Several appliances in the home can cause damage to the apartment where they are housed as well as to neighbors’ apartments, says Ira Meister, founder and CEO, Matthew Adams Properties, a leading property management firm. While these incidents are not frequent, they can be costly and are easily preventable.
Specifically, Meister cites washer-dryers and dishwashers. If a break occurs in a water line, it can lead to serious flooding in the apartment and also to the downstairs neighbor’s unit. Floors, carpeting, walls, art, furniture and many other expensive items can be damaged
Meister encourages residents to replace the water supply lines that come with the clothes washer with specialized long-lasting lines, such as those marketed by Floodchek. The weaker lines can break, yet still continue to carry water that can cause flooding. The hoses should be checked annually for kinks, cracks, stiffness or brittleness. The replacement costs only $10-$20, while a flood can cause damage in the thousands. There should also be a shut-off value in the event the line breaks.
Always install a backflow preventer on the appliance, Meister says. This can also be installed in dishwashers. This would be useful if the internal valve sticks and water starts to back up and forces hot water into the cold water lines.
An important preventive measure for clothes dryers, Meister says, is cleaning the vent that connects the dryer to the flu. This should be done at least annually using a vent brush or vacuum to remove the lint. Lint buildup can decrease the efficiency of the appliance and eventually have the lint back-up into the dryer. A blocked vent can create excess moisture in the room and possess a fire risk.
The lint trap in dryer should be cleaned prior to every use.
It is also wise to have homeowner’s insurance that covers flooding accidents in both your apartment and a neighbor’s.