber, HVAC technician, water damage restoration company, and your insurance company. Proactively reaching out and setting up an account with these companies will help you get the help you need even faster.

10. Be sure to have commercial property insurance. 

Whether you own a commercial building or are renting out a commercial space, you should always have insurance in case of some sort of disaster. Commercial water damage claims can be costly, and replacing damaged inventory or replacing office furniture can be a financial burden without insurance. To keep your doors open after flooding or water leaks in your business, be sure to have an insurance policy that will sufficiently cover damages. 

Always Be Prepared 

There are many causes of commercial water damage – Meaning that your best chance to prevent extensive water damage in your commercial property is to always be prepared. It’s more likely for water damage to affect your property than a fire. Weather can be unpredictable, your plumber can incorrectly install new fixtures, appliances can randomly let go or overflow with water with seemingly no warning, and even employees can make mistakes that cause your business to flood. 

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