Home Appliances and Water Damage: Is Your Home at Risk?

Nadine Evans

Water damage comes in many different forms. Among the kinds of leaks that originate from inside the home, perhaps the most heartbreaking are from appliance failures.

Appliance failure is much more common than you might think, with appliance failures accounting for 30% of residential flood claims (Source). Understanding the most common points of appliance failure in a home can give you significant insight into how you can best protect yourself.

Dishwashers
Dishwashers have an average life expectancy of 7-12 years, with 20% of them expected to break down within 3-4 years (Source). Catastrophic dishwater failures resulting in water damage are typically caused by damaged supply or drainage lines. Water damage can also be caused by damaged dishwasher doors or door gaskets, allowing water to leak out from the front of the dishwasher while in use.

Refrigerators with Ice Makers
The water lines on ice makers within refrigerators can be easily damaged (particularly if made from materials such as copper or plastic), leading to the possibility of water building up under/behind the refrigerator. It is highly recommended to have these lines inspected annually.

Sump Pumps
Sump pumps have an average life expectancy of around 10 years (Source), which can be affected by the dirtiness and acidity of the water in the area (for reference, Toronto’s water supply is non-acidic). Sump pumps can fail for a number of reasons:
• Power outages
• Debris in the pump
• Clogged or frozen discharge lines
• The sump pit and sump pump sizes are mismatched (i.e. the pump is too small/large for the pit or vice versa)
• Missing or broken check valve on the pump
• Improper connections to the sewer system
Sump pump failure can lead to disastrous (and dramatic) results, as the first indication of a failure is often the room directly above the sump pump becoming flooded.

Toilets
Toilets are said to an average lifespan of 50 years (Source). Not surprisingly, the most common cause of water damage from toilets was overflowing/clogging. In fact, a recent study of water damage claims due to toilets found that one third was due to clogging and overflowing. Other common causes of toilet failure are damaged toilet components such as the fill, supply and flush valves as well as the supply line.

Washing Machines
Washing machines have an average lifespan of 5-15 years (Source).
Washing Machines are one of the top 10 leading sources of residential water losses in the US, with over half of all related claims being caused by a supply hose failure. The average age of washing machine failure resulting in water damage claims was 8.6 years.

Water Heaters
Gas water heaters tend to have a life expectancy of around 8 to 12 years, and electric water heaters tend to last 10-15 years, though this varies based on a number of factors such as regular maintenance, storage conditions, etc. (Source). They may fail due to leaks/cracks, rust or sediment build-up or inefficient heating elements leading to colder than expected water, with 69% of all water heater failures resulting in slow leaks or sudden bursts.
It is recommended to inspect water heaters’ shutoff valves and piping annually.

Water Monitoring – Eyes on Your Appliances
One of the best ways to watch for appliance failures is through intelligent water monitoring and leak detection systems, particularly with a shutoff at the water main. When an issue is detected, these systems can provide a remote and automatic shutoff, so you can minimize the damage to your home. Eddy’s solution offers ‘eyes’ on your appliances at all times, ensuring that your risk is mitigated.

Eddy Home is an industry leader in leak protection and water monitoring solutions. Our suite of smart products offers a comprehensive water management system for building operators and homeowners that protects, controls, and conserves water. Our products have saved thousands of customers millions of dollars in damages and millions of litres of water waste by continuously monitoring water usage in their properties. For more details, please contact us at 1 877 388 3339 or email info@eddyhome.com.